§ 12. Mr. Roy Hughes
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what is the figure for male unemployment in Wales expressed in percentage terms; and what was the comparable figure for the three previous years.
§ Mr. David Hunt
The rate was 11.2 per cent; for previous years the rates were 8.2 per cent. for 1990, 9.5 per cent. for 1989 and 12.5 per cent. for 1988.
§ Mr. Hughes
Is it not appalling that, after 12 long years of Conservative Government, unemployment in Wales is once again rocketing? Does the Secretary of State recall that Newport was to be the flagship of Government policies? Yet Newport, East—my constituency—is now among the areas worst affected by unemployment. I assure the right hon. Gentleman that my constituents do not believe that it is worth paying that price for the follies of the Government.
§ Mr. Hunt
If the hon. Gentleman probes the figures that I announced, and considers the long-term unemployed, about whom I was especially concerned a few years ago, he will see that in the past five years the number of long-term 594 unemployed has fallen from 78,014 to 25,626—a steeper reduction than that in the United Kingdom as a whole. We ought to be shouting about those successes rather than preaching gloom and doom. I shall continue to sing the praises of Wales as the place to invest, whether companies are already established there or are coming to Wales for the first time.
§ Mr. Speaker
The hon. Gentleman is a Front-Bench spokesman and knows far better than that. He knows that I take points of order after questions, and I shall take his point of order then, even though I suspect that I know what it is.