HC Deb 05 June 1972 vol 838 cc50-111
Mr. Speaker

Before calling upon the right hon. Gentleman to move the Motion, I want to inform the House that I have selected the Amendment in the names of the Prime Minister and his right hon. Friends.

4.23 p.m.

Mr. Reg Prentice (East Ham, North)

I beg to move, That this House, believing that continued improvement in the quality and quantity of industrial training is vital to the national economy, urges Her Majesty's Government drastically to revise those parts of their statement 'Training for the Future' which have been the subject of severely critical comments from the industrial training boards and others involved in the work of training, and, in particular, to withdraw their proposal to abolish the levy/grant system which has provided the main incentive for the improvements which have taken place since 1964. The Opposition have chosen this subject today because we are deeply concerned about the Government's policy on training which is set out in the statement "Training for the Future". In our view, if the central proposals of this policy statement are implemented, it is likely to lead to less training being carried out in this country, to less enforcement of good training standards, and to fewer young workers being given day release or block release to courses in further education. This is likely to mean even worse prospects than at present for young persons leaving school and entering industry.

These proposals seem to belong to the "lame duck" period of the Government's policy formation but, unlike other parts of this policy—if we are to judge by the terms of the Amendment on the Order Paper—this part of the lame duck policy is one to which the Government are still sticking, as of today. The central proposals in this document represent a surrender to pressure from some selfish groups of employers who are anxious to avoid carrying out their share of the nation's training effort. By that I mean not all employers but certain groups of employers. I am afraid that that pressure has been vigorously supported by some of the most right-wing elements on the Government benches.

To pursue these policies would be bad enough at any time but would be particularly dangerous against a background of over 900,000 registered unemployed, including over 50,000 young people under the age of 18 registered as unemployed at present. The Government are proposing to weaken the inducements and incentives to carry out training at a time when the existing inducements and incentives are obviously proving inadequate. If anyone doubts that they are proving inadequate, let me give the House one figure from the engineering industry alone. In the last 12 months there has been a fall of 5 per cent. in the numbers employed in the engineering industry. During the same period there has been a fall of about 20 per cent. in the industry's training effort. This is a situation which is making prospects worse for those who are unemployed and particularly for young persons unemployed. It means that many of the young people who are employed are employed in jobs which lack the training facilities and the prospects for further education for the development of their skills, which they should have, and it means that the nation is at present failing to build up these skills that it will need for future periods of economic growth.

It is with some regret that one has to approach this problem in such a partisan way, because the subject has been a bipartisan subject on the whole ever since 1964. The Industrial Training Act, 1964, was introduced by a Conservative Government. It was introduced by that Government in their death-bed repentence period just before the 1964 General Election and after some years of pressure by many of us on this side of the House in favour of some reform of this kind. Nevertheless, it was introduced by that Government with all-party support, and it fell to be implemented very largely by the Labour Government.

But one thing on which we can all agree is that in the years since 1964, even allowing for the decline of the last 12 months or so because of the unemployment situation, on the whole there has been a considerable improvement in both the quantity and the quality of industrial training in this country. Indeed, the first annex to the Government's consultative document says this, and we have no need to quarrel with it. Not only has there been a general increase in the numbers under training and a general improvement in many of the standards set, but in particular areas in which improvement has been long overdue there has been a revolutionary improvement. There has been an enormous expansion in the number of small firms taking part in group training schemes. There has been considerable expansion in the numbers of full and part-time training officers within industry. There have been new concepts of training which have overtaken some of the outdated strait-jackets of the old forms of single craft apprenticeships. The modular system of the engineering industry training board is an example of this. There have been improvements in management and supervisory training and a welcome growth of shop steward training and many other forms of training which have grown as a direct result of the stimulus of the Act.

Our quarrel with Government today is not that there is no need for a review. At this date there is a need to review the progress of the Act and to identify areas in which changes are needed. We would agree with some of the changes put forward. Our main quarrel with the Government is that they propose to take away the main motive force behind the progress that has taken place since 1964. This main motive force is the levy/grant system, a system by which every one of the 27 training boards has a statutory duty to impose a levy on firms within their industry and then the duty of paying to them grants according to the approved training which they carry out.

Everyone has recognised that before 1964 we had a situation in which some firms in this country were doing their share of training—some doing more than their share—and some firms in British industry were carrying out training which was the best in the world; but some were falling short of what was required. Some firms were not carrying out training at all or were carrying out what passed for training but was, in fact, a method in which apprentices and other trainees were used as cheap labour. Many firms not doing their share of training preferred and often found it profitable to poach away skilled workers from other firms, and this led to the clear need for a "carrot and stick" system of training levies and grants from the training boards.

The proposal to which we take particular exception in the consultative document is the proposal to abolish this system with effect from 1973. I deliberately use the word "abolish". I beg the Secretary of State not to fudge this issue. His document tends to fudge it. The document says that this is not a firm proposal but that it is a consultative proposal, and that if it is carried through it will mean the removal of the statutory requirement to impose the levy but the training boards can continue with the levy system after that date if they can obtain a clear consensus of the firms in their industry. I put it to the House that this is absurd. If the Government of the day take away the compulsion to pay a particular tax no group of citizens, no matter how high-minded they may be, will voluntarily impose that tax upon themselves.

I have had a great many discussions in recent weeks about this problem with people in industry and I find overwhelmingly that it is assumed, first, that this is not a consultative proposal but that the Government have made up their mind about it, and, second, that the levy will be abolished, not phased out, from 1973. I have here a small fraction of the written submissions made to the Secretary of State about this matter. Many of these make the point—I quote from the submission of the Food Drink and Tobacco Industry Training Board— By stating a positive end-point of 1972/3 for application of levy/grant, the paper has pre-empted a natural phasing out—so that in this respect it is not really consultative. Industry now positively expects cessation in 1972/3. It would clearly, therefore, not be possible to reverse this with 'a clear consensus in favour of this course within the industry'. In other words, the proposition in the document is to take away the main incentive which has operated since 1964. At best this proposal seems to rest on a naive assumption that attitudes have changed so radically among employers since 1964 that an incentive of this kind is no longer necessary. At worst it is a surrender to the kind of pressure I have described, a surrender for purely doctrinaire purposes.

I said a moment ago that I had a number of copies of submissions made to the Secretary of State. For the sake of brevity I will refrain from quoting many of them, but I would like to quote three of the training boards, and I select these three because they are very different industries both in the size and the nature of their problems. On the question of the levy the Engineering Industry Training Board, the largest of the boards, says: The proposal for an abrupt cessation of the levy/grant mechanism after 1972–73, and its replacement by a system of selective grants, at a substantially reduced level, from central funds, will not secure the advances which have been made. If implemented, this proposal will result in a serious reduction in the industry's training effort. A much smaller board, the Furniture and Timber Training Board, says: The Board does not welcome the immediate winding-up of the levy/grant system after 1972–73. It believes that this aspect of the Government's plan will have particularly adverse effects on further education services and will undermine the training infrastructure so carefully built up over the last seven years. I would like to quote an extract from the Distributive Industry Training Board's submission: The Board considered very carefully if there were any alternative incentives which could be as effective as the incentive of the levy/grant system but decided at this stage in the training in Distribution, there is no satisfactory alternative. It is significant that these comments are made by industrial training boards comprising employers' representatives, trade union representatives and representatives of the industrial services. If the comment were made only by trade unionists and educationists they might have been much more outspoken and extreme than the comments which have emerged. Certainly, if the comments were made by the professional staffs of the boards they would in many cases have been much more outspoken and extreme. But these comments have had to be approved by the employers' representatives as well. I put it to hon. Members opposite, some of whom may have felt over the last year or two that they were representing employers in this country by criticising the industrial training board system, that there is a clear division here between those employers, including some of the leading employers in some of our main industries, who take a broad view of the national interest and other employers who take a much narrower, selfish view of the situation.

Nor would I accept the idea that this is necessarily a split between large and small employers. I will make one further quotation, this time from the submission made to the Secretary of State by the National Advisory Committee for Group Training Associations in the Road Transport Industry. This submission represents the views of 2,800 small firms in the road transport industry. The submission says: We do not agree with the view expressed in 'Training for the Future' that a permanent shift in attitudes to training has been achieved. The Committee believe that the quality and quantity of training will decrease considerably if the levy system is discontinued next year. Furthermore, we believe that there is a danger that if a different method of financing is adopted the situation will revert to that appertaining prior to 1964, when the more progressive firms had to carry more than their fair share of the Industry's training costs. I could also quote the views of the TUC and many individual trade unions. I have here the views of the ILEA and other education authorities, as well as the views of the ATTI, representing teachers in technical colleges, who are intimately concerned with the work of industrial training. I have the views here also of the British Association for Commercial and Industrial Education which has played a leading part in these matters for so many years.

All of this informed opinion criticises the central proposal in the Government's document. None of these bodies is saying, and we on the Opposition benches are not saying, that there should not be changes in the levy system. Of course, these changes could include, and in many cases in recent years have included, some reduction in the original levels of the levy. If these decisions are made by the boards on their merits in relation to the problems of the particular industry no one will quarrel with them. But we are quarrelling with the Government's announcement, which would have the effect of abolishing the whole system with effect from 1973.

I would like briefly to make two points about the alternative system proposed in the document of selective grants coming from the Exchequer and administered by the National Training Agency. First, the sums that are suggested are hopelessly inadequate. The document proposes Government grants within the range of £25 million to £40 million as against a turnover now of over £200 million in the form of the levy/grant system. The administrative costs of the National Training Agency and the cost of the training advisory service, as I understand it, are to come out of that sum. These are estimated to amount at present to about £15 million. What is left after that is a derisory sum in relation to the training cost of industry. One calculation I have seen is that the engineering board alone in financing its first year off-the-job courses for apprentices could absorb the whole of the money that is left. Another calculation I have seen is that minimum requirements of the Road Transport Industry Training Board would absorb about 20 per cent. of the total grants available even though it covers only about 4 per cent. of the labour force of this country. If there were to be Government grants to measure up to what is required, it would be on a vastly increased scale compared with those proposed in the document. Even if the grants were on a much larger scale, they would still be no substitute for the present levy grant system.

The point about the levy grant system is that firms are automatically involved in training because they are automatically liable for the levy. The proposals for industrial training have to be considered at board level every year, and not hived off to somebody lower down in the management structure, because the finances of the company are engaged automatically through the payment of the levy. It becomes a matter of policy for a board to discover ways in which it can meet the requirements of industrial training so that it does not have a net loss. The engagement of industry and of top management at board level depends on the continuance of something similar to the levy system, and the grants proposed can never be an alternative to it.

I find myself in agreement with the document when it speaks about the case for a national training agency. Clearly, the industrial training boards cannot do the whole job that is required; they cover about two thirds of the labour force at present and one-third is not covered by any of the boards. A great many overlapping problems are identified in the document, and these need to be covered by a stronger central authority than exists at the moment.

We are worried about the proposed divorce between the management of training and the management of employment services. The proposal is that the training agency should be "hived off" and that management employment services should be given within the Department. These two sets of problems are so enmeshed with each other that there is a need for some common authority—perhaps it could be called a national manpower board—to have ultimate control of the training system and of the employment services. There is also a need for what one would hope would become a growing system of manpower forecasting.

Secondly, we are worried about the status of the industry training boards as described in the document if and when these changes take effect. It appears that the boards are being demoted into merely advisory bodies with certain small functions. They may be important functions, but obviously the boards are not intended to be as powerful as they are at present. We feel that a great deal will be lost if changes of this kind take effect. We need a national training agency, but it must work in partnership with the board. The boards need to have a big enough job to do to attract top people on both sides of the industry.

One of the great merits of the industrial training boards is that they have been bodies on which leaders from the employers and the trade unions in each industry have met together in equal numbers—not merely to consult with each other and to give advice, but to make decisions which they are responsible for carrying out. This was an important step in the history of industrial relations, and something will be lost if this forum of joint action is reduced in status and importance.

I agree with the proposal to expand the Government training centres, which is very much overdue. The proposals in this respect are very welcome, though hon. Members opposite will forgive me if I say that, in view of our experience of Conservative policy in this respect in the past, we shall believe them when we see them. Clearly, the expansion of facilities for retraining make sense only if this is part of a general strategy for restoring full employment. I appreciate that this is not another debate on unemployment, but the cruellist thing of all is to take a man out of the dole queue and raise his hopes by giving him a period of training and then, at the end of that training, to put him back in the dole queue. These proposals will command a measure of approval from the public and will meet with success only if they are related to a general strategy for full employment.

Another important matter to which I have already referred is the subject of further education. Many of us over the years have seen this subject in its educational context as well as in its industrial context. Part of the purpose of the operation of industrial training boards is that they should operate to extend day release and block release and other forms of education so that young people do not finish their education when they leave school. It is a continuing process. I have often made the point that it is as important to consider the educational situation of those who have left school at 15 or 16 as to consider the educational situation of those who stay on at university or other institutions of higher education.

