HC Deb 19 February 1968 vol 759 cc8-12
10. Mr. Gwilym Roberts

asked the Minister of Labour what plans he has for developing the use of programmed learning techniques for industrial training; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Hattersley

I would refer my hon. Friend 'to the reply I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield, Heeley (Mr. Hooley) on 29th January—[Vol. 757. c. 210.]

Mr. Roberts

Would not my hon. Friend agree, however, that in view of the volume of training which has to be undertaken and the shortage of specialist training instructors in many fields, the use of programmed learning techniques has to be undertaken on a very extensive scale?

Mr. Hattersley

I certainly agree with that, but it has to be remembered that because of the social as well as the economic obligations of training centres, a rather special form of programmed learning is demanded. That is what is being investigated at the moment.

11. Mr. Gwilym Roberts

asked the Minister of Labour if he will circulate in the OFFICIAL REPORT figures for each industrial training board, details of the amounts raised in levies and paid out in training grants; and what steps he is taking to step up the total amount of training undertaken.

Mr. Hattersley

This information is already published in the annual reports of industrial training boards, which are laid before Parliament in accordance Section 8 of the Industrial Training Act. For the financial year ended 31st March, 1967, the total amount raised in levy was nearly£97 million and the total amount paid in grants by that time was just over£83 million. Ten million pounds was reserved for outstanding claims. The totals of both levy and grant are expected to be considerbaly higher in the current financial year. A prime purpose of the work of the training boards, including The levy and grant system, is to encourage increased training to meet industry's needs.

Mr. Roberts

Would not my hon. Friend agree that, while the position is satisfactory as a whole, in view of the observations of the Association of Teachers in Technical Institutions he should look at what further steps could be taken to increase training? Would he not also agree that in certain industrial and service categories we can get the benefit of training only if we also have some measure of compulsion?

Mr. Hattersley

I am sure my hon. Friend is aware of the debate in which my right hon. Friend and I made statements about our attitude towards the Report to which the Association contributed. It is not our view that compulsion should he extended, but that the organisation should be able to get on with its work.

Mr. Scott

When may we expect to have a report on a training board for the printing and publishing industry?

Mr. Hattersley

That is another question.

20. Captain W. Elliot

asked the Minister of Labour what reduction in the previously planned budget for the Government training programme will result from the policy announced by the Government on 16th January.

33. Mr. Tom Boardman

asked the Minister of Labour what changes in the expansion programme for Government training centres will result during 1968 and 1969, respectively, from the latest restrictions on public expenditure.

Mr. Hattersley

No reductions are contemplated in the programme of construction of new centres. I would refer the hon. Members to the statement made by my right hon. Friend in the House on 6th February about our Government Training Centre programme.

Captain Elliot

Does not the Joint Parliamentary Secretary agree that cuts in the planned programme are to take place? Does he not agree also that it is nit skilled trained manpower that our future depends? Is it not a grave criticism of the Government's policies that they are forced to cut their training programme?

Mr. Hattersley

It would be a grave criticism if we were doing that, but, as my Answer was intended to convey, we are not.

Mr. R. Carr

Will the Parliamentary Secretary be quite specific about this? The Question is not about programmes for new centres. It is about the budget for the training programme.

Mr. Hattersley

A Question about total costs appears later on the Order Paper and I did not want to pre-empt the hon. Member who had tabled that Question.

28. Mr. Ridley

asked the Minister of Labour what the total budget will be for all activities in the Government training programme during 1968; and how this compares with 1967.

31. Mr. Lane

asked the Minister of Labour what the total expenditure of his Department on Government training centres will be during 1968; and how this compares with 1967.

Mr. Hattersley

This information is not readily available for calendar years. Net Ministry of Labour expenditure on Government training centres for the financial year 1966-67 was£6, 652, 000; for 1967-68 it is expected to be£8,760,000. The corresponding figures for all activities in the Government's training programme are£9,322,000 and£14,251,000 respectively. The estimates for the financial year 1968-69 will be placed before Parliament shortly.

Mr. Ridley

Have the hon. Gentleman's estimates for the training programme been cut in the recent series of Government cuts?

Mr. Hattersley

The estimates for next year will be an increase on last year's figure.

Mr. Lane

Will the hon. Gentleman assure us that as the programme develops, the needs of East Anglia and of the East Midlands will be borne in mind?

Mr. Hattersley

Of course, I can give that assurance. The hon. Gentleman will know from our G.T.C. programme that they are already borne in mind. Many of the needs of East Anglia and the East Midlands must be met by the industrial training boards, not least for that geographical area by the Agricultural Horticultural and Forestry Industry Training Board.

Mr. Edwin Wainwright

Does my hon. Friend realise that, in spite of the deplorable attitude to training adopted by the Tories when they were in office, we are very dissatisfied with what is happening now? We want more and more money spent on it.

Mr. Hattersley

My hon. Friend is getting more and more money spent on it, and I hope that when he realises the magnitude of that "more and more money" he will be satisfied.

67. Mr. William Hamilton

asked the Minister of Labour if he will publish in the OFFICIAL REPORT a table showing the number of Government training centres, the number of places available, the number of trainees in training, and the total number who had completed training, in

Date Number of Government Training Centers Available Places Number in Training Number Completing Training During Year
December, 1952 1 292 189 319
December, 1963 3 347 279 167
December, 1966 7 905 779 1,147
December, 1967 8 1,093 936 1,506
December, 1968 (estimate) 9 1,377 1,170 2,170
79. Mr. William Hamilton

asked the Minister of Labour if he will give an assurance that applicants for industrial training in Scotland will be allowed to retain in their application forms those parts which will enable such applicants to remain in Scotland, and that the applications of those who retain those parts will receive the same consideration as other applications.

Mr. Hattersley

All applicants for training at Government Training Centres are asked to state where they would be prepared to accept suitable employment after training. It may not be possible to offer those who limit their mobility to certain areas the range of jobs available to more mobile applicants. With this qualification those who wish to remain in Scotland after training receive exactly the same consideration as other applicants.

Scotland, in 1952, 1963, 1966, 1967 and the estimates for the end of 1968.

Mr. Hattersley

Yes, Sir.

Mr. Hamilton

While I am very grateful for that answer, can my hon. Friend explain why training facilities were run down so criminally between 1952 and 1964, and does he not agree that some of our present difficulties of shortage of skilled labour in Scotland arose from this fact?

Mr. Hattersley

I do not think it either possible or appropriate for me to comment on what happened between 1952 and 1964, but I agree with the second part of the question, which makes clear that many of our difficulties in increasing the amount of Government training and its acceptability to industry would not have been met had it not been for the rundown during those years.

Following is the Table:

Mr. Hamilton

Has my hon. Friend received any evidence from the hon. Member for Hamilton (Mrs. Ewing) to support her statement on 18th December that Scottish applicants would not be considered for training unless they struck these provisions out of their application forms?

Mr. Hattersley

I have had no evidence from the hon. Lady to that effect but am loath to give a categorical assurance that she is wrong without having discussed the matter with her. She has not put the problem to me, and so far as I understand, the problem does not exist. My enthusiasm is to see that Scotsmen are given a chance to train in Scotland. The reference in my earlier Answer to moving out of Scotland was merely a reference to giving some of the men a chance to train south of the Border and then return to Scotland.