HC Deb 02 August 1962 vol 664 cc788-9
Q2. Mr. Prentice

asked the Prime Minister if he will appoint a special Ministerial committee to review the employment prospects and other economic and social problems arising from the large number of school-leavers this summer.

The Prime Minister

No, Sir. These matters are under continuous review by the Ministers concerned.

Mr. Prentice

Is the Prime Minister aware that the number of school-leavers this summer is more than 30 per cent. higher than it was a year ago and that the economy is more sluggish than it was then? In that situation, what hope can the right hon. Gentleman hold out, first, that there will be extra jobs, and, secondly, that there will be enough extra jobs with apprenticeship and training opportunities? Is it good enough to sit back and hope for the best, as the Government appear to be doing?

The Prime Minister

There will be 35 per cent. more young people leaving school this year than in the corresponding period last year. The results so far this year axe very encouraging. In the first six months of 1962, nearly 12,000 more boys and 2,200 more girls entered apprenticeships than in the same period last year. In spite of this 35 per cent. increase, the proportion of boys getting apprenticeships was the same as last year. I do, however, make an appeal to employers throughout the country to help us to overcome this peak. I am very hopeful that that will be satisfactorily dealt with.

Mr. G. Brown

If the Prime Minister is suggesting that there is not a very great problem here, then he is totally out of touch with public opinion outside. Parents are very worried, particularly parents of those leaving grammar and technical schools, about the opportunities for their children. Unless the right hon. Gentleman can do something different about this, all this talk about a workers' charter has a very hollow ring indeed.

The Prime Minister

I am only aware that, although there is this problem, the actual figures this year are very encouraging.