The results educationally clearly have been disappointing. The industrial training board scheme has not had the impact many of us had hoped. In 1964 the Henniker-Heaton Report recommended the doubling of day release by 1970. In fact, the figures have moved as follows. For boys the figure in 1964 was 30.3 per cent. and in 1970 it rose to 38.3 per cent. For girls the figure is disgracefully low since over the same period it rose from 7.4 per cent. to only 9.8 per cent. It is becoming urgent to explore new techniques and perhaps we should take new statutory powers to ensure the effective expansion of part-time education for young people in this age group. Meanwhile, our case is that the withdrawal of the levy will be likely to make this aspect of the situation worse as well as to worsen the situation in industry itself.

The Secretary of State for Employment may say that this is a consultative document and there is nothing final about it. He may ask "Why take a partisan attitude this afternoon and divide the House?" Let me put our attitude in this context. We have deliberately timed this debate to take place almost at the end of the period of consultation between the Secretary of State and the interested parties in industry and in education, but it is still some weeks before the publication of the White Paper in which the Government will put their proposals in a more final form. On this matter, as in so many others, we feel that if there is to be a consultative process, then the House of Commons should be part of it. We feel that we should debate these matters before final decisions are made and that we should not simply be asked to comment on a fait accompli at a later stage.

The time span is particularly difficult because of peculiar timing by the Government. The Government, having announced in the Queen's Speech that they were about to produce a policy on this subject, then took over 18 months to produce the consultative document. They then gave employers, trade unions, educationists and others only four months in which to study the proposals and to make their comments. Yet within a matter of a few weeks we shall be seeing a White Paper containing the Government's final proposals. We have discussed the matter within these narrow limits and we would be glad if the Secretary of State would say that the Government mind is not made up on these central proposals. In the meantime we have no alternative but to judge the Government's intentions as set out in the consultative document.

If the Secretary of State were willing to accept our Motion and would promise to bring about the changes for which we have asked, there will be no need for us to divide the House. But the wording of the Government Amendment does not indicate that this is the line the Government will take. Therefore, we shall be bound to press our Motion to a Division tonight. This matter is far too important for the industrial future of Britain and for the future of many millions of our people and particularly young people for it to be returned to the pressures of the market place. Therefore, we regard with some dismay the Government's intention to withdraw the incentives which have been given in recent years. For this reason, unless we are given the sort of assurances for which I asked a little earlier in my remarks, we shall press our criticisms in the Division Lobby.

4.50 p.m.

The Secretary of State for Employment (Mr. Maurice Macmillan)

I beg to move, in line 2, leave out from 'economy' to the end of the Question and to add instead thereof: 'welcomes Her Majesty's Government's recent actions, outlined in 'Training for the Future', to expand and improve Government training facilities, and further believes that the changes in the system of training boards proposed in the consultative document will not only provide the basis for overcoming the present difficulties but will also provide the increased opportunities for training so necessary for our national prosperity'. In moving the Amendment, I make it clear—clearer perhaps than does the Motion or, indeed, did the closing words of the right hon. Member for East Ham, North (Mr. Prentice)—that we are debating policies falling into two parts—first, some definite proposals which are already being put into action to expand and improve Government training facilities, and, secondly, a plan for discussion, "Training for the Future", dealing with the future of industrial training.

The Government published "Training for the Future" as a consultative document on 1st February and invited comments from all concerned with industrial training by the end of May. I assure the right hon. Gentleman that we shall pay very close attention to the views he expressed and to those which will be expressed by others in the debate, as we are paying close attention to the very large number of comments which we have received from every quarter, not only from large organisations such as the TUC and the CBI, but from firms and a number of private individuals, including teachers, covering every aspect of our proposals.

It would be wrong if I did not take this opportunity to express the Government's gratitude to all those who have taken part and are taking part in this consultative process. They have examined the proposals with very great care and, as I am sure the right hon. Gentleman will be the first to admit, have put a great deal of work into preparing their comments and suggestions.

I think the trouble which has been taken shows two things—first, what an important subject this is, and, secondly, how valuable consultations of this kind can be, based as they are on firm proposals by the Government but leaving the gate open for changes and modifications and for alternative proposals to be put forward. I am not sure that this makes the Government's task easier or narrows the range of possible choices. The advice we have received has been fairly diverse and there is not a complete measure of agreement even from within one organisation. All the same, there is a considerable degree of unanimity on the ends we are seeking to achieve. I do not think that anyone has disagreed that our objective, however it may be achieved, must be to extend the quantity and improve the quality of our industrial training in all its aspects.

First, I turn to "Training for the Future" as a whole. It was based on a fundamental review of the whole system of industrial training and had two principles, collective and individual. The first is the basis that economic growth to the extent we require it and are determined to have it must and will increasingly depend in future on an adequate supply of properly trained manpower. The second is that industrial training has a vital social purpose for people in giving them the opportunity to improve their prospects and to obtain greater satisfaction in their jobs.

As the right hon. Gentleman mentioned, both require training not in skills which will not be needed but in skills which will be required. They require the maximum opportunity for development of individual skill and will require new training to meet the changing needs of our changing industry. Thus, "Training for the Future" fell into two parts—first, a firm decision to have a large development and expansion of Government training, and, secondly, proposals to be put forward for discussion on the widest possible basis for bringing up to date the system of training in industry.

I turn first to the training opportunities scheme. I understand the reason why, but I am sorry that this is not mentioned in the Motion. However, we have included it in the Amendment. It envisages a massive increase in the facilities available and contains firm decisions to expand the Government's present vocational training scheme into a much more comprehensive and wide-ranging scheme which we have called the "training opportunities scheme". The target we have set is to have 100,000 men and women per year in training as soon as we can, reaching 60,000 to 70,000 a year in 1975.

The achievements so far might reassure the right hon. Gentleman, who seemed rather doubtful whether this target was obtainable. So far they are not too bad. Between October, 1964 and June, 1970, the number in training rose from 3,900 to 8,100, an increase of 4,200 in six years. Last month, 15,350 men and women were in training, an increase in the last two years of some 7,250. That is not a bad record and represents an equivalent figure of a throughput of some 30,000 men and women a year.

That is a rapid expansion but there is still a long way to go and demand is expanding even faster. It has more than doubled in the last 12 months and some Government training centre training courses, I am sorry to say, have waiting periods of over a year. That is why we launched last autumn a crash programme to set up another 3,000 places in the popular trades, which will start this coming autumn.

I do not think that anyone will disagree that in our plans for expansion and development it is important to remember not only those for whom the scheme is primarily devised but also one or two other factors. The right hon. Gentleman referred to the very small number of girls who are going to day-release schemes. It is important that the expansion and development of the training opportunities scheme should include more women generally. In the three years up to March, there has been an expansion from 323 in 1970 to 653 in 1971 to 2,405 in 1972. But the majority of these places are in colleges of further education, where some 64 per cent. of the places available are occupied by women. They are mostly commercial, although other courses are available and are being taken up. We have, of course, the further object of giving training opportunities to married women who are seeking to return to employment.

The second factor which should not be omitted from the wider discussions is the need to do more to train the disabled, who can in fact be trained for almost any occupation which offers a chance of resettlement regardless of the level of skill for which they are suitable. Last month there were over 2,000 in training, and that represented an increase of 300 over a year ago.

The main body of those who will benefit from this expansion are those who, in one way or another and for whatever reason, have missed out. They will include those who, perhaps, failed to acquire skills immediately after leaving full-time education. Here the link with the educational system itself, the need to develop late developers, and the problems of raising the school leaving age, are all relevant. They would include those who, perhaps, mistook their first choice of career, or whose career prospects have been damaged by economic or technical change. They would include those who simply see an opportunity and want to take it to improve their skills and so better their prospects.

The new scheme is open to all those in work as well as—as at present—to the unemployed; but they must be willing to leave work for training, since training is full time under the scheme.

The range of courses will be wider than the vocational training scheme. These in the past concentrated mainly on craft skills. Now it is intended to cover the whole range of semi-skilled operations and crafts, clerical occupations, commercial, and even some professional and managerial, qualifications.

One of the new features will be courses not so much in training as of vocational further education.

It is not unreasonable to say that we have every hope of reaching the target of between 60,000 and 70,000 men and women per year by 1975. It is a question of doubling and more than doubling the present rate, but it within our capabilities.

It is also important to remember that numbers in training is not everything and that we should use all the available resources of manpower intelligence to ensure that both the volume and the content of the courses offered match not only individual demand but also the best possible assessment of long-term employment prospects, and this means that there is need for very close links centrally and locally with other work of the Department of Employment.

Mr. Edwin Wainwright (Dearne Valley)

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the figures which he has given to be achieved by 1975 have already been attained by France with a lesser working force?

Mr. Macmillan

That may be, but I must remind the hon. Gentleman of the figures I have given. Under this part of the scheme, that is to say, individual training, the Government vocational training, we had in October, 1964, to June, 1970, an increase of 4,200, in six years; in the last two years we have had an increase of 7,250. I quote that as reason to believe that, having achieved a greater rate of increase, we can regard it as within our capabilities to build up to 60,000 to 70,000 men and women by 1975, and rising as soon as possible to a target of 100,000 a year.

Dame Irene Ward (Tynemouth)

Is my right hon. Friend going to say anything of the criticisms of the consultative document to show whether we are going in the right direction? There would seem to be an immense amount of criticism to deal with.

Mr. Macmillan

I do not think that I can deal at length and in detail with the number of different criticisms and ideas which have been put forward, because that would destroy a part at least of the purpose of this debate, which is to enable me to hear further criticisms and details from this House, and I am trying to be quick because of the shorter time we have than we expected for this debate.

I will turn now to the second part of "Training for the Future" and the proposals for making changes in the present system of industrial training against the background of the need to reinforce and extend the range and scope of industrial training as a whole.

First, I would emphasise that these are consultative proposals, and no firm decisions have been taken—nor will they be till we have weighed and considered all the many suggestions from widely differing points of view which have been put to us during our consultations and, of course, in the speech by the right hon. Gentleman, and the views expressed in this debate. I am afraid that I must disappoint the right hon. Gentleman. As I said, no firm decisions have been taken; therefore I cannot say one way or another what will be the final outcome of our consultations.

They have been very extensive. Apart from those to which the right hon. Gentleman referred we have had some 800 written representations, and we are now judging and analysing these. There have been a large number of very useful meetings both ministerial and official. I have had very full discussions with the TUC, the CBI, the Central Training Council, and others, including some training boards. All training boards have been seen either by myself or by one of my colleagues, and next week I am meeting the chairmen of the training boards jointly. We have had a very full picture, therefore, of the reactions to our proposals—on that I can assure my hon. Friend.

The consultations have shown that, on the whole, the limitations of the training board system are acknowledged, without criticism of the boards, but as being inherent in the system itself. There is widespread agreement on the need to make some changes.

There is, equally, no doubt that the achievement of the boards has been considerable. Opinion varies about how deep and extensive it has been, but there has been a considerable change in the climate of opinion about training in British industry in the last few years, and the importance of training is much more widely recognised, and not simply among specialists and enthusiasts but also among top management and in board rooms.

There have been important advances in the quality of training in many fields. There was the introduction of the module system of training in engineering, and there have been important advances in the techniques of training in engineering. The boards have been of considerable value in bringing together employers, trade unionists and educationists and getting them to think out together an industry's training needs and in working out plans to meet them.

Equally, the limitations of the boards have been shown by the review and, indeed, by consultations. It is quite impossible that they should cover the whole economy. They are most suitable for homogeneous industries, but more difficult for industries which have a very large number of small firms whose training needs are dissimilar. They are not altogether satisfactory for small firms. They do not deal with regional and local labour market needs; they cannot handle the problem of training people in declining industries for employment in other industries. That is a major gap to which I have already referred.

The problem we have is in considering changes which will be necessary so as to reconcile these two aspects of the boards' work and to reinforce their successes and to eliminate their difficulties. Many of these difficulties, as has become clear over the years, are associated with the levy/grant system, and "Training for the Future" proposes an end to the levy/grant system after 1972–73. I am very well aware that this is one of the most controversial points—indeed, the point of main controversy—in the consultative document. Many people on both sides of industry consider that the value of training has not yet been sufficiently widely accepted by employers in general and that some sort of financial stimulus is still needed. Many educationists fear that the ending of the levy/grant may lead to a falling-off in further education as well as in training particularly for young people.

It is fair to say that these views have been expressed in different ways with different degrees of force even among those who hold them, and that they are to some extent conditioned by the nature of the board, its successes and the opinion held of the board by the industry concerned. It is an exaggeration to suppose that, without the levy/grant, training in industry would collapse. The right hon. Member for East Ham, North referred to the engineering industry. He quoted a number of figures and made some suggestions.

