HC Deb 16 March 1948 vol 448 cc1851-2
1. Major Tufton Beamish

asked the Minister of Labour if he will publish list showing the Vocational Training Schemes in which training for ex-Service men can still be provided; in what trades vocational training courses are no longer available; what is the reason for the cancellation of courses in certain trades; and whether training still available is in accordance with the various pledges to ex-Service men in this connection.

The Minister of Labour (Mr. Isaacs)

I am sending the hon. and gallant Member the list for which he asks. In the autumn of 1946 training in the furniture trades in England and Wales was suspended owing to shortage of timber supplies. In October, 1947, training in six building crafts was restricted to the disabled owing to the changes in the building programme. A similar restriction was applied to boot and shoe repairing and to six other comparatively small schemes owing to limited placing opportunities. The answer to the last part of the Question is in the affirmative.

Major Beamish

Is the Minister aware of the disappointment caused to many ex-Service men who have been looking forward to vocational training in their chosen profession; and cannot he give a fuller explanation of the reasons for the cancellation of these courses?

Mr. Isaacs

Ex-Service men are given preference for any vacancies that arise, but the closing down of these schemes has been due, first, to the shortage of materials, and, secondly, to the fact that opportunities do not exist in the industries to absorb all those which would otherwise be taken into them. The schemes will be continued.

Mr. Sidney Shephard

Is the Minister aware that there are some thousands of ex-Service men who are still waiting to undergo vocational training; and what steps does he propose to take to shorten the period of waiting?

Mr. Isaacs

I thought that I had explained the case. Ex-Service men who are waiting are mostly in employment and will continue in their employment. Naturally they want to get facilities to improve their industrial status, and we shall bring them into the scheme as soon as supplies and vacancies are available.