HC Deb 09 December 1971 vol 827 cc1478-9
4. Mr. John Page

asked the Secretary of State for Employment when the official report on the future of the employment services will be published.

Mr. Bryan

My right hon. Friend expects to publish the report on 14th December.

Mr. Page

Would my hon. Friend say what is the status of the report? Is it a consultative document? Will he also be prepared, if the report suggests it, to take radical steps to change these services which still have the same structure that they had 50 or 60 years ago?

Mr. Bryan

The report is not entitled a consultative document, but certainly the proposals in it will be open to discussion. As to the nature of the proposals, I think all hon. Members are agreed that the time for radical change has come and I do not think that the hon. Gentleman will find the document unworthy of the occasion.

Mrs. Castle

May I first express our regret that the Secretary of State is suffering from strain as a result of his accident and also express the hope that he will soon he fully recovered?

May I also, through the hon. Gentleman, congratulate the right hon. Gentleman on having at last taken action on the proposals which I left on his desk 17 months ago? Does not the hon. Gentleman agree that the delay in producing these proposals, due to the Government's obsession with their vendetta against the trade unions, is intolerable and that if he had acted quickly the modernisation of the employment services could have been in operation now as a contribution to the unemployment problem?

Mr. Bryan

First, may I thank the right hon. Lady for her kind message to my right hon. Friend which I shall, of course, convey to him. With regard to the second part of her congratulations, I think the right hon. Lady will find when she sees the document that the work done by herself and her team when she was in office does not go unacknowledged. Certainly we have taken full account of the consultative document of 1970 and all the consultations that went with it. As to the timing of the document, this was quite deliberate. As has been said several times in the House, when we got into power we decided to have a total review of all manpower problems. As soon as one does that, with training and the rest, it becomes a much bigger task. We believe that we have done the right thing.

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