What he was saying—and I will come to this later—was that the levy was important and not the grant, that it is the financial sanction that matters rather than the financial stimulus. That is a point of view but it is not one which emerges clearly from the lines of argument I have seen and read. Our consultations have shown that there are many—in the training boards, too—who do not see the levy/grant system as a permanent feature of our training system. As the right hon. Gentleman said, a number of boards were already moving towards phasing it out before the consultative document was published.

There is wide acceptance of the view that once the levy/grant has had a permanent impact it should be run down to get rid of the paper work and bureaucracy which is inevitable in its present form. Let me emphasise that in putting forward these two parts of the argument we have reached no firm decisions. I am aware of the deeply held views in some quarters that in some industries the levy/grant system should remain for a longer period. We do not underestimate the system's inherent difficulties and disadvantages which have led both to the move by some boards to phase it out and to the proposal to end it after 1972–73. We shall be considering the whole question again most carefully before reaching a decision.

"Training for the Future" accepts that if levy/grant is to be phased out there will still be a need for selective grants to stimulate certain key training activities. It suggests that £25 million to £40 million at current prices should be made available for this purpose and for the continuing work of the training boards. Many people have argued that this is not enough. Obviously it is difficult to calculate at all precisely how much might be needed while we still have no experience of the new system, and £25 million to £40 million is merely a broad preliminary estimate. It is roughly the equivalent of the present re-distributive effect of the levy/grant system.

If it is much higher—and the right hon. Gentleman quoted figures—this is an indication that without the levy/grant system firms will not do their own training, that they will have to be given grant and that the training will become more dependent on outside grant rather than on in-house training by individual firms. The figures the right hon. Gentleman quoted and the argument he used showed that what is important to get people to train in his view and the view of those who follow his argument is the threat of the levy rather than the stimulus of the grant.

I am not necessarily quarreling with that. I am merely saying that it is a point which has to be taken into account in deciding what is most important in the system. It is something we are studying with great care. I do not think that enough attention has been given to which of those two elements does the good and which creates the difficulty.

I come to a brief word now about the National Training Agency—

Mr. James Hamilton (Bothwell)


Mr. Macmillan

I would rather not give way. There is not much time and a number of hon. Members want to speak. The National Training Agency is a major proposal in "Training for the Future" designed to co-ordinate and supplement the work of the boards and provide them with finance and to run the Training Opportunities Scheme. I very much take the argument put forward by the right hon. Gentleman that what is required is something in the nature of a national manpower board covering employment as well as training. I have a great deal of sympathy with this suggestion. It is important to maintain the closest possible links between training and the employment services. Whatever system we have, it has to be carefully run so that we do not sacrifice this.

It would be difficult to move to a national manpower board which was separate from my Department, at any rate at present. As was explained in "People and Jobs", one of the major tasks of the employment service at present is paying unemployment benefit and this must clearly remain within the Department as a function of Government.

This is not an idea which I would dismiss, but I would rather say that for the time being I do not regard it as immediately practicable and it should not there fore delay the creation of a national training agency in whatever form is decided is best. This is essential to the extension and development of training generally, particularly to cover the areas now missed out.

At the end of his speech the right hon. Gentleman referred to the future rôle of training boards. I do not see these proposals as being any demotion of the boards. It is essential for the success of any new system that the boards should play a positive and constructive part in it, identifying, as they do, with the training needs of their industries and devising programmes to meet them.

I accept, too, that the staffing arrangements must be such that the boards have staff who are committed to them and responsible. They must not be liable to have staff taken away at a moment's notice or to have unsuitable staff foisted on to them. Inevitably during the review and the consultative period there is a degree of uncertainty among all those concerned with training. I hope that we can dispel the uncertainties as soon as possible

It is widely accepted throughout the training world that we have to take decisions quickly. We shall need time to give full consideration to the results of the consultative process which has thrown up a lot of problems. There are a large number of documents to study with great care. We will not waste any time, we will get on as fast as possible with a view to reaching a final decision. I still hope, if at all possible, to be able to announce our conclusions on the main issues before the House rises, with a view to introducing any legislation which may be necessary in the next Session.

In taking these decisions the Government's objective will be to lay the foundations for a new and improved system of industrial training which will make a vital contribution to our national prosperity in the years to come and which will be essential to the economic health of our nation.

5.20 p.m.

Mr. Austen Albu (Edmonton)

All of us on both sides of the House will welcome what the Secretary of State has said about taking account of the views expressed in the debate and of the consultation outside on the second part of the main set of proposals in his consultative document. Nevertheless most of us on this side of the House will have detected some bias in his summing up of the arguments about the current scheme—the levy/grant scheme in particular. This gave rise at any rate in my mind to a good deal of anxiety, for reasons which I will later explain.

Twelve years ago I opened a debate on apprentices for the Opposition by reading a letter I had received from a youth employment officer dealing with the then current outlook for young school leavers. I regret to say that once again under a Conservative Government boys and girls are leaving school facing the utter frustration of no employment and no possibility of training. We must never forget—there is a slightly distorted view in the consultative document which divides the needs of industry from the needs of individuals—that these two things areinter-dependent. We can, however, consider them as two aspects, the really national industrial need and the social requirements of young people. If I talk mainly of the former it must not be thought that I do not think that the latter is of equal importance.

I believe that the outstanding problem of our advanced industrial societies is to provide for young people coming into adult life a sense of purpose and worthwhile employment. There are serious signs in the attitude that young people are taking at present that we—and I mean not just this country but all the industrial countries—are failing disastrously.

The history of our national attitude to industrial training at all levels is of warnings unheeded by Governments lacking understanding and bemused by liberal economics. From the days of the Great Exhibition, which was some time after we had reached the zenith of our industrial power, scientists, engineers, educationists from Lyon Playfair to Lord Haldane and from Sidney Webb to Lord Eustace Percy and Sir Henry Tizard were warning the country of the inadequacy of our system of technical education and industrial training.

Report after report appeared, starting perhaps with the Second Report of the Commissioners of the Great Exhibition, going on to the great Royal Committees and Select Committees in the second half of the 19th century and then on to further reports after both world wars. Each of these reports compared us. what we were doing in this area, unfavourably with what our competitors were doing. It is true that during most of this time and in most of these reports less attention was paid to workshop training, what is generally known as apprenticeship, until we come to the 1950s, when a number of reports and research studies were published demonstrating the shoddy fraud that most apprenticeship schemes really were. With some significant exceptions, our industry up to that time probably had—many people thought it and I will not deny it—the worst-educated managers and engineers and the worst-trained craftsmen of any advanced industrial country in the world. A lot of people believed that on this we must put the responsibility for our declining economic performance which has bedevilled Governments of all parties for so long.

The liberal economics which were behind the non-interventionist policy of the Governments of those times led to the attitude that "industry knows best". This received approval in the report "Training for Skill" published in 1958, which was the report of the Committee under the chairmanship of the present Lord President of the Council. There were significant signs soon afterwards that he was a reluctant signatory of the report and did not accept its complacency. Whether or not that was true, by 1962 the pressure of events and public debate had brought about a remarkable change which is best illustrated by quoting from paragraph 5 of the White Paper "Industrial Training: Government Proposals". This said: A serious weakness in our present arrangements is that the amount and quality of industrial training are left to the unco-ordinated decisions of a large number of individual firms. These may lack the necessary economic incentive to invest in training people who, once trained, may leave them for other jobs. While the benefits of training are shared by all, the cost is borne only by those firms which decide to undertake training themselves. The 1962 White Paper and the Bill which followed were published during an interventionist phase of the Tory Party for which the right hon. Gentleman can take some filial pride. But it was the Labour Government which got the new policy moving by vigorously administering the Act which came into force in 1964. Some of us, aware of the weak- nesses of the Tory Party in the face of obscurantist pressure groups and the laissez-faire philosophy on which they fought the last General Election, feared a reversion to previous disastrous attitudes. To be fair, I cannot say that the document "Training for the Future" fully justifies those fears. In many ways it is a surprisingly interventionist document, and I agree with a great deal of it, especially the expansion of direct Government training activities. But once again, as anyone who reads Annexe 2 can see, we have had to learn from our competitors, instead of taking a lead.

I turn now, as my right hon. Friend the Member for East Ham, North (Mr. Prentice) did, from direct Government activities to the Government's views on the industrial training boards, and what I have to say must be taken in conjunction with the history of this matter. I do not believe that such a radical change has taken place in the attitude of the majority of British industrialists that we can afford to take off the incentive provided by the levy/grant system. The Government have allowed the minor criticisms of disgruntled employers to exercise a disproportionate influence on their policy. While we welcome the Government's attention to the problems arising out of technological and economic change, the retraining programme, and so forth, we must not forget the still larger and general problem, which is that of maintaining the quantity and quality of day-to-day training of new entrants from schools and colleges into employment. That is still the biggest and most important problem, and the maintenance of the standards of their training is even more important than the retraining of those who fall by the way in their lifetime.

Nearly every major industry, while admitting the need for changes in the industrial training board system, has deplored the proposals to end the levy/grant system. They have done so because of their awareness that without the financial bite for which some of us, led by my right hon. Friend, fought in the Standing Committee on the Bill there was no way of making firms carry out or pay for adequate training. It is true that the increase in numbers, especially in craft apprenticeships, may not be very exciting, and even now, with unemployment, they are falling. Nevertheless, we are not talking merely of numbers. We are talking about quality. In trying to measure the effect of the boards, we must not forget that a lot of what was called apprenticeship before the boards came into operation was no such thing.

My right hon. Friend quoted some disappointing figures about release from work, but nevertheless, the fact that there has been an improvement in quality is perhaps illustrated by the growth in numbers released from work in England and Wales from the 1964 figure of 19 per cent., which rose to 25 per cent. in 1969, and remained at 24 per cent. in 1970. What is more, the growth in approved group schemes is surely a measure of the improvement in quality. The number has gone up from approximately 60 in 1964 to about 700 today.

Both the right hon. Gentleman and my right hon. Friend the Member for East Ham, North referred to the excellent work of the Engineering Industry Training Board, again with the full co-operation of the trade unions, in introducing a radical new scheme for training craftsmen and making arrangements, as have some other industries, for a reduction in the period of training. Personally I would like to see trade unions undertaking schemes of training themselves and receiving grants from the boards to do it.

A number of boards have made a valuable and little-publicised contribution to the terrible problem of the vicious circle that we now face where unemployment leads to a fall in the number of apprenticeships and the willingness to accept trainees, so leading to a shortage of skilled workers in the next boom. They have done it by introducing special courses for unemployed young people, and this is a valuable contribution of the training boards to our current situation.

The Government's proposal to put the boards under the National Training Association which would finance them is quite inadequate. Apart from the loss of direct interest and responsibility, there is the financial aspect. It is not only the figures which have been quoted. There is also the fact that once the boards are subject to Treasury control there is the danger of Treasury cuts in the amounts voted for industrial training whenever the economic climate is bad. I beg the Government to think again and to listen not to the inefficient and complacent firms which want to bumble on in their own sweet way but to the progressive firms and trade unionists who do not want to pull up by the roots a valuable plant which is only just beginning to come to full growth.

5.30 p.m.

Mr. Robert Taylor (Croydon, North-West)

I am glad to have an opportunity to support the Amendment and, in doing so, to support with enthusiasm the proposals contained in the Consultative Document "Training for the Future".

I must congratulate the Department of Employment on producing a clear and lucid document setting out the problems of industrial training today. I must also thank my right hon. and hon. Friends in that Department for the very thorough way in which they have carried out their investigation into the review of the Industrial Training Act, 1964.

Shortly after the General Election, 1970, I made a speech which was reported in the national Press in which I advocated the ending of the levy/grant principle. As a result, I was inundated with letters from all over the country giving details of difficulties which individuals and companies had encountered in the working of the levy/grant principle. Many of them I forwarded to the Department, and I received some very clear replies. It was obvious that very careful consideration had been given to each of the problems which had been submitted. This thorough investigation contrasts starkly with the speech of the hon. Member for East Ham, North (Mr. Prentice), which seemed to be based entirely upon the hand-outs from the industrial training boards and the documents that they have submitted in response to the requests for consultation.

It is incredible that a speech could be made on this subject without reference to the Bolton Committee's Report. The Committee was set up by the right hon. Gentleman's own Government, and it came down emphatically in favour of the release of small firms from the industrial training levy. The Committee's definition of "small firms" covered such a wide area that, if its recommendation was to be implemented, it would in effect be the end of the levy/grant system.

In a debate in another place early last month, several noble Lords were at pains to put forward the view that it was as yet too early to come to a sound judgment about whether the levy/grant system should be retained. This point has also been emphasised by one or two of the industrial training boards. However, it is not a valid argument. As long ago as 1966–67 it was obvious that the levy/grant system was not producing the results that it was hoped to achieve—

Mr. William Hamling (Woolwich, West)

It had not started then.

