London joins 'black spots' for jobless: Five boroughs have more people out of work than Corby. Anthony Bevins reports

UNEMPLOYMENT in five outer London boroughs has topped the rate for the development area of Corby, Northamptonshire, according to the latest 1991 census data.

With an estimated 2.1 million economically active residents - about half the total population of outer London - the census found that 10 per cent were either out of work or on government schemes.

Within that overall total, unemployment was as high as 15 per cent in Greenwich, with Brent close behind on 14.8 per cent - higher rates than the unemployment black spots of Cornwall (Penwith, 14.3 per cent); Northumberland (Blyth Valley, 13.1 per cent); and Derbyshire (Bolsover, 12.8 per cent).

At the time of the census, 11.4 per cent of the economically active were unemployed or on government schemes in Corby, which was given development area status following the closure of its steelworks in 1980. That rate was exceeded by Waltham Forest (14 per cent), Barking and Dagenham (13.2 per cent), and Ealing (12.2 per cent), as well as Greenwich and Brent.

The census material, obtained exclusively by the Independent, shows that unemployment in the other outer London boroughs was: Enfield, 11.3 per cent; Redbridge, 10 per cent; Hounslow, 9.8 per cent; Merton 9.7 per cent; Croydon, 9.5 per cent; Barnet, 9.4 per cent; Bexley, 8.4 per cent; Havering, 8.1 per cent; Harrow, 7.9 per cent; Hillingdon, 7.4 per cent; Bromley, 7.4 per cent; Sutton, 7.2 per cent; Richmond upon Thames, 7.1 per cent; and Kingston upon Thames, 6.8 per cent.

The biggest fall in the share of employment was in manufacturing, which accounted for 20.7 per cent of the outer London workforce in 1981; just 11.5 per cent in 1991. Of all outer London residents unemployed or on a government scheme, just under a third (30.4 per cent) had previously been employed in manufacturing or construction.

The qualifications of outer London residents were higher than most parts of the country, with nearly one in 10 having a degree of some kind, and Richmond upon Thames claiming a rate of 22.5 per cent.

Kensington and Chelsea was the most academically qualified inner London borough, with 25.1 per cent graduates, but Richmond trumped Camden's 22.3 per cent graduate rate and Oxford's 20 per cent.

At the other end of the scale, only 1.5 per cent of Barking and Dagenham adults had degrees - fewer than the 1.8 per cent of Knowsley in Merseyside.

The other graduate rates were: Kingston upon Thames, 15.1 per cent; Barnet, 14.7 per cent; Merton, 13.8 per cent; Ealing, 13.7 per cent; Harrow, 11.6 per cent; Hounslow, 10.6 per cent; Bromley, 10.3 per cent; Brent, 10 per cent; Croydon, 9.1 per cent; Redbridge, 8.4 per cent; Sutton, 8.3 per cent; Greenwich, 7.8 per cent; Waltham Forest, 7.8 per cent; Enfield, 7.5 per cent; Hillingdon, 6.9 per cent; Bexley, 4.3 per cent; and Havering, 3.7 per cent.

The traditional family, a married couple with dependent children, accounted for 21.7 per cent of households in outer London, a third more than in inner London. The outer London census data also showed strong disparities with inner London on lone parent family and single occupation households, more than a third higher in inner London.

The cohabitation figures, however, were remarkably similar in inner and outer London. While outer London ranged from a cohabitation rate of 7.3 per cent in Merton to 4.4 per cent in Havering, the inner London rates ranged from 7.6 per cent in Wandsworth to 5.2 per cent in Newham.

1991 Census. County Report: Outer London (Part 2); Office of Population Censuses and Surveys; HMSO; pounds 35.

(Chart omitted)

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