Examination of Witnesses (Questions 260
WEDNESDAY 27 JANUARY 1999
TREWSDALE and DR
260. I have no difficulty in following the
mathematics, but I think it would be helpful, if you actually
have got something; we can do this after the session?
(Mrs Trewsdale) Yes. I can let you have them,
261. Alright; that is very good. One prefatory
question to my next one, which does go back to higher education;
is there good data on differential unemployment between the two
sides of the community among graduates?
(Mrs Trewsdale) Graduates?
262. I will give an explicit example, where
I did not, in fact, hitherto ask for the information. When the
Home Office gave three places to the Passport Office in Belfast,
because it was the most efficient Passport Office in the country,
there were 1,200 applications satisfying the normal Home Office
condition that you had to have two O levels. Because there were
so many applicants for the three places, the screening was switched
to two A levels, and there were still 400 applicants who had two
A levels who were seeking the three places in the Passport Office.
Now, I agree that A levels are not higher education, but, nevertheless,
if you have got that degree of interest, with that degree of educational
qualification, in jobs in the Passport Office, and I am not in
the least surprised that Belfast has the most efficient Passport
Office in the country, is there any differential information on
those seeking work with that degree of qualification?
(Mrs Trewsdale) The data from the Labour Force
Survey, certainly, would give you the qualifications of those
who, of coursenow, this is not necessarily the claimant
count, this is people who classify themselves as unemployed, but,
of course, they do do it under the ILO definition; now that would
tend to be degree equivalent or above. Now, in terms of religion
though, there I think you may have a religious breakdown; now
the Labour Force Survey does now include religion, but I am not
sure, I have not actually seen, I do not thinkcould we
check up on that?
263. Yes, alright.
(Mrs Trewsdale) Because I know definitely they
do do the unemployed by qualification, and, therefore, it would
be a case of whether they did it, sub-divided it, by religion.
The census, of course, again, we come back to the Census of Population,
unfortunately, it is only every ten years, but, again, that would
be a source of information for you.
264. If the effects of peace are encouraging
new jobs, and, indeed, new investment, and the implication of
what you were saying earlier, about the fall in unemployment,
is obviously encouraging, have you got any knowledge or data of
how those new jobs are being filled between the two sides of the
(Mrs Trewsdale) We would not have it, we, again,
as an organisation, would not do any collection of data, as I
explained earlier. I do not think, again, there is specific data.
(Dr Gorecki) The data is not available at the
moment, but, presumably, if you knew which new inward investment
was coming, I think a lot of those returns, at least if you knew
what sort of industries they were appearing in, most things are
published by the Fair Employment Commission, so if you knew there
was a large firm employing a thousand people in electronics then
you could look at the tables, and you get some idea about the
degree to which, what the employment composition of those would
be; or if there was a big influx in managerial employment, you
could get that. So you get some rough handle on that, I think.
(Mrs Trewsdale) The main source of data on employment
and religion is the FEC and its monitoring returns; that is the
265. My colleagues may be as relieved as
you may be by the fact that I am about to ask my final question,
and you may plead the Fifth Amendment on it. To what extent do
you think Government economic policy-making does incorporate the
(Mrs Trewsdale) I think we will plead the Fifth
Amendment on that one; but to say that, certainly, there have
been vast improvements over the 22-odd years since the legislation
first came into place, and that, certainly, Governments of both
hues have taken it very seriously in Northern Ireland, and that
the economic policy, some perhaps could argue, has had a very
large emphasis on fair employment.
(Dr Gorecki) If I could just supplement that,
in the review which looked at the degree to which Targeting Social
Need was supposed to be mainstreaming equality, the one department
that got quite a favourable review from the background research
that was done for the Standing Advisory Commission on Human Rights
was the Department of Economic Development, when it did a mid-term
review in 1995, and it explicitly included TSN within that and
made quite a serious attempt, in terms of labour market, in terms
of, we have already discussed with Mr Beggs, IDB, having higher
grant rates for those areas. So there was a conscious attempt
to do that. And, of course, the Government invested in the Robson
Index for Northern Ireland, following what was done in Britain,
to try to give those spatial policies an extra focus. So I think
there has been a recognition, an attempt within economic development
policy, to try to bring that element within the policy.
Chairman: I have acted
as a parasite to my colleagues and asked supplementary questions
arising out of the answers you gave them to questions they had
asked you. Before I close the session, let me just verify whether
any of my colleagues have any other questions that they want to
ask. Since answer came there none, or I was answered by gesture,
let me, on behalf of the Committee, thank you most warmly for
your patience in fielding a large number of questions from a whole
series of different perspectives, and it has been a valuable addition
to the impression which we are building up. Thank you very much