HC Deb 11 November 1982 vol 31 cc241-2W
Mr. Canavan

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the effects of Government economic policy on unemployment since May 1979.

Mr. Brittan

The rise in unemployment since May 1979 is a consequence of many factors, notably past high rates of inflation, excessive wage increases in 1979–80, the slowness of wage settlements to adjust to lower rates of inflation and the severely depressed state of the world economy.

31. Mr. Ioan Evans

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he expects his economic policies to result in a substantial reduction in unemployment.

Mr. Brittan

It has never been the practice of this, or any previous Government, to publish unemployment forecasts. Prospects for a fall in unemployment will be brighter the sooner the competitiveness of British industry is improved.

Mr. Parry

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will assess the effect his policies are having in reducing unemployment.

Mr. Brittan

A lasting increase in employment depends on achieving lower inflation through the pursuit of balanced fiscal and monetary policies and on securing improvements in our external competitiveness. Progress has been made on both of these fronts, but more is needed. It is essential to continue the fight against inflation and achieve a further moderation in wage settlements during the new pay round. The Government are also concerned both to alleviate unemployment amongst especially vulnerable groups and to improve labour market efficiency. Spending on special employment schemes has been increased substantially.