HC Deb 08 April 1963 vol 675 cc887-91
1. Miss Quennell

asked the Minister of Labour how many skilled, fit industrial workers were offered retraining courses in the last year and in the first half of this year at his Department's training centres; and what percentage of the unemployment totals this represents.

The Minister of Labour (Mr. John Hare)

Offers of training or retraining courses to registrants for employment are required to be made by my local officers on all suitable occasions. Records of such offers are not kept.

Miss Quennell

It is very difficult to understand how we can embark on a programme of training these skilled workers if these records are not kept. Will my right hon. Friend consider keeping them in future?

Mr. Hare

I am not sure how practicable my hon. Friend is being. People are told about the opportunities that are available; they are interviewed a first time and a second time. They may make up their minds at first or they may wait a considerable time. I do not think that it would be practicable to do as my hon. Friend suggests.

2. Miss Quennell

asked the Minister of Labour how many Government training centres for apprentices are now operating; how many apprentice trainees are under going instruction in them; and what is their pupil-teacher ratio.

Mr. Hare

Apprentices are trained at 14 Government training centres and two industrial rehabilitation units; 394 apprentices are at present being trained; and there is one instructor to 12 apprentices.

Miss Quennell

Do my right hon. Friend's figures include those attending rehabilitation centres?

Mr. Hare

No, I am answering on the number of apprentices who are attending Government training centres for these special first-year training courses.

Mr. Lee

But does not the right hon. Gentleman agree that, considering the needs, the figure is miserably low? What ideas has he for forcing firms that use skilled labour, but are quite unwilling either to join a joint scheme or do anything themselves, to play their full part in producing skilled labour for the nation?

Mr. Hare

I shall be saying something about this later today, but, as the hon. Gentleman knows very well, the whole object of the first-year apprenticeship courses was to give demonstrations in all parts of the country of the real value that can be gained by good systematic training methods.

6. Mr. Ridley

asked the Minister of Labour if he will now introduce legislation to implement the proposals on industrial training in his recent White Paper.

Mr. Hare

Consultation with interested organisations has gone very well since the White Paper was published and is continuing. Legislation is being prepared and will be introduced as soon as the Parliamentary programme permits.

Mr. Ridley

While congratulating my right hon. Friend on the White Paper, may I put in a plea that he should try to persuade the Leader of the House to include legislation in this Session's programme, because I believe that the urgency of this Measure is very great indeed?

Mr. Hare

I am grateful to my hon. Friend. Of course, I agree with him about the urgency of the matter, but we have to be fair. At this stage of the Session, there are many demands on the time of the House, but I should certainly like to see a Bill brought before the House as soon as is reasonably possible.

19. Mr. Warbey

asked the Minister of Labour if he will now state his plans for the expansion of industrial retraining facilities, including in particular his plans for the Nottingham area.

Mr. Hare

I am announcing the details of the further expansion of training at Government training centres in today's debate. It is proposed to have one new centre in the county of Nottingham.

Mr. Warbey

I thank the right hon. Gentleman for that reply. Will he bear in mind the importance of ensuring that not only workers who are unemployed but also workers likely to become unemployed in such an industry as the hosiery industry have rapid opportunities for industrial retraining?

Mr. Hare

I am intending to do a great deal to improve the existing arrangements for industrial retraining.

Mr. Popplewell

In all the retraining schemes about which we hear so much and which we all welcome, what prospects are there for men after the Minister has retrained them? Is he ensuring, when they go through the retraining process, that there is a job as the end product?

Mr. Hare

The whole object of my right hon. Friend's financial policy is to see that the economy expands and so creates new jobs. What I want to avoid is what happened when I took over my present office in 1960. Then firms which wished to go, for instance, to the North-East or to Scotland were not able to do so because of the lack of skilled labour in those areas.

33. Dr. Dickson Mabon

asked the Minister of Labour if he will increase the number of industrial training centres in Scotland beyond that recommended in his recent White Paper.

Mr. Hare

My recent White Paper is concerned with improvements in industrial training by a new system of co-operation between the Government and industry. It does not recommend an increase in the number of Government training centres, but I shall be announcing my plans for an expansion of Government training, including Scotland, in the debate today.

Dr. Mabon

Is it not the case that the Prime Minister, the Secretary of State for Scotland and the Minister himself have indicated that the number of training centres will not be increased under the right hon. Gentleman's proposals either in the White Paper or elsewhere? Is not that a very unsatisfactory situation in view of the number of contracting industries in Scotland which will demand a massive retraining effort if we are to re-employ everyone concerned?

Mr. Hare

If the hon. Gentleman will contain himself in patience, I shall be speaking about that subject in the debate very shortly.

Dame Irene Ward

Would not my right hon. Friend agree that we might get forward more expeditiously and with greater enthusiasm in the training field, which is very essential, if we could be sure that the trade unionists concerned would permit the employment of the men who have been in training centres? Could not my right hon. Friend impress a little more on those who call for Government support that we expect support from both the employers and the trade unions in this very important matter?

Mr. Hare

I certainly want the co-operation of both employers and trade unions.

Mr. Lee

Is it not the case that the right hon. Gentleman is getting the co-operation of the trade unions? Can he name any union engaging in this field which is obstructing him in getting training facilities?

Mr. Hare

There has been a good deal of local opposition to some of my proposals. I have said this in the House previously, and I believe that the hon. Gentleman knows that that is a fact.

Sir W. Robson Brown

Can my right hon. Friend state what response he is getting from men who are suitable and available for training? Is he having a genuine and clear response from them?

Mr. Hare

I am not quite sure what my hon. Friend means. Those who are being trained are coming forward willingly, and we are doing our best to place them in jobs.

47. Mr. Lawson

asked the Minister of Labour what was the number of persons completing a Government-sponsored industrial training course in Lanarkshire during 1962; and what proportion of these was placed in regular employment.

48. Mrs. Cullen

asked the Minister of Labour how many persons completed a Government-sponsored industrial course in Glasgow in 1962; and what proportion of these was placed in regular employment.

36. Mr. J. Bennett

asked the Minister of Labour what was the number of persons completing a Government Industrial Training Course in Scotland in 1962; and what proportion of these were placed in employment.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour (Mr. William Whitelaw)

There is at present one training centre in Scotland, at Hillington, Glasgow. During 1962, 146 persons completed courses at this centre and 124 were placed in employment.

Mr. Lawson

Does not the hon. Gentleman agree that this position is laughable when we have only one training scheme covering so few persons? Is is not absurd? Will he make sure that something far more than this is done to meet the problems that we are facing?

Mr. Whitelaw

I hope the hon. Gentleman will listen carefully to what my right hon. Friend will have to say in his speech later today.

Dr. Dickson Mabon

Does the hon. Gentleman realise that the figure he has given represents 0.1 per cent. of the unemployed in Scotland? Is is not absolutely ridiculous? Shall we have a statement from the Minister to say that the figure is to be multiplied by at least 100?

Mr. Whitelaw

I think it would be much better for the hon. Gentleman to wait and hear what my right hon. Friend has to say later.