Retro: Jobs misery for 3 million

Dateline: January 1982 THE BIG STORY UNEMPLOYMENT in the UK topped three million, the highest since records began in the 1930s.

The official figure was 3,070,621, up 130,000 on the previous December. It meant one in every eight people was out of a job.

Tory Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who had embarked on controversial economic reforms in 1980, remained true to her word that she was "not for turning."

She put on a brave face in the House of Commons but was heckled so much that the Speaker of the House had to intervene by calling for order.

The Iron Lady said at the time there were 'encouraging signs' the economy was improving.

Employment Secretary Norman Tebbit even blamed the sudden rise in unemployment on the cold weather.

Opposition Labour leader Michael Foot, pictured above, countered that in some parts of the country 64 people were chasing every vacancy.

There were two main reasons for record unemployment, an economic recession across the whole of Europe and a restructuring of UK industry.


Yorkshire was contending with severe flooding after a freak warm spell melted snow and ice on high ground, causing 20m worth of damage.

Miners voted against strike action and in favour of accepting the National Coal Board's offer of a 9.3 per cent pay increase.

There was uproar after Leeds Council decided to pay thousands of workers by cheque instead of cash, without telling them. Up to 6,000 people were affected.

Streaker Erika Roe brought the England v Australia rugby match to a halt after running across the pitch minus her top.

An aeroplane crashed within sight of the White House. The passenger plane lost control on take-off killing 78 people when it plunged into the icy waters of the Potomac River.

The BMX bicycle craze was sweeping the nation's youth.

Six hundred instamatic cameras (with flash capability) worth 7,200, were stolen from Alexandra Mills, Batley.

Leeds Council debated whether to begin paying councillors for carrying out their civic duties.

Pressure mounted on Chief Constable Ronald Gregory who led the hunt for the Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe. It followed criticism from the Government.

Icicles hanging from Arthington Tunnel forced the closure of train services from Leeds to Harrogate.

Kirkstall Road was closed after workmen found an unexploded World War II bomb in the central reservation on January 12.

York Crown Court had to be evacuated after a fire broke out.

More than 200 Leeds United fans were left disappointed after being refused travel to London by British Rail for their team's third round FA Cup clash with Wolverhampton.

Furniture store Habitat opened its first store in Leeds, it had three others in Yorkshire at the time.

The lowest ever United Kingdom temperature of -27.2C was recorded at Braemar, Aberdeenshire.

Bookmakers Ladbrokes announced Elland Road greyhound stadium would close in April, ending 55 years of history. The company said it was no longer making any money.

Leeds company Makro was frantically trying to recall 178 faulty TV sets, which could have electrocuted anyone who touched the plug and aerial at the same time.

Cigarette prices were on the up, a packet of 20 John Player Specials went up to 97p, whilst a 25g bag of Golden Virginia hand-rolling tobacco cost 1.35


More than 100 pop fans had to be given first aid after fainting at an Adam and the Ants concert at Queen's Hall, Leeds, on January 15.

The Princess of Wales, Princess Diana was voted among the world's best dressed by fashion moguls.

Controversial cricketer Geoff Boycott was censured by his bosses after going to play a round of golf when he should have been playing in the last test against India in Calcutta.

Bucks Fizz was at number one in the UK singles charts with The Land of Make Believe; they were ousted in the last week of January by Shakin' Stevens Oh Julie; whilst The Birdie Song (Birdie Dance) by the Tweets, was at number 28.


US President Ronald Reagan declared registration of young men for possible military draft would continue.

Martial law was imposed in Poland in a bid by Communist leaders to crush growing political opposition.


Doncaster Rugby League Club had their knuckles rapped after posting an advert in national newspapers for a streaker with a 42inch bust to run on at half-time to boost ticket sales. Police chiefs said the stunt constituted a breach of the peace.

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