§ Mr. Winnick
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on the assumptions regarding employment and related prospects for the regions in the United Kingdom contained in his Department's report to the European Commission of Government assumptions about employment and industry up to 1990.
§ Mr. Giles Shaw
In the opinion of the Government it is not sensible or practicable to make forecasts of national unemployment for several years ahead. However, in order to comply with the rules of the European regional development fund, it was necessary to submit a report on the United Kingdom's regional development programme 1986–90. This has been submitted but not yet considered by the European Community Regional Policy Committee or the Commission. As part of the requirement the report contains assumptions about the number of unemployed claimants in each region of the United Kingdom in 1990. These used the national unemployment assumption from the 1986 public expenditure White Paper (Cmnd. 9207), covering the period 1986–87 to 1988–89. The 1990 figure was derived by repeating the assumption for 1988–89 a further year. The national assumption was allocated to regions in proportion to 1985 regional unemployment, to reach regional assumptions. No specific assumption about industry was made, but in some cases the document refers to possible trends.