HC Deb 31 October 1966 vol 735 cc22-3
33. Mr. Dickens

asked the Minister of Labour what proposals he has for revising the scales of his Department's allowances at Government training centres.

Mrs. Shirley Williams

None. The scales of allowances were revised as recently as October last year. In addition, since 6th October this year an earnings-related supplement has been paid in appropriate cases. The amount of any supplement payable depends on the level of the trainee's earnings during the last tax year. Supplements, which are calculated on the same scale as those to short-term National Insurance benefit, are payable for the duration of a course.

Mr. Dickens

Is my hon. Friend aware that, notwithstanding these improvements, the average amount paid to workers in training centres is roughly half the average earnings in manufacturing industry? This inevitably causes hardship to workers in training centres. Would she look further into the matter in the light of the present rather difficult circumstances?

Mrs. Williams

While appreciating my hon. Friend's concern, I would point out that a man is better off on training allowances than unemployment and sickness benefit unless he has more than five children.