HC Deb 24 February 1972 vol 831 cc1494-6
Q7. Mr. Leslie Huckfield

asked the Prime Minister whether he is satisfied with with the co-ordination between the Departments of Education and Science, Employment and Trade and Industry in the management of manpower and training facilities; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister

Yes, Sir, although the main responsibility for manpower policy and the massive expansion of training facilities announced by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Employment on 1st February rests with his Department.

Mr. Huckfield

Would the Prime Minister accept that we now have a very serious situation because many school-leavers and many of those who have been retrained simply cannot find jobs afterwards? Has not the time come to set up a comprehensive labour market board on the Swedish pattern, which would not only co-ordinate all these activities but would automatically intervene when unemployment rose above a certain percentage?

The Prime Minister

I think it is right to press ahead with training, and with retraining in particular, as fast as possible. With the measures taken to reflate the economy, to encourage investment and to extend the investments of the nationalised industries, and with additional infrastructure investment, opportunities will occur for those trained to get jobs.

Mr. Atkinson

May I link the Prime Minister's answer to his earlier reply to me when he spoke about future manpower requirements? The right hon. Gentleman announced that further emphasis must now be given to employment needs in the services. Does that mean that the Government intend to pump further investment into the service industries in order that they may take up the tremendous number of unemployed people who cannot find jobs in manufacturing industry?

The Prime Minister

Since we came to office, we have consistently removed discrimination against the services, much of which was imposed by the hon. Gentleman's own Government. S.E.T. was deliberate discrimination to reduce employment in the services. We have halved S.E.T. and removed that discrimination, and in the development areas we have given benefits to service industries.