HC Deb 01 August 1978 vol 955 cc242-3
7. Mr. Dykes

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he is satisfied with the trend in unemployment so far in the current year.

Mr. Golding

The level of unemployment is still much too high and I would, therefore, prefer to see a stronger downward trend.

Mr. Dykes

Will the Minister promise not to answer with the usual waffle that we get from his Department? To show how badly we are doing, will he give the present specific figure for unemployment in France and Germany, together with the figure for this country?

Mr. Golding

The resources of my Department are not available to give precise figures of unemployment today in France and other countries.

Mr. Stoddart

Does my hon. Friend agree that, in spite of the apoplectic approach of the right hon. Member for Lowestoft (Mr. Prior) on the matter of unemployment, if the policies of the Opposition were carried into erect—policies of cutting public expenditure and disbanding aid to industry—the unemployment figure would go up to 2½ million or 3 million?

Mr. Golding

I would not want to quantify the amount. I can confirm that, if the policies advocated from the Opposition Front Bench were implemented, unemployment would be substantially higher today than it is.

Mr. Hayhoe

Does not the Minister appreciate that in answering a Question from me yesterday he gave the comparative figures for unemployment? Is he aware that those figures show that unemployment is running at a higher level in this country than in the United States, Japan, France or Western Germany?

Mr. Golding

And international comparisons do not solve our problems. Later we shall be showing that there are more countries which have higher unemployment rates than we have. Certainly, if we are talking in terms of increases in levels of the unemployment rate, those have been substantially higher in France than in this country in recent years.

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