Mr. Taylor

The hon. Member for Woolwich, West (Mr. Hamling) says that it had not started. However, what I say is supported by the Ninth Report of the Estimates Committee, of which the hon. Gentleman was himself Chairman. In paragraph 42 of its introduction, it is made clear that one of the three companies which appeared before the Committee to give evidence on the subject of the levy/grant principle had changed its system of training in order to maximise its grant, and it changed it in a way that it did not think necessarily was of advantage to the company itself. What is more, paragraph 43 of that report says: The system of levy/grant is of course implicit in the Industrial Training Act, and any abandonment of it would be a major change of policy requiring fresh legislation. The consequences of any such change would clearly be that the Industrial Training Boards would have to receive a direct subsidy from the Exchequer, since they are at the moment dependent on the money received by way of levy. Your Committee do not consider that such a drastic change of policy is required at this stage. In other words, as long ago as 1966–67 it was clear to the Estimates Committee that the levy/grant principle was not working as it was intended.

The point that firms change their system of training in order to maximise their grant has been substantiated time and time again, and in paragraph 19 of Annex 1 of the Consultative Document one reads: More generally the levy/grant system tends to concentrate attention on money rather than training. It is an object of the system that the prospect of recovering levy by earning grant should influence firms towards undertaking training for particular occupations or to sound standards. But the criteria for grants are designed to meet general priorities for an industry of an occupation as a whole which will not, given the variety of firms' activities and organisation, apply equally in each particular case. A policy by a firm of maximising its grant return can therefore lead to distortion of the training that it really needs to undertake. In other words, it repeats exactly what the hon. Member for Woolwich, West and his Committee established as long ago as 1966–67.

If the Act is not achieving its objective, where is it going wrong? The fact is that it is impossible to take an entire industry which contains different companies with different policies and different ways of approaching various problems, and say that this way of training is the answer to this industry's needs. Beyond that, for some reason various industrial training boards seem to have embarked upon a policy of empire building. Many small firms find themselves paying levies to boards which can offer no courses and no training to the requirements of those firms.

Many hon. Members will have seen a letter in the national Press from a firm making stained-glass windows which had to pay a levy to the Construction Industry Training Board. Then there was the firm in the North of England still making clogs required for a factory where they were found to be more serviceable than leather. That firm none the less had to pay levies to the Footwear and Leather Industry Training Board. Then there was the small firm in the North of England making organs which objected strongly to paying levies to the Furniture and Timber Trading Board, and the firm in Lambeth which since the eighteenth century has specialised in repairing complicated and technical ovens which are no longer made but which those who use them want maintained. That firm has to pay levies to the Construction Industry Training Board.

Take the case of a major company: on the outskirts of my constituency there is a firm which has won the Queen's Award to Industry because of its expertise in sinking mine shafts in Canada and elsewhere. Its representatives were called to South Africa when there was a mines explosion. Suddenly, as a result of a Statutory Instrument introduced in 1967 by the right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite, that firm found that it had to pay a levy to the Construction Industry Training Board on the basis of the people whom the company employed sinking mine shafts. But there was nobody on the Construction Industry Training Board at that time—andI do not think that there is now—who could teach that company anything. The company objected strongly—and a substantial public company it is—to paying the levy.

Mr. Ian Mikardo (Poplar)

Why did not the company get it back?

Mr. Taylor

Unfortunately, the board did not give the company any opportunity to get it back because it had not devised a scheme for training people in the sinking of mineshafts. The National Coal Board was affected, too. This is the kind of mess that one gets into when one tries to tell a vast industry which contains many different companies how it should train all the various companies in it.

The Bolton Report goes so far as to say that the reaction among small firms to the Act has been violent. That is the word ituses. Why is it that there has been this extraordinary reaction from so many firms to an Act which was an attempt to assist firms of every size? One can think of the frustration of a small builder who may employ 30 or 40 men, who has made a consistently good return on his capital, who has paid his men high wages and produced a decent job and who has trained his men well, getting an invitation, such as that received by one firm, to attend a seminar to learn about cash flow, balance sheets, budgeting and break-even analysis; and on looking at the situation of the Construction Industry Training Board, which has offered him the course, finds that it has lost £11 million in one year and £5 million the following year and, further, that the accounts of the board have to be qualified by its accountant to show that the major creditor has been omitted. In other words, this training board brings into its income the levies which it receives but it omits from expenditure the grants that it is due to pay. That is the organisation which invites others to learn how to budget and produce a cash flow.

There are many other things which irritate small businesses. A furniture manufacturer in Oxfordshire who employs 40 people wrote saying—hon. Gentlemen opposite seem preoccupied with what the industrial training boards say; it would be better if they paid attention to what the boards do—that he had been invited to a seminar. This is interesting, because it is entitled: Time saving of top management for profit", followed by a note: Eligibility for grants has been negotiated with some Industrial Training Boards. The seminar is to commence at 10 o'clock, with coffee, and then the document says: 10.30 First Session: The role of the chairman. That is followed by a discussion period until 12.30, when there is a break for cocktails and luncheon. The menu is interesting: Smoked Salmon—Piesporter Goldtroptchen"— whatever that is— Grilled Entrecote Steak, Mushrooms, Stuffed Tomatoes and Sauté Potatoes, Chateau Lafleur Pomerol—Cassata Siciliana—Cheese and Biscuits—Coffee. The second session in the afternoon is entitled: The Managing Director At Work. What is the reaction of the small firm which finds no time for luncheons of that kind when it receives such invitations? The fees are £30, which, as it says, are recoverable from the training boards.

In the debate in the other place to which I have referred Lord Mottistone, for whom I have the greatest admiration as the Chief Executive of the Distributive Industry Training Board, made the point that there was apprehension among many companies that if the Government left the industrial training boards with the power to raise levies, in the unfortunate event of a change of Government the new Government would resurrect these levies because there is a tremendous keenness on the benches opposite for levies to be as high as possible—[Interruption.] The view of hon. Gentlemen opposite seems to be—the higher the levy, the more incentive there is to train people.

Mr. Mikardo


Mr. Taylor

That is the point that has been made many times—the higher the levy, the greater the incentive to train. The noble Lord agreed that that was unlikely to happen, but it could happen, and, therefore, I should like this document "Training for the Future" taken further and all the resources which the Government are putting into industrial training channelled into the retraining of those who are unemployed, because they are the people who need our help. If people are retrained they are more likely to get a job, and that makes sense. I hope that my right hon. Friends will press ahead with the proposals in this document. I hope, too, that we shall see an end of the levy/grant system early in the new Session of Parliament.

Mr. James Hamilton

I have been listening attentively to the hon. Gentleman's speech. I am sure that the Minister who is to reply to the debate will concur with this point of view. Local industrialists in my constituency have been in touch with the Department asking for a continuation of the levy/grant system. When the hon. Gentleman talks about retraining, will he bear in mind that in my part of the country there are 16,000 unemployed? There is a training centre there, and I hope that another one will be opened at the end of the year. I have been asking the Minister to give us the jobs to employ those people.

Mr. Taylor

I thought that the hon. Gentleman was going to ask me a question, but, obviously, that is not so.

Mr. Hamilton

How would the hon. Gentleman deal with that situation?

Mr. Taylor

Money should be channelled into retraining and into areas of unemployment. It does not make sense to pour money into industrial training boards, because it has been proved that to do so creates training which may not necessarily be in the interests of the company whose policies are directed towards maximising the grant.

The Government's proposals to reduce the grants of training boards are in line with my thoughts. I wish they would go further. I warmly support the Amendment.

5.47 p.m.

Mr. Ian Mikardo (Poplar)

It is a pity that what had started as a good debate was a little let down by the speech of the hon. Member for Croydon, North-West (Mr. Robert Taylor) consisting, as it did, of a mixture of knockabout comedy and argument to knock down the views of other people which they had never expressed. However, the hon. Gentleman has a substratum of justification in the argument that there are difficulties and anomalies in the levy/grant system. Indeed there must be, and I think that attention has to be directed as far as possible to getting rid of them.

There is room for a good deal more flexibility, within some industries at least, in interpretation anda good many changes which do not require legislation. I have in mind administrative changes which would get over some though not all of the difficulties which the hon. Gentleman has described. There are some administrative bureaucratic difficulties—if one wants to use a pejorative word like "bureaucratic"—but let us face the fact and not get away from it that the letters which the hon. Gentleman has received, and the letters which doubtless the Secretary of State has received along the same lines, are to an overwhelming extent motivated by one consideration, and that consideration is the desire of selfish, parasitical employers who in the past have acted as parasites on their competitors by "pinching" men trained by their competitors, to escape any obligation whatsoever.

When the Secretary of State is considering with an open mind—as he said he would, and I believe him—all the representations, he is far too experienced and sensible not to understand the basic motivation in most of the objections to the levy/grant scheme.

The House and all our industry must be indebted to my right hon. Friends for having put down this subject for debate at a time when, as the Secretary for State said, there is a great deal of dynamism in our industrial scene, with new industries growing up and others declining. He might have added also a mention of the spate of mergers, takeovers and rationalisations and the development of new technologies which are changing the employment pattern. At such a time, it is perhaps no exaggeration to say that the continued health and competitiveness of British industry will depend more on using to the full the potential skills of our work force than on any other single factor.

Of course, as my right hon. Friend the Member for East Ham, North (Mr. Prentice) said, it would have been nonsensical for the Government to carry out, as they have done, a process of consulting many interests, organisations and people without consulting the House of Commons before finally making up their minds. I share my right hon. Friend's regret that we are debating this in a partisan way. I would go further. I could have wished that we were having this debate not on a Motion and an Amendment at all but in an open way, leaving us to do battle with the terms of the White Paper, when it comes along, and the subsequent legislation if we do not agree with them.

I accept that the Secretary of State will have a fresh and serious look at all this. After all, the document was produced before he took up his present office. If I may give an opponent a compliment behind his back, I believe that he is a flexibly-minded sort of chap who will have a fresh look at this in a genuine and honest way. We should give him every encouragement.

It is common cause among us all that this subject cannot be considered in a vacuum but must be related to the general background of the economic and employment situation and the attitude of employers to their labour. As has already been said, the whole concept of industrial relations can, and indeed has, become discredited by trainees going through a course of training, acquiring a skill and then finding that there are no vacancies in their locality for people with that class of skill. This is not only a waste of public resources: still more important, it is a beating over the head of a man's morale if he is trained only for the dole queue.

I hope that the Government have begun to understand that we cannot seriously expect anything worth while of any training scheme—either the Government's own scheme, however many more resources they put into it, or the ITB scheme, however it is improved—so long as we are talking of unemployment figures of about a million. Until we get rid of that, it is only playing around the edges of our problem to talk about increasing and improving the facilities of industrial training.

It is also only skirting the edges of the problem if we do not relate industrial training to manpower policy. Whether we need a national manpower board which is a part of the right hon. Gentleman's Department or whether it could be sponsored by the Department with some independence is something we might debate on another occasion, but what we have been lacking up to now is any sort of authority which takes a hard and constant look at economic movements, at fluctuations in demand for different products and hence fluctuations in demand for the different skills which are used in the manufacture of different products, and also at changes and movements in population, especially as they affect the regions of high unemployment.

Until we have such an organisation, whether within the Department or outside, we are training in a speculative vacuum. We are training people without knowing whether we are producing more people of one skill than will ever be required and not producing enough of the skills which will be required. The whole of this must start from one principle—namely, that no able-bodied worker is ever unemployed: he is either in a job or he is being trained for a vacancy.

No matter how much we increase the number of places—the Secretary of State was justified in claiming credit for the increase, although the target is still far too low—we are still short of what should be the proper objective unless we accept, as is accepted in Sweden, that no able-bodied worker is ever unemployed—he is either working or being trained. It will not be easy to reach this objective, but it is only when it is accepted that that is where we aim to be that we shall get full value from training programmes.

Coupled with that new outlook which I am demanding of the Government and the House, there should also be a new outlook by employers on the re-equipment and training of their workers. In all the years that I have been a management consultant there has always been one thing more than any other which surprised and shocked me. It was the different attitude of management towards spending money on machinery and spending money on labour.

A works director who buys anew machine for perhaps £100,000 will exercise the greatest of care. He will get catalogues of all the competing models and will talk to salesmen. He will go to exhibitions and will visit companies which use the different models, sometimes going abroad. He will debate with himself and finally will decide. He will spend his £100,000 and will have his machine grouted in with the utmost care, getting his maintenance boys along to ensure that it is properly installed and that there are proper routines for keeping it perfectly maintained, in order to get full value for his £100,000.

That man might spend £500,000 a year on wages and salaries, yet he will usually take the first labour that comes along. Far from "grouting it in", in manycases he will not provide even an embryonic induction into the firm, let alone any training. If the worker falls down on the job because he is unfamiliar with it or has been wrongly chosen, he is flung out and another is brought in. But if the machine cannot cope, the employer goes to extraordinary lengths to find out what has gone wrong. Until we have management which takes as much care with its staff as with its machines, we will not get the best out of men and management co-operating in training.

