§ 7. Mr. Heffer
asked the Minister of Labour in view of the continuing high level of unemployment in the Merseyside area, what steps are being taken to develop training and retraining schemes in the area; and what plans he has for the future.
§ Mr. Marsh
I am giving assistance to the Merseyside Training Council towards the promotion of group training schemes, of which there are already three successful ones on Merseyside and a fourth is about to be launched. Merseyside should also benefit from the increase of training facilities of which it is one purpose of the Industrial Training Act to encourage. As an additional direct contribution, I am increasing the capacity of the Liverpool Government Training Centre to take about 800 trainees a year, and I am considering what further expansion of Government training centres over the country as a whole is necessary.
§ Mr. Heffer
Is my hon. Friend aware that this statement will be very much welcomed on the Merseyside? On the other hand, is he aware that the great problem we face on Merseyside is the need for skilled labour? Therefore, will everything be done to assist us in getting skilled labour which will help us to solve our unemployment and economic problems?
§ Mr. Marsh
I accept that that is an extremely important point, but Merseyside is a development district and employers within a development district are themselves eligible for grant—that is, they can obtain assistance for approved training. It has to be said again that one of the ways in which industry can help in this matter is for the smaller firms, particularly, to join together in group training schemes so that they themselves can train people. This is not something for which the Government alone, without industry, can take the entire responsibility.