§ 8. Mr. Thurnham
To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what representations he has received about the Queen's Speech in relation to his responsibilities; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Thurnham
Is my right hon. Friend aware that unemployment in my constituency has fallen by 7 per cent. in the past year and by 34 per cent. in the past six years? Will he urge our European partners to follow our successful enterprise policies and not the job-destroying socialism of the Opposition?
§ Mr. Hunt
I agree with my hon. Friend. What has been remarkable about this Question Time is that every time Conservatives have pointed out the extent to which unemployment has fallen in the constituency of an Opposition Member, that has been greeted with a round of booing from the Opposition. It is clear that good news is bad news for them and that is a sad reflection of the lack 909 of any policy on their part. My hon. Friend is right. Employers are responding more quickly to the upturn in the economy because of the flexible labour market. Long may that continue.
§ Rev. Martin Smyth
What representations have been made concerning the fall in the number of unemployed disabled people? What steps are being taken to remove discrimination against them?
§ Mr. Hunt
I agree with the hon. Gentleman that we need to focus and target more resources on the disabled among the unemployed, particularly those who are long-term unemployed. He will be aware that, earlier this year, I announced some proposals to enable those people to gain greater access to work. I am much obliged to the hon. Gentleman and to several colleagues on both sides of the House who have made representations to me concerning that scheme and the new dimension that it gives to extend the range of help to a wider number of disabled people. I am now considering those representations and I will make an announcement as soon as possible.