I am not asking managements in competitive businesses to carry out social services on behalf of the community. They should do it in their own commercial interests, remembering that one of the most pestilential of all on-costs is an unduly high proportion of labour turnover, and this comes about as a result of the attitude on the part of management that I have been describing.

The Minister was justified in pinning a bit of a medal on his colleagues who previously occupied his post for the increased provision for Government training, but do not let us kid ourselves. The resources that have been made available are grossly inadequate to the need. It is proposed by the end of 1975 to spend £60 million a year on training. At present, expenditure per training place is running at £1,250. We are told that this £60 million must finance up to 70.000 trainees. This indicates that about £860 will be spent per training place by 1975.

Even leaving out the consequences of inflation—judging from the present rates, it will not be insubstantial by 1975—we will be spending one-third less than we are now spending per training place. Taking the consequences of inflation into account, we will be spending a little more than one-half per trainee. Does this make sense?

I come to the question of the organisation of the ITB system of training. The key question in any such organisation is how far one centralises or decentralises. This is never an easy question to answer because there are always arguments on both sides, and one must hold a balance.

It seems that the Government's proposals carry centralisation much too far. The central agency should be responsible for only four aspects. The first is the overall strategic planning of the training activity, in partnership with the National Manpower Board, maintaining liaison with the board—in other words, assessing the pattern of need and making sure that the individual ITB's conform in their work to supplying the pattern of established need.

Second, it is useful to carry out centrally training in skills which are common to many industries, and perhaps common to all. I refer, for example, to training in managerial skills, including industrial relations, that is, man management, and including the use of control statistics. Computer operation is a subject on which the central agency could give training because it is common to many industries. The same can be said to some clerical skills and some non-vocational training, because even in industrial training there should be such elements as industrial economics.

The third aspect which should be handled centrally is that of central advice. This should be made available to the ITBs. I am thinking of a parallel to the National Ports Council and the port authorities.

It seems a violation of everything that is generally understood in management theory and practice to have the execution carried out centrally on the basis of advice given on the perimeter. The normal practice, and for good reason, is for the method to be laid down centrally but for the execution on the perimeter to be delegated with the right, power and duty to carry out the method. It would be sensible, therefore, to have the central agency in an advisory rôle and the individual ITBs in an operative rôle rather than the other way round.

The fourth task to be handled centrally is that of training for industries which, for one reason or another, have not been covered by the individual ITBs.

In considering the question of the people who are at present staffing the ITBs, I should declare a certain interest because most of them are members of the trade union to which I belong and which my hon. Friend the Member for Edmonton (Mr. Albu) may be interested to know does training of its officers and lay members with the support of ITBs.

These chaps have an unusual combination of expertise. They need not only expertise in the technology of the industry but also in teaching. Hon. Members who have been involved in these matters, and there are many on both sides of the House, will appreciate how seldom these two qualities meet together in one man: the ability to do and the ability to teach.

These ITBs have recruited, trained or somehow obtained many people with this unusual double skill to a very high measure indeed. It would be a desperate tragedy if the effect of the reorganisation which the Government propose were to result in some of those skills being wasted simply because there was no training for them to do.

I beg the Secretary of State to takea fresh look at this whole matter and to take account of the submissions that have been made to him in this debate and elsewhere. He should not be put off his good works in this connection simply because of the Division which will take place at the end of these deliberations. I beg him to look at the matter objectively and not to feel that he has lost any prestige if the White Paper differs substantially from the consultative document. After all, that is what consultative documents are for.

6.9 p.m.

Mr. Christopher Woodhouse (Oxford)

I join with hon. Members who have welcomed much that is good in this document, particularly the opening section on needs and objectives and the section on Government training centres and vocational opportunities.

I hope I am right in detecting in what my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State said a somewhat more open-minded attitude on the subject of the Industrial Training Act than is implied in a strict reading of the document, because it would be unfortunate if the full rigour of the document were carried out in dealing with the 1964 Act.

When that Act was passed it rested on two principles, one of which has been frequently mentioned today and the other less so. The first principle was a stimulus to improve training so much needed in the form of a stick and carrot or the levy/grant system. The other was that each industry should be responsible for its own training. Without those two principles there would have been little in substance in the 1964 Act. To abrogate them both would be to emasculate the Act.

The consultative document proposes to abrogate both principles. There can be only two possible reasons for doing so. One is that the Government have concluded that the Act should never have been passed in the first place and the other is that the Government have concluded that the Act has already fully served its purpose. The second argument is hinted at in the document at paragraph 31: …and that a permanent shift in attitude in British industry has been secured. I have not encountered anybody who believes that, nor is it conceivable merely seven years after the Act was passed. The argument is explicitly repudiated in most of the comments I have read. I will not quote them as many other hon. Members have referred to them.

All that remains is the argument that the Act was a mistake in the first place. I am well aware that many industrialists think so and many will have told the Minister that they take this view. It is certainly not the considered opinion of the more far-seeing industrialists or those responsible for training under them. I urge the Minister to listen to the latter and not to confuse teething troubles with permanent defects.

There have been legitimate complaints about some of the practices of some of the boards—the great mass of paper they produce, the inflexibility of some of their rules, the distortion of some training practices, to which the hon. Member for Poplar (Mr. Mikardo) rightly referred, the costly administration and the unfairness to small firms which was the main theme of the Bolton Report.

Some of the earlier industrial training boards mishandled their relations with their industries. The Construction Industry Training Board got itself into a hopeless financial mess. The Agricultural Training Board completely misunderstood the psychology of farmers. The Road Transport Industry Training Board spent most extravagantly on training schemes of its own which were generally regarded as unnecessary. To take one trivial instance, the Furniture Industry Training Board occupied a lot of my time a few years ago by making preposterous attempts to extend its scope to the manufacture of briar pipes. On the other hand several training boards deserve credit for the skilful management of their relations with their industry. I instance particularly the Chemical Industry Training Board and the Ceramics and Glass Industry Training Board of which I saw a good deal.

The main point is that these are early days in which to reach final conclusions. Judged by any standard except the life of a Parliament, the training boards are still extremely new. What is more, they are imperfectly understood. One reason why they are imperfectly understood is that the 1964 Act engendered comparatively little controversy, although it was an Act which was in many ways as important as any of the Education Acts passed this century.

A particular source of misunderstanding was the earliest, largest and most powerful industrial training board, that of the engineers, which adopted from the beginning the somewhat misleading practice of fixing its levy at such a level as to raise a total income equivalent to the entire cost of training in the industry. This misled some employers into thinking that once they had paid their levy they had paid the full cost of their train-in, which they had not. They were put out to find that they still had to pay for their training and that their grant would never come to the whole of their outlay, the levy plus the cost of training. However, in some cases, to the pleasant surprise of industrial employers, the grant exceeded the levy. That, too, was a confusing thing to happen.

Even more confusing, some employers found that, although doing exactly the same amount and quality of training in consecutive years, they got totally different grants because they had failed to realise that their share of the total grant available under the board depended on what other employers in the industry did and not merely on what they themselves were doing. All this was compounded in the case of the Engineering Industry Training Board by the elaborate and complex formulae for calculating the grant, which no employer could work out in advance.

I, like many other hon. Members, could give many instances of the sense of bewilderment and unfairness among smaller employers. They were not the only ones to suffer misunderstandings and consequent disillusionment. All parties to the operation of the Act probably started with some misconceptions. Some employers thought that the Act would help to erode the rigidities of the apprenticeship system. Some teachers thought that it would help to eke out depleted education budgets. Some trade unionists thought it would increase the scale of day release. In some degree it has contributed to all these ends, although they were not written into the Act. Because the Act did not do as much as was expected, certain disappointment followed. It was absurd to expect so much in the early years, but it would be still more absurd to scrap the Act prematurely as a failure.

What should be done, in a nutshell, is to maintain the industrial training boards but to scale them down and taper off their levy/grant powers. The more forward-thinking boards are already in the process of doing so.

The document speaks of retaining the boards but implies that their rôle will be severely diminished by putting the National Training Agency over them in a co-ordinating rôle. This will be unwelcome by industry and damaging to the industrial training boards for several reasons. It will offend against the principle that each industry should be responsible for its own training without any central control superimposed on it.

By all means let the NTA have the powers indicated in paragraph 153. I agree with virtually all the points which have been made about the functions to be assigned to it, to cover employment not covered by particular training boards and particularly to administer inter-board functions which are managed by committees of the Central Training Council—for example, clerical training, the training of training officers, research and so on. But the existing boards should retain the undivided responsibility for the basic functions of training for their own industry. They should retain levy/grant powers as it is absurd to imagine that any industry will raise a voluntary levy.

It should be made clear that levy/grant powers are to be exercised on a tapering scale such as is already being adopted by the Engineering Industry Training Board and the Chemical Industry Training Board. Both those boards have been able, as a result, substantially to cut their levy rate. That process could undoubtedly go further but it cannot be reduced to zero overnight without doing irreparable damage. That is clearly the view of the boards, including all their members representing trade unions, educationists and employer. It is also the view of a number of members of the Confederation of British Industry, as will be apparent to anybody who reads between the lines of its report, and of my hon. Friend the Member for Cheadle (Mr. Normanton), who unfortunately has been unable to be here today.

I hope that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State will give these views careful consideration before imposing the drastic remedies set out in the document, which would be something like curing a headache by the process of decapitation.

6.18 p.m.

Mr. Roland Moyle (Lewisham, North)

It is a great pleasure to follow the hon. Member for Oxford (Mr. Woodhouse) in the thoughtful speech which he has directed to our debate. His speech has enhanced the high regard in which we hold him. We are being allowed only a short debate on this important subject. Therefore, I will speak as briefly as I can and direct my remarks mainly to the retention of the levy/grant system, particularly related to a group of employees which would not readily be discussed this afternoon, namely, the student apprentices and trainee scientists for whom we will have to provide for the future. No doubt many of my hon. Friends would wish to have an opportunity to expound upon the question of training craft apprentices and other members of the work force.

However, I must first make two preliminary points. First, I am pleased to learn from the Secretary of State that he is to pay close regard to the views expressed in the House today, because if his intention had been to mislead me into believing that the contrary was his attitude I do not think he could have put his name to a more cunningly drafted Amendment. However, I am not prepared to rest on nitpicking in drafting. I am prepared to take the word of one person to another across the Floor of the House.

Second, according to my computation there have been three reviews of industrial training in Britain over the last 15 years. It is a point of collector's interest to realise that the first and the last of those reviews have been closely connected with the right hon. Member for Mitcham (Mr. R. Carr). I am not sure whether the right hon. Gentleman wishes to be reminded about it, but in the late 1950s he was the chairman of a committee which produced a study called "Training for Skill". The right hon. Member was then an Under-Secretary at the Ministry of Labour.

Basically, that document said what an excellent training system we had and that all we had to do was to get hold of our young school leavers and sit them next to "Nelly" for four or five years and we would turn out the most superb craftsmen that Europe and, indeed, the whole world had ever seen. The right hon. Gentleman's committee thought that a little exhortation was perhaps necessary here and there to carry along the laggards. Therefore, a body known as the Industrial Training Council was set up, with the British Employers' Confederation, as it then was, providing the secretariat.

For about two or three years that council relied entirely upon a process of exhortation to get industrial training going. It was a gross and total failure. I know from my own experience, because I was in industry at the time. The Industrial Training Council was set up to encourage people to undertake more training and to ensure that the worst employers did not poach trained people from the better and more socially conscious employers. That process of poaching occurred before the council was set up. It went on after the council was set up. It was brought to an end only when the council was, fortunately, abolished and the Industrial Training Act took its place.

As I look at the Government's pamphlet produced for discussion this afternoon, I am very much afraid that the leadership, the techniques and the policies which failed us about a dozen years ago are being reintroduced to deal with the problems of 1972. This is not good enough.

I shall talk now about the problems of student engineers and trainee scientists. The whole problem of these people and, indeed, of everybody in our industrial training system has been put in a much more sinister context by some of the remarks the Prime Minister has been making recently. On 17th April the right hon. Gentleman was moved to say that Britain must be careful not to produce too many engineers and scientists. I shall pass over the point that anybody with a positive attitude to the problem would have set himself out to ask how best the supply of engineers and scientists that we are producing can be used by British industry and, if we have engineers and scientists who are not being properly used, how industry might be stimulated to expand its operations to employ these engineers and scientists.

That would have been the proper line for the Prime Minister to take instead of the negative one of warning the nation of having too many qualified people. Can anybody in the House this afternoon honestly say that the British labour force is far too qualified for the basis of industrial competition, commercial competition or any other sort of competition which we have in the world? The answer is bound to be "No".

