HC Deb 03 April 1963 vol 675 cc446-7
41. Mr. Gourlay

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland when he received a letter from the Braehead School Parent-Teachers' Association regarding unemployment among school leavers in the Buckhaven and Wemyss areas; what was the nature of his reply; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Noble

The letter was received on 18th March, and I am sending the hon. Member a copy of my Department's reply. I understand from my right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour that the number of school leavers registered for employment in the Wemyss area has fallen from 116 to 61 in the last month, and that the Youth Employment Service will continue to do everything possible to find suitable employment for those still seeking work.

Mr. Gourlay

Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware of the irony of the situation when in National Productivity Year there are still 319 school leavers in Fife, including the Buckhaven and Wemyss areas, who are denied the opportunity of increasing the productivity of the country? When is the right hon. Gentleman going to do something about it?

Mr. Noble

As far as this problem is concerned with industrial development, it is one for my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade. I am only too well aware of the problem. I know that the employment of school leavers is a matter of concern. A number of full-time pre-employment courses is already available in technical colleges in Buckhaven and elsewhere. Any further proposals which the Fife Education Authority puts to me will certainly receive my careful consideration.

Mr. Manuel

Will not the right hon. Gentleman recognise that he needs to view this matter with urgency? Is he aware of the bad psychological effect on many schoolchildren when they leave school and are unable to get work and feel that they are not wanted in our society? Will the right hon. Gentleman press on with some solution?

Mr. Noble

I am certainly aware of the urgency. The figures which I have quoted in the Answer are not good enough, but at least they are a good start.