asked Her Majesty's Government:
With reference to the statement in the Labour Party manifesto that one of the underlying causes of inflation, of low growth and of unemployment is "too few opportunities to find jobs, start new businesses or become self-employed", how they measure the numbers of such opportunities, and what those numbers were according to the latest figures available.
§ Baroness Blackstone
The Labour Force Survey is a quarterly survey of households in the UK. It shows that in winter 1996/7 there were 26.5 million people in jobs in the UK, about 70 per cent. of all those of working age. Of those 12.5 per cent. were self-employed. Barclays and Nat West Bank estimates suggest that there were between 350,000 and 450,000 small business start-ups in 1996.
The Government will pursue a stable macro-economic policy as a platform for sustainable, low-inflation growth. Our Welfare to Work policies will aim to improve the employment prospects of unemployed people and those currently outside the labour market who want jobs, by providing opportunities to enhance their skills, enterprise and employability. These policies are essential for creating a successful economy with a high and stable level of employment, where all groups in society can prosper.