Later during that question hour I approached the Prime Minister and asked him this question. If he thought that we had too many scientists and engineers, how many did he think we should have and how did he think we should set about getting that number? The right hon. Gentleman was in considerable difficulty, because by and large British Governments do not have a great deal of control over the number of scientists and engineers produced by our institutions of higher learning. The whole system of higher education at the moment seems to be designed to achieve that purpose. There is broad agreement at present between both sides on that matter. The Prime Minister had to waffle in reply—I do not think that is putting it too highly—and talk about what the Civil Service was doing in terms of careful personnel placing and so on.

One of the ways in which the number of people going through the universities can be manipulated by the Government is to go against the compulsory levy/grant system as laid down by the Industrial Training Act, 1964. A number of our higher institutions of learning—the nine technological universities, as they are sometimes called, and the 30 polytechnics—depend to a very substantial extent on the levy/grant system for completing their training for degree courses for engineers and scientists. If one begins to undermine that system, one begins to undermine the number of student engineers and scientists who are attracted to the universities and who go through the universities in the first place.

Over the last month or two I have taken upon myself the task of sounding out a number of our leading academicians in both the public and university sectors of higher education about their views on the future of the professional degree people we shall be training for the future. All of them I have come across so far—there may be exceptions, but I have yet to come across them—believe that the abolition of the levy/grant system will do a great deal of harm to the institutions in which they work. The Government should be fully aware of this because a number of these people have submitted representations to the Government.

At a technological university not too far from here there is a very large number of student scientists and engineers on what the university calls a thin sandwich system. This means that every year for three years the students do two terms at the university and for the rest of the year go out into industry and get the rest of their training in a practical down-to-earth fashion. This system requires that the students be placed for the second part of the "sandwich" with industry. This in turn requires the co-operation of industry in this vital part of the training.

I stress that that is what is happening at one technological university and that there are eight others and 30 polytechnics which are also, to some extent or other, in the same situation. That university in 1963 placed 350 student engineers in industry. In 1972 it placed 1,250. If its plans for the coming quinquennium are approved in total, it hopes by 1977 to be placing 2,400 students every year on the shop floor.

I hope that the House will bear with me whilst I read the comment that this technological university makes: The levy system operated under the Industrial Training Boards provided a real incentive to companies to provide places in addition to their immediate short term needs. It demonstrated that the training of young people was a necessary social service which was expected of them, not an optional charity. The withdrawal of the levy will make it very difficult for any management to justify expenditure ontraining for any but his immediately foreseeable requirements…other managers may consider it cheaper to 'poach' graduates trained elsewhere. That last sentence leads me to think that the problems which we had in the late 1950s and early 1960s and from which I had hoped we were now emerging are beginning to loom ever more darkly on the horizon of industrial training.

It requires a very substantial effort on the part of industry to meet the training of student engineers and scientists. Admittedly the tutors and staff of the universities and the polytechnics go out into industry to supervise their students regularly and on a very comprehensive basis. But between the visits of the tutors and the staffs of the universities supervision of the student apprentices must entirely depend upon the supervision—and that means the resources—of the management of the firm with which they are placed. It means foremen, general management, middle management and sometimes senior management taking time off the normal job to make sure that the student apprentices are getting the sort of industrial experience they need.

Those tutors from universities are also very closely in touch with the industrial firms with which they work and their view can be taken as a soundly-based judgment of the situation which is likely to arise in British industry with regard to training students and apprentices of all kinds if the industrial levy/grant system is abolished. This is the incentive, the staffs believe, in the industrial end of the thin sandwich training.

In spite of everything that the right hon. Gentleman says—and I hope he will look at this with an open mind—it looks as though the Government are beginning to turn to the old ideas and methods. Admittedly there will be a substantially greater amount of administrative backing to their new policy than there was in the old days, but the essential voluntary nature will reappear. It looks very much as though the Government are turning, almost under the old hands, to the old policies which failed a dozen years ago. If that is so and if at some not too far distant time this country discovers that it does not have sufficient engineers and scientists to maintain the standard of living that its people hope to achieve, the electorate will not readily forgive the Government.

We are almost reaching the point at which, if the Government put forward an idea and it is sufficiently strongly criticised from the Opposition side of the House, the Government drop that idea and produce an idea which at any rate looks like a policy which we thought was appropriate for the 1960s. This is a great improvement on the normal attitude of the Conservative Party, which has always endeavoured to be 50 years out of date. We congratulate the Conservative Party on being only 10 years out of date.

If that it so, however, I beg right hon. and hon. Members on the Government benches to believe that they will not solve their student apprenticeship problem to the satisfaction of this side of the House if they direct a solution towards the student apprentices and scientists which is substantially more generous in principle than the solution which they hope to achieve for the training of craft apprentices and others in industry.

We have to have a parity of approach to the industrial training solution of both classes, at the top end of the training scale and at the other end of the scale.

6.33 p.m.

Mr. Hugh Fraser (Stafford and Stone)

I shall not follow the remarks of the hon. Member for Lewisham, North(Mr. Moyle) in great detail. I congratulate him on his speech, except for his rather ascorbic words in the last passage, which were uncalled for. With so much agreement in the House, I find it strange that the Opposition should be dividing the House this evening. Nevertheless I take the point made by the hon. Member for Poplar (Mr. Mikardo) that we need possibly a more revolutionary attitude to training than we have seen hitherto. I take the point made so excellently by my hon. Friend the Member for Oxford (Mr. Woodhouse) that perhaps we should take a more proper evolutionary conservative approach and should not throw away what has already been built up.

I know that sometimes comparisons are unfair, but if we compare what is happening in Sweden today with the sort of training that we are offering we find that the amount of money that we propose to invest is not nearly high enough. It is a question not only of industrial skills but also of social happiness and advantage, which is the due of everyone in this country. But without training it is quite possible that we shall still have a very high level of unemployment and a shortage of skills. With any turn-up in the economy, this becomes fairly clear even on the most pragmatic and commercial grounds. Even so there is a far wider need, which was stressed by the Government and has been stressed by all hon. Members. There is the essential need of linking the question of training with the question of unemployment. I shall speak about that when I come shortly to discuss the proposals for the central national training agency.

In regard to the immediate questions about the training boards, however, I hope that my right hon. and hon. Friends will look again at the question of doing away with the levy/grant. Although there have been failures and miscalculations in various training boards, as my hon. Friend the Member for Oxford pointed out, there is no question but that this is the stimulus which gets the industrialist to see that training is carried out. To switch away from this process now, when it has been in existence for only seven or eight years, would be an error. What is more, this throws up the sort of sums which we propose to be invested in training as against those being invested on the Continent. In comparison with Sweden, manpower for manpower and workforce for workforce, it would mean that we should have to be investing about £300 million a year. The proposal is now running in the £60 million to £70 million range.

I come to two fairly small points although they are of great importance in my part of the world. I am sure that my right hon. Friend will have read the report of the West Midlands Engineering Group, which has criticised this document to a considerable extent, and the report of the timber and woodworking trades, which again has made criticisms which I have sent to my right hon. Friend. I hope he will make clear what is to happen to the group training schemes, such as the Cannock Group Training Scheme, which have been of such benefit to small firms, very effective and run at very low cost. I hope they will find a place in whatever scheme the Government put forward.

It is right that the national training agency should be independent, rather in the same way as in Sweden. Although I have not been to Sweden I have read the excellent pamphlet by Mr. Mukherjee on the subject. The principle of the independence of this agency is on the whole a very good one. I agree with the hon. Member for Poplar and with my hon. Friend the Member for Oxford that this should not become too involved with detail and certainly should not destroy the powers of the industrial training boards. The points made by the hon. Member for Poplar about specialisation or working across the whole front, in things such as training in the use of computers and so on and the sort of things common to all industries, are good ones.

But this independent agency should have two very important links which have, perhaps, not yet been fully mentioned. First it should have very closelinks with technical education. Here I agree with the hon. Member for Lewisham, North and with my hon. Friend the Member for Oxford. The Act of 1964 was a great step forward into national education. The link which should be established between this agency and the technical colleges and universities must be of the closest nature.

Secondly there should be a much closer link than that proposed between this central agency and those departments dealing with unemployment and the pursuit of jobs for the unemployed. We are still very weak compared with Sweden and France, and the money now being spent by France, in seeing that those without a job have a chance of either retraining or replacement. Given these things and these improvements, the present Government, with the brains and ability of my right hon. Friend, can turn out a job which does not deserve all the medals but a job which will deserve the plaudits of the whole House.

6.40 p.m.

Mr. Alfred Morris (Manchester, Wythenshawe)

I should like to refer briefly to two matters. The first is the daunting problem facing large numbers of severely disabled people in this field. The Secretary of State spoke for a moment or two on retraining the disabled. I know of his deep personal interest in the problems of severe disablement. He worked closely with me on these problems in the last Parliament. I am grateful to him for his fleeting reference to the problems of the severely disabled. But I doubt whether the right hon. Gentleman, on reflection, would say that he went nearly far enough.

I described the problem as daunting not least because of its size. The right hon. Gentleman knows well that the current rate of unemployment among the employable disabled has risen to a scandalous 14.9 per cent. In the North West the rate is even higher at 16.3 per cent. Does the right hon. Gentleman really believe that what he said today is even barely satisfactory against the background of these figures? As he knows, even the current unemployment rate among the employable disabled does not tell the whole story.

We are all aware of disabled people who have lost all hope of ever obtaining work. They are oppressed by a deep and wholly understandable despair. There are very large numbers of unemployed disabled people who crave the right to work. They want the dignity of becoming taxpayers, not the dependence of being supplementary pensioners. They will not lose their sense of dependence unless we do very much more than we are now doing to train and retrain the disabled for open employment.

I accept that this is not the only cause of the intimidating problems facing employable disabled people. My hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent, South (Mr. Ashley) spoke recently against the law-breaking firms failing to employ their statutory 3 per cent. of disabled workers. We want to see the firms which break the law brought to court for their offences. My hon. Friend asked the Secretary of State to institute proceedings. The Department of Employment has admitted that, out of 62.537firms, 58 per cent. are not taking all the disabled workers they should and of these 14,848 have not been granted permits exempting them from the obligation because the work which they could offer was not suitable for the disabled. My hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent, South has very properly argued that the present situation is deeply outrageous.

It may be that some of the tricksters and law-breaking firms will seek to justify themselves by reference to the wholly inadequate opportunities for industrial retraining among disabled people. Whatever they say, they must no longer be allowed to break the law at will. We must have not only adequate industrial training opportunities for the disabled, but also the availability of jobs for the disabled to take up.

As soon as I read the document "Training for the Future" I wrote to the Minister asking him to enter into full and immediate consultation with the organisations which represent disabled people. In reply the Under-Secretary of State wrote to me on 30th May to say that his officers who are working on the development of the Training Opportunities Scheme would be meeting the Director of the Central Council for the Disabled to hear and discuss his views in detail. I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his reply. I hope we shall learn that the meeting with the Director of the Central Council will take place at a very early date.

The second matter to which I wish to refer concerns training policy in the retail trades. As right hon. and hon. Gentlemen on both sides of the House will know, there has recently been set up an all-party retail trade group of which the hon. Member for Hampstead (Mr. Geoffrey Finsberg) and myself are officers. My interest derives from a very close and abiding connection with the co-operative movement. If the hon. Gentleman catches your eye, Mr. Speaker, I know he will join me in emphasising that the Retail Consortium would like to be assured that it will be consulted by the National Training Agency, if and when it is set up, on all aspects of training policy in the retail trades. When he replies to the debate, I hope the Minister will give that assurance to the Retail Consortium and that he will also reply constructively and sympathetically on the first of the matters I have raised.

6.46 p.m.

Mr. Robert Redmond (Bolton, West)

I trust that the hon. Member for Manchester, Wythenshawe (Mr. Alfred Morris) will forgive me if I do not comment on his speech. I know of his intense interest in the disabled. I share his interest, but time presses and therefore I must be brief.

I wish to make three points. First, it has been suggested that the training boards are unanimous in their opposition to the withdrawal of levy/grant. That is not so. As Secretary of the Conservative Employment Committee in the House, together with my colleagues on it, I have been in consultation over the last few months with many boards. I shall be seeing the representatives of one of the boards tomorrow. The third point in a document which I have from the Hotel and Catering Industry Training Board is that it believes the balance of advantage lies in favour of discontinuing levy and supports the proposal to phase levy out after 1972–73. That is the view of just one board. I assure the House that a number of others have a similar view.

Secondly, if abatement from the levy were given to the very small firms which cannot benefit from the training board's services simply because no training would be useful to the very small number of people they employ and the cost of collecting the levy would probably exceed the amount collected, we would have far fewer complaints about the levy system. In the last two years some of my colleagues and myself have been inundated with complaints from small employers to the effect that a very small levy was a pinprick and a nuisance. The Engineering Industry Training Board wished some time ago to give abatement to very small firms and was prevented from doing so by the right hon. Lady the Member for Blackburn (Mrs. Castle) when she was First Secretary of State and Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity. If she had allowed abatement, we would have had no complaints and the present situation would perhaps not have emerged.

