HC Deb 10 December 1957 vol 579 cc1052-3
13. Mr. Awbery

asked the Minister of Works if he has considered the renewed expressions of dissatisfaction in the electrical contracting industry concerning his decision to discontinue the facilities afforded to the National Apprenticeship Scheme, particulars of which have been sent to him by the hon. Member for Bristol, Central; and, in view of the urgent need for technicians and the training of these young men in electronics and in the technique of new mechanical devices, if he will now reconsider his decision and restore these facilities.

Mr. Molson

The representations which I have received have not led me to revise the replies given recently to the hon. Members for Fulham (Mr. M. Stewart), West Ham, North (Mr. Lewis) and Itchen (Dr. King).

Mr. Awbery

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the union concerned is getting very perturbed about the reduced number of apprentices? In view of recent scientific and technological developments, will the right hon. Gentleman reconsider his decision and restore the grant that was made for apprentices?

Mr. Molson

I think the hon. Gentleman and perhaps the trade unions concerned rather misunderstand the situation. This council has been concerned only with registration. It is not proposed to reduce in any way the facilities for training apprentices.

Mr. M. Stewart

Is it not the case that the Minister is withdrawing his support from this scheme at a time when it is reaching an important stage in its work, which would have avoided the employment of juvenile labour in unsatisfactory ways?

Mr. Molson

No, Sir; I do not think it will have that effect at all. In fact, in all other industries councils of this kind are run and financed by the industries themselves. I see no reason why my Department should undertake this cost if the electrical contracting industry is unwilling to pay for the cost itself.