HC Deb 27 April 1960 vol 622 cc181-3
2. Mr. Owen

asked the Minister of Labour what steps are being taken to find employment for the 2,130 young persons who have been unemployed since leaving school; and whether he will make a statement.

Mr. P. Thomas

Of the 2,130 young people who left school last summer and at Christmas and were still unemployed on 14th March this year, 948 had been placed in employment by 11th April. The Youth Employment Service is doing all it can to place the remaining 1,182.

Mr. Owen

Does the Minister recognise that we have here a serious challenge, which will face the young people in the future, and that for years we have been awaiting some realistic expression of the Carr Committee's Report? I believe that some of those now registered at the exchange are school leavers from August, 1959. What hopes have these young people for the future? Surely the Minister must recognise that this is a matter for top priority. Should it not receive his immediate attention?

Mr. Thomas

I recognise the importance of this matter. The majority of the 1,182 who are unemployed are in Scotland, Wales and the Northern Region, and they reflect the difficult areas. To help these areas we are using the Local Employment Act.

Mr. Prentice

If there are over 1,000 young people in this position, what will the position be next year and the year after when the number of young people leaving school rises? As the position is now serious, will it not be desperate by then, unless drastic steps are taken now to provide more jobs and more training opportunities for young people?

Captain Pilkington

Is it not very discouraging for youths entering industry when they read in the newspapers about men being sent to Coventry for working too hard or because they do not join some particular union?

Hon. Members

A red herring.

Mr. Thomas

As the House knows, there are in certain areas very many outstanding vacancies for young people. It is in particular areas that there is difficulty in finding employment. As I have said, it is in order to assist these areas that the Local Employment Act has been passed.