HC Deb 22 February 1961 vol 635 cc501-4
35. Mr. Slater

asked the Minister of Labour, in view of the redundancies that

Mr. Hare

The hon. Member would not wish to exaggerate the problem. When he has had a chance of looking at the figures he will see that there were 5,500 more apprenticeships for boys in 1959 than in 1958. The 1960 figures should be available in the next two or three weeks, and I am hopeful that they will show an increase in both the number and the proportion of boys and girls entering apprenticeships and learner-ships. We have no cause to be complacent, and, therefore, I agree with much of what the hon. Member has said, but do not let us decry what is being done.

Mr. Speaker

Mr. Slater—Question No. 35.

Mr. Moody


Mr. Speaker

I am sorry, but my head was turned away from the hon. Gentleman and I did not see him.

Following is the table:

have taken place, and those expected this year, in the mining industry in Sedgefield rural district, what are the prospects for children leaving school this year in finding employment within the area or within easy travelling distance of their homes.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour (Mr. Peter Thomas)

Prospects for girls are reasonably good, but in that part of the district which is mainly dependent on coal mining there is little alternative employment for boys. In spite of redundancies, the local collieries have vacancies for boys as trainees and are hoping to obtain further recruits from this year's school leavers.

Mr. Slater

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that there have been many redundancies in this rural area in which these mines are situated? Is he aware that at Thrislington Colliery, the manpower is to be depleted from 950 to 400? What prospects are there for the young people in the two parishes of Cornforth and Thrislington? Does he not think that he ought to contact his right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade with a view to bringing more immediate help to these two areas in that rural district?

Mr. Thomas

The attention of my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade has been drawn to this immediate area as recently as 31st January, when the hon. Gentleman himself asked a Question, which was answered by my right hon. Friend the Minister of State. I can well appreciate his concern where redundancies are taking place, but I understand that, in the areas to which he has referred, the redundancies have been resolved in the main by transfers from one colliery to another. The employment of youths in coal mining is likely to remain fairly stable and the recruitment of boy trainees will continue.

Mr. Moody

Will the Minister give some thought to the fact that the greatest objections to these apprenticeship schemes come from people who are engaged in the industry? Is he aware that 1,000 craftsmen left the furnishing industry last year because the industry failed to provide them with a decent living? Before he goes any further with apprenticeship schemes, will he take some steps to deal with the apprentices who have served their terms and want a living wage?

Mr. Thomas

I agree with the hon. Gentleman to this extent, that both sides of industry have a great part to play in future apprenticeship matters.