Thirdly, by far the most important part of the document "Training of the Future" is that which deals with the question of retraining. When the economy is reflated we nearly always run out of certain types of skill, and that is happening now. I represent an area which unfortunately has suffered considerably from rising unemployment following the squeeze of 1966 and devaluation. Recently I sent to my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State a report on a survey I had made of situations vacant in which I showed that there were shortages of skills. The example which highlighted the situation was that of a firm in the Bolton travel-to-work area which advertised for bricklayers at £80 a week—over £4,000 a year—and had no takers because there was such a shortage.

There is a general shortage of building trade operatives and workers from the engineering industries are queueing at the employment exchanges in search of jobs. Surely we ought to think in terms of retraining these people, and that is why the retraining proposals are so important. Rather than put down a Motion criticising what the Government are doing about industrial training, the Opposition could have put down a Motion congratulating the Government for seeking to help men to improve their position by retraining.

6.50 p.m.

The Minister of State, Department of Employment (Mr. Robert Chichester-Clark)

I wish to speak briefly in the last few minutes of the debate, and I hope that in so doing I shall not be shutting anyone else out.

More than anything else I wish to re-emphasise what my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State said earlier about the consultative nature of the proposals. They are consultative, as many of us who have spent many hours in recent weeks in consultation have every reason to know. As my right hon. Friend said firmly today, no firm decision, apart from the decision on the training opportunities scheme, has been taken. We have seen all those at the training boards who have wished to see us. Many other organisations including the TUC, the CBI, many individuals and interested organisations, youth employment interests, the Central Training Council and many others, have made representations. More than 800 letters have been received from interested persons; so there is a wealth of evidence to be sifted. That will take some time, although, as my right hon. Friend said, it is still hoped to announce the main conclusions by the time the House rises for the Summer Recess.

We have had a most constructive debate. I wish it had been longer. My hon. Friend the Member for Croydon, North-West (Mr. Robert Taylor) in an interesting speech drew attention to some of the failings of the training boards. No one this afternoon has attempted in any way to conceal that there had been failings. But on the other side it is important to remember, as has been forcefully said this afternoon, that the boards have major achievements to their credit, too. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State paid tribute to the work they have done. If my hon. Friend the Member for Croydon, North-West will forgive me for saying so, it is sometimes not too difficult to make an organisation look rather foolish, as he did in an amusing speech, by drawing attention to its defects. But the defects should not blind us to the useful work that goes on but does not catch the limelight.

My hon. Friend the Member for Oxford (Mr. Woodhouse) drew attention to the danger of over-centralisation. He was worried that the National Training Agency might dictate to the training boards and take away their responsibility for training in their industries. I fully accept that this would be most undesirable. The National Training Agency certainly must not stand, and it is not intended that it should stand, between the boards and their industries. The boards would continue to be responsible for considering their industries' training needs and devising programmes to meet them, as at present envisaged. The agency's job would be to co-ordinate their work and supplement it in those industries not covered by the boards.

My right hon. Friend the Member for Stafford and Stone (Mr. Hugh Fraser) mentioned the importance of group train- ing schemes. We fully accept that. We must ensure that the new scheme is capable of encouraging group training schemes. The hon. Member for Lewisham, North(Mr. Moyle) made an important point about the vital need for sandwich courses. As we have indicated on a good many occasions, this matter is being considered very carefully, and the consultative document recognises the importance of these courses.

The hon. Member for Poplar (Mr. Mikardo), in a most constructive speech, said that he wished that we were not debating a Motion but were merely debating the subject philosophically in a vacuum, and I find myself in a good deal of agreement with him. He said that he believed that the Secretary of State would approach the matter with an open mind. This was also stated by my hon. Friend the Member for Oxford when he said that he detected an open-minded attitude to the consultative document in my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State's approach this afternoon. Both the hon. Member for Poplar and my hon. Friend were absolutely right. If it were not a consultative document it would have been fraudulent of us to have referred to it as such.

I do not wish to be controversial, but I must say to the Opposition that I fail to see the need for the Motion. But they have put it down, and, therefore, there must be an Amendment. The need for the Motion at the very least seems to be obscure.

Mr. Prentice

The Government's proposals in "Training for the Future" are on record and we must take them as their current policy. If they are to change their policy we shall welcome it, but it is their policy and it is on the record and it is against that policy that we shall vote tonight.

Mr. Chichester-Clark

If the right hon. Gentleman looks at the document he will see that it is sub-titled "a plan for discussion". That makes its purpose very clear. We have had a broad measure of agreement on one point. No one has in any way questioned the need for an improvement in the quantity and quality of training in this country and the proposals in "Training for the Future" for training opportunity schemes have been very largely welcomed. The debate most certainly has not been a waste of time, but to cause the House to divide most certainly would be. No Government can accept a Motion of this kind, and I must, therefore, urge my hon. Friends to vote

wholeheartedly for the Amendment.

Question put. That the Amendment be made: —

The House divided: Ayes 267. Noes 235.

Division No. 197.] AYES [6.58 p.m.
Adley, Robert Fisher, Nigel (Surbiton) Longden, Sir Gilbert
Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash) Fletcher-Cooke, Charles Loveridge, John
Aliason, James (Hemel Hempstead) Fookes, Miss Janet Luce, R. N.
Amery, Rt. Hn. Julian Fortescue, Tim McAdden, Sir Stephen
Archer, Jeffrey (Louth) Fowler, Norman MacArthur, Ian
Astor, John Fox, Marcus McCrindle, R. A
Atkins, Humphrey Fraser,Rt.Hn.Hugh(St'fford & Stone) McLaren, Martin
Awdry, Daniel Fry, Peter Maclean, Sir Fitzroy
Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone) Galbraith, Hn. T. G McMaster, Stanley
Balniel, Rt. Hn. Lord Gardner, Edward Macmillan,Rt.Hn.Maurice (Farnham)
Barber, Rt. Hn. Anthony Gibson-Watt, David McNair-Wilson, Michael
Batsford, Brian Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk. C.) McNair-Wilson, Patrick (New Forest)
Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.) Maddan, Martin
Bell, Ronald Glyn, Dr. Alan Madel, David
Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport) Goodhart, Philip Marples, Rt. Hn. Ernest
Benyon, W. Goodhew, Victor Marten, Neil
Berry, Hn. Anthony Gorst, John Mather, Carol
Biffen, John Gower, Raymond Maude, Angus
Biggs-Davison, John Grant, Anthony (Harrow, C.) Maudling, Rt. Hn. Reginald
Blaker, Peter Gray, Hamish Mawby, Ray
Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S.W.) Green, Alan Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.
Body, Richard Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds) Meyer, Sir Anthony
Boscawen, Hn. Robert Grylls, Michael Mills, Peter (Torrington)
Bossom, Sir Clive Gurden, Harold Miscampbell, Norman
Bowden, Andrew Hall, Miss Joan (Keighley) Mitchell.Lt.-Col.C.(Aberdeenshire,W)
Braine, Sir Bernard Hall-Davis, A. G. F. Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)
Bray, Ronald Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury) Moate, Roger
Brinton, Sir Tatton Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye) Molyneaux, James
Brocklebank-Fowler, Christopher Haselhurst, Alan Money, Ernie
Brown, Sir Edward (Bath) Havers, Michael Monks, Mrs. Connie
Bryan, Sir Paul Hawkins, Paul Monro, Hector
Buchanan-Smith, Alick(Angus,N & M) Hayhoe, Barney Montgomery, Fergus
Buck, Antony Hicks, Robert More, Jasper
Bullus, Sir Eric Higgins, Terence L. Morgan-Giles, Rear-Adm.
Burden, F. A. Hiley, Joseph Morrison, Charles
Campbell, Rt.Hn.G.(Moray & Nairn) Hill, James (Southampton, Test) Mudd, David
Carlisle, Mark Holland, Philip Murton, Oscar
Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert Holt, Miss Mary Nabarro, Sir Gerald
Cary, Sir Robert Hordern, Peter Neave, Airey
Channon, Paul Hornby, Richard Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael
Chapman, Sydney Hornsby-Smith,Rt.Hn.Dame Patricia Nott, John
Chataway, Rt. Hn. Christopher Howe, Hn. Sir Geoffrey (Reigate) Onslow, Cranley
Chichester-Clark, R. Howell, David (Guildford) Owen, Idris (Stockport, N.)
Clark, William (Surrey, E.) Howell, Ralph (Norfolk, N.) Page, Rt. Hn. Graham (Crosby)
Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Hunt, John Page, John (Harrow, W.)
Cockeram, Eric Hutchison, Michael Clark Parkinson, Cecil
Cooke, Robert Iremonger, T. L. Percival, Ian
Coombs, Derek Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Peyton, Rt. Hn. John
Cooper, A. E. James, David Pink, R. Bonner
Cordle, John Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford) Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch
Corfield, Rt. Hn. Sir Frederick Jennings, J. C. (Burton) Price, David (Eastleigh)
Cormack, Patrick Jessel, Toby Prior, Rt. Hn. J. M. L.
Costain, A. P. Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead) Proudfoot, Wilfred
Crouch, David Jopling, Michael Pym, Rt. Hn. Francis
Crowder, F. P. Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir Keith Quennell, Miss J. M.
d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry Kellett-Bowman, Mrs. Elaine Raison, Timothy
Dean, Paul Kershaw, Anthony Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James
Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F. Kilfedder, James Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter
Dixon, Piers Kimball, Marcus Redmond, Robert
Douglas-Home, Rt. Hn. Sir Alec King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.) Reed, Laurance (Bolton, E.)
Drayson, G. B. King, Tom (Bridgwater) Rees, Peter (Dover)
du Cann, Rt. Hn. Edward Kinsey, J. R Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David
Dykes, Hugh Kirk, Peter Ridley, Hn. Nicholas
Eden, Sir John Kitson, Timothy Rippon, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey
Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke) Knight, Mrs. Jill Roberts, Michael (Cardiff, N.)
Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) Knox, David Roberts, Wyn (Conway)
Elliott, R. W. (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne. N.) Lambton, Lord Rost, Peter
Emery, Peter Lamont, Norman Russell, Sir Ronald
Eyre, Reginald Lane, David St. John-Stevas, Norman
Farr, John Langford-Holt, Sir John Scott, Nicholas
Fenner, Mrs. Peggy Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry Sharples, Richard
Fidler, Michael Le Merchant, Spencer Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)
Finsberg, Geoffrey (Hampstead) Lloyd,Rt.Hn.Geoffrey (Sut'nC'dfield) Shelton, William (Clapham)
Simeons, Charles
Sinclair, Sir George Taylor, Frank (Moss Side) Wall, Patrick
Skeet, T. H. H. Taylor, Robert (Croydon, N.W.) Ward, Dame Irene
Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington) Tebbit, Norman Warren, Kenneth
Soref, Harold Temple, John M. Wells, John (Maidstone)
Speed, Keith Thatcher, Rt. Hn. Mrs. Margaret Wiggin, Jerry
Spence, John Thomas, John Stradling (Monmouth) Wilkinson, John
Sproat, Iain Thomas, Rt. Hn. Peter (Hendon, S.) Winterton, Nicholls
Stainton, Keith Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon. S.) Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Stanbrook, Ivor Tilney, John Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard
Stewart-Smith, Geoffrey (Belper) Trafford, Dr. Anthony Woodnutt, Mark
Stodart, Anthony (Edinburgh, W.) Trew, Peter Worsley, Marcus
Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M. Tugendhat, Christopher Wylie, Rt. Hn. N. R.
Stokes, John Turton, Rt. Hn. Sir Robin Younger, Hn. George
Stuttaford, Dr. Tom van Straubenzee, W. R.
Sutcliffe, John Vaughan, Dr. Gerard TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Tapsell, Peter Waddington, David Mr. Bernard Weatherill and
Taylor,Edward M.(G'gow,Cathcart) Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek Mr. Walter Clegg.
Abse, Leo Ewing, Harry Lomas, Kenneth
Albu, Austen Fitch, Alan (Wigan) Loughlin, Charles
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston) Lyon, Alexander W. (York)
Archer, Peter (Rowley Regis) Fletcher, Ted (Darlington) Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson
Armstrong, Ernest Foley, Maurice McBride, Neil
Ashley, Jack Foot, Michael McCartney, Hugh
Ashton, Joe Ford, Ben McElhone, Frank
Atkinson, Norman Forrester, John McGuire, Michael
Bagier, Gordon A. T. Fraser, John (Norwood) Macintosh, John P.
Barnes, Michael Freeson, Reginald Maclennan, Robert
Barnett, Guy (Greenwich) Garrett, W. E. McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.)
Barnett, Joel (Heywood and Royton) Gourlay, Harry Mahon, Simon (Bootle)
Baxter, William Grant, George (Morpeth) Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)
Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood Grant, John D. (Islington, E.) Marsden, F.
Bennett, James (Glasgow, Bridgeton) Griffiths, Will (Exchange) Marshall, Dr. Edmund
Bidwell, Sydney Grimond, Rt. Hn. J. Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy
Bishop, E. S. Hamilton, William (Fife, W.) Mayhew, Christopher
Blenkinsop, Arthur Hamling, William Meacher, Michael
Boardman, H. (Leigh) Hannan, William (G'gow, Maryhill) Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert
Booth, Albert Hardy, Peter Mikardo, Ian
Bottomley, Rt. Hn. Arthur Harper, Joseph Millan, Bruce
Bradley, Tom Harrison, Walter (Wakefield) Miller, Dr. M. S.
Broughton, Sir Alfred Hart, Rt. Hn. Judith Milne, Edward
Brown, Bob (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne,W.) Hattersley, Roy Mitchell, R. C. (S'hampton, Itchen)
Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan) Healey, Rt. Hn. Denis Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire)
Brown, Ronald (Shoreditch & F'bury) Heffer, Eric S. Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)
Buchan, Norman Hilton, W. S. Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)
Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn) Horam, John Morris, Rt. Hn. John (Aberavon)
Callaghan, Rt. Hn. James Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas Moyle, Roland
Campbell, (Dunbartonshire, W.) Howell, Denis (Small Heath) Murray, Ronald King
Carter, Ray (Birmingh'm, Northfield) Huckfield, Leslie Oakes, Gordon
Carter-Jones, Lewis (Eccles) Hughes, Mark (Durham) Ogden, Eric
Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen. N.) O'Halloran, Michael
Clark, David (Colne Valley) Hughes, Roy (Newport) O'Malley, Brian
Cocks, Michael (Bristol. S.) Hunter, Adam Orbach, Maurice
Cohen, Stanley Irvine,Rt.Hn.SirArthur(Edge Hill) Oswald, Thomas
Concannon, J. D. Janner, Greville Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, Sutton)
Conlan, Bernard Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas Padley, Walter
Corbet, Mrs. Freda Jeger, Mrs. Lena Paget, R. T.
Cox, Thomas (Wandsworth, C.) Jenkins, Hugh (Putney) Palmer, Arthur
Crawshaw, Richard Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford) Pannell, Rt. Hn. Charles
Cronin, John John, Brynmor Pardoe, John
Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.) Parker, John (Dagenham)
Cunningham, G. (Islington, S.W.) Johnson, Walter (Derby, S.) Pavitt, Laurie
Cunningham, Dr. J. A. (Whitehaven) Jones, Dan (Burnley) Pentland, Norman
Dalyell, Tam Jones,Rt.Hn.Sir Elwyn(W.Ham.S) Perry, Ernest G.
Davies, Denzil (Llanelly) Jones, Gwynoro (Carmarthen) Prentice, Rt. Hn. Reg.
Davis, Clinton (Hackney, C.) Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, W.) Prescott, John
Davis, Terry (Bromsgrove) Kaufman, Gerald Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)
Deakins, Eric Kelley, Richard Price, William (Rugby)
de Freitas, Rt. Hn. Sir Geoffrey Kinnock, Neil Probert, Arthur
Dell, Rt. Hn. Edmund Lambie, David Rankin, John
Dempsey, James Lamborn, Harry Reed, D. (Sedgefield)
Doig, Peter Lamond, James Rees, Merlyn (Leeds, S.)
Dormand, J. D. Latham, Arthur Rhodes, Geoffrey
Douglas-Mann, Bruce Lawson, George Richard, Ivor
Driberg, Tom Leadbitter, Ted Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Dunn, James A. Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick Roberts, Rt.Hn.Goronwy (Caernarvon)
Eadie, Alex Leonard, Dick Roderick, Caerwyn E.(Br'c'n &R'dnor)
Edwards, Robert (Bilston) Lestor, Miss Joan Roper, John
Ellis, Tom Lever, Rt. Hn. Harold Rose, Paul B.
English, Michael Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham, N.) Ross, Rt. Hn. William (Kilmarnock)
Evans, Fred Lipton, Marcus Rowlands, Ted
Sandelson, Neville
Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-under-Lyne) Taverne, Dick Wells, William (Walsall, N.)
Short, Rt.Hn.Edward (N'c'tle-u-Tyne) Thomas,Rt.Hn.George (Cardiff,W.) White, James (Glasgow, Pollok)
Short, Mrs. Renée (W'hampton.N.E.) Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery) Whitehead, Phillip
Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford) Thomson, Rt. Hn. G. (Dundee, E.) Whitlock, William
Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich) Tinn, James Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick
Sillars, James Torney, Tom Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)
Silverman, Julius Tuck, Raphael Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)
Skinner, Dennis Urwin, T. W. Williams, W. T. (Warrington)
Smith, John (Lanarkshire. N.) Varley, Eric G. Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)
Spearing, Nigel Wainwright, Edwin Wilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)
Spriggs, Leslie Walden, Brian (B'ham, All Saints) Wilson, William (Coventry. S.)
Steel, David Walker, Harold (Doncaster) Woof, Robert
Stoddart, David (Swindon) Wallace, George
Strang, Gavin Watkins, David TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R. Weitzman, David Mr. James Hamilton and
Summerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley Wellbeloved, James Mr. Tom Pendry
Swain, Thomas

