HC Deb 08 February 1972 vol 830 cc1131-2
Q3. Mr. Raison

asked the Prime Minister whether, in view of the estimate in Social Trends No. 2 that the manpower requirements of the social services are likely to grow by over 300,000 between 1970 and 1975, he is satisfied that there is sufficient co-ordination between the various Departments responsible to ensure that suitably qualified manpower will be available.

The Prime Minister

Yes, Sir. This estimate is a useful indication of the trend in the development of social services. There is already close co-ordination between all the Departments concerned.

Mr. Raison

I thank my right hon. Friend for that reply. Can he say how far the figure represents a Government objective? Given that we face a period of a more or less constant level in the work force, such an increase could make a substantial dent in unemployment.

The Prime Minister

The figure given in Social Trends No. 2 was a projection of what was likely to happen if present trends in requirements, of education and the social services in particular, were continued up until 1975. The great majority of these workers would be employed in local government services—not so many in the central government ser- vices. The Government recognise that this is a valid projection.

Dr. Summerskill

Does the Prime Minister agree with the suggestion in the article in Social Trends that in view of the high unemployment among men and the fact that social services rely largely upon women, men should be employed in rôles traditionally undertaken by women, as that would be a more economic and efficient way of employing labour?

The Prime Minister

That is certainly one means of dealing with the problem, but the hon. Lady will be the first to recognise that in some spheres, particularly education, that is not a practical way to proceed.

Mr. Onslow

If my right hon. Friend says that the trend is accepted as valid, will he consider so arranging matters that a large proportion of these jobs might be reserved for older workers and that retraining facilities might be specifically geared to cater for that?

The Prime Minister

Yes, Sir.