HL Deb 04 November 1991 vol 532 cc1-2WA
Lord McCarthy asked

Her Majesty's Government:

What is the statistical basis for the assertion made by the Secretary of State for Employment "That every Labour Government since 1929 have doubled unemployment".

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Employment (Viscount Ullswater)

The table below gives the numbers of unemployed, unadjusted for seasonal variations, and the increases in unemployment, for each Labour Government since 1929.

Labour Government Numbers registered as unemployed1 Increase
May 1929- 1,165,300 +1,668,400
August 1931 2,833,700 (+143 per cent.)
July 1945- 131,000 +158,800
October 1951 289,800 (+121 per cent.)
October 1964- 376,300 +202,500
June 1970 578,800 (+54 per cent.)
February 1974- 628,800 +670,500
May 1979 1,299,300 (+107 per cent.)
1 The figures shown from 1929 to 1970 are the "total register" and include school-leavers, the temporarily stopped and adult students.

Figures for 1974 and 1979 exclude temporarily stopped workers.

Sources: British Labour Statistics, Historical Abstract, 1886–1968; Employment Gazette.

The table shows that under every Labour Government since 1929, unemployment increased sharply and more than doubled in three out of four administrations.