Question accordingly agreed to.

Main Question, as amended, put: —

The House divided: Ayes 271, Noes 234.

Division No. 198.] AYES [7.10 p.m.
Adley, Robert Drayson, G. B. Hutchison, Michael Clark
Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash) du Cann, Rt. Hn. Edward Iremonger, T. L.
Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead) Dykes, Hugh Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)
Amery, Rt. Hn. Julian Eden, Sir John James, David
Archer, Jeffrey (Louth) Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke) Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford)
Astor, John Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) Jennings, J. C. (Burton)
Atkins, Humphrey Elliott, R. W. (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, N.) Jessel, Toby
Awdry, Daniel Emery, Peter Johnson Smith, G (E. Grinstead)
Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone) Eyre, Reginald Jopling Michael
Balniel, Rt. Hn. Lord Farr, John Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir Keith
Barber, Rt. Hn. Anthony Fenner, Mrs. Peggy Kellett-Bowman. Mrs. Elaine
Batstord, Brian Fidler, Michael Kershaw, Anthony
Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton Finsberg, Geoffrey (Hampstead) Kilfedder, James
Bell, Ronald Fisher, Nigel (Surbiton) Kimball, Marcus
Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport) Fletcher-Cooke, Charles King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.)
Benyon, W. Fookes, Miss Janet King, Tom (Bridgwater)
Berry, Hn. Anthony Fortescue, Tim Kinsey, J. R.
Biffen, John Fowler, Norman Kirk, Peter
Biggs-Davison, John Fox, Marcus Kitson, Timothy
Blaker, Peter Fraser,Rt.Hn.Hugh(St'fford & Stone) Knight, Mrs. Jill
Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S.W.) Fry, Peter Knox, David
Body, Richard Galbraith, Hn. T. G. Lambton, Lord
Boscawen, Hn. Robert Gardner, Edward Lamont, Norman
Bossom, Sir Clive Gibson-Watt, David Lane, David
Bowden, Andrew Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.) Langford-Holt, Sir John
Braine, Sir Bernard Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.) Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry
Bray, Ronald Glyn, Dr. Alan Le Marchant, Spencer
Brinton, Sir Tatton Goodhart, Philip Lloyd,Rt.Hn.Geoffrey(Sut'nC'dfield)
Brocklebank-Fowler, Christopher Goodhew, Victor Longden, Sir Gilbert
Brown, Sir Edward (Bath) Gorst, John Loveridge, John
Bryan, Sir Paul Gower, Raymond Luce, R. N.
Buchanan-Smith, Alick (Angus,N & M) Grant, Anthony (Harrow, C.) McAdden, Sir Stephen
Buck, Antony Gray, Hamish MacArthur, Ian
Bullus, Sir Eric Green, Alan McCrindle, R. A.
Burden, F. A. Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds) McLaren, Martin
Campbell, Rt.Hn.G.(Moray & Nairn) Grylis, Michael Maclean, Sir Fitzroy
Carlisle, Mark Gurden, Harold McMaster, Stanley
Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert Hall, Miss Joan (Keighley) Macmillan,Rt.Hn.Maurice (Farnham)
Cary, Sir Robert Hall-Davis, A. G. F. McNair-Wilson, Michael
Channon, Paul Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury) McNair-Wilson. Patrick (NewForest)
Chapman, Sydney Hannam, John (Exeter) Maddan, Martin
Chataway, Rt. Hn. Christopher Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye) Madel, David
Chichester-Clark, R. Haselhurst, Alan Maginnis, John E.
Clark, William (Surrey, E.) Havers, Michael Marples, Rt. Hn. Ernest
Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Hawkins, Paul Marten, Neil
Cockeram, Eric Hayhoe, Barney Mather, Carol
Cooke, Robert Hicks, Robert Maude, Angus
Coombs, Derek Higgins, Terence L. Maudling, Rt. Hn. Reginald
Cooper, A. E. Hiley, Joseph Mawby, Ray
Cordle, John Hill, James (Southampton, Test) Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J
Corfield, Rt. Hn. Sir Frederick Holland, Philip Meyer, Sir Anthony
Cormack, Patrick Holt, Miss Mary Mills, Peter (Torrington)
Costain, A. P. Hordern, Peter Miscampbell, Norman
Crouch, David Hornby, Richard Mitchell, Lt.-Col.C.(Aberdeenshire,W)
Crowder, F. P. Hornsby-Smith,Rt.Hn.Dame Patricia Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)
d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry Howe, Hn. Sir Geoffrey (Reigate) Moate, Roger
Dean, Paul Howell, David (Guildford) Molyneaux, James
Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F. Howell, Ralph (Norfolk, N.) Money, Ernie
Dixon, Piers Hunt, John Monks, Mrs. Connle
Douglas Home, Rt. Hn. Sir Alec Monro, Hector
Montgomery, Fergus Rippon, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey Thatcher, Rt. Hn. Mrs. Margaret
More, Jasper Roberts, Michael (Cardiff, N.) Thomas, John Stradling (Monmouth)
Morgan-Giles, Rear-Adm. Roberts, Wyn (Conway) Thomas, Rt. Hn. Peter (Hendon, S.)
Morrison, Charles Rost, Peter Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.)
Mudd, David Russell, Sir Ronald Tilney, John
Murton, Oscar St. John-Stevas, Norman Trafford, Dr. Anthony
Nabarro, Sir Gerald Scott, Nicholas Trew, Peter
Neave, Airey Sharples, Richard Tugendhat, Christopher
Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby) Turton, Rt. Hn. Sir Robin
Nott, John Shelton, William (Clapham) van Straubenzee, W. R.
Onslow, Cranley Simeons, Charles Vaughan, Dr. Gerard
Owen, Idris (Stockport. N.) Sinclair, Sir George Waddington, David
Page, Rt. Hn. Graham (Crosby) Skeet, T. H. H. Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek
Page, John (Harrow, W.) Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington Wall, Patrick
Parkinson, Cecil Soref, Harold Ward, Dame Irene
Percival, Ian Speed, Keith Warren, Kenneth
Peyton, Rt. Hn. John Spence, John Wells, John (Maidstsone)
Pink, R. Bonner Sproat, Iain Wiggin, Jerry
Pounder, Rafton Stainton, Keith Wilkinson, John
Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch Stanbrook, Ivor Winterton, Nicholas
Price, David (Eastleigh) Stewart-Smith, Geoffrey (Belper) Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Prior, Rt. Hn. J. M. L. Stodart, Anthony (Edinburgh, W.) Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard
Proudfoot, Wilfred Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M. Woodhouse, Hn. Christopher
Pym, Rt. Hn. Francis Stokes, John Woodnutt, Mark
Quennell, Miss J. M. Stuttaford, Dr. Tom Worsley, Marcus
Raison, Timothy Sutcliffe, John Wylie, Rt. Hn. N. R.
Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James Tapsell, Peter Younger, Hn. George
Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter Taylor,Edward M. (G'gow,Cathcart)
Redmond, Robert Taylor, Frank (Moss Side) TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Reed, Laurance (Bolton, E.) Taylor, Robert (Croydon, N.W.) Mr. Bernard Weatherill and
Rees, Peter (Dover) Tebbit, Norman Mr. Walter Clegg.
Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David Temple, John M
Ridley, Hn. Nicholas
Abse, Leo de Frietas, Rt. Hn. Sir Geoffrey Janner, Greville
Albu, Austen Dell, Rt. Hn. Edmund Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Dempsey, James Jeger, Mrs. Lena
Archer, Peter (Rowley Regis) Doig, Peter Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)
Ashley, Jack Dormand, J. D. Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford)
Ashton, Joe Douglas-Mann, Bruce John, Brynmor
Atkinson, Norman Driberg, Tom Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)
Bagier, Gordon A. T. Dunn, James A. Johnson, Walter (Derby, S.)
Barnes, Michael Eadie, Alex Jones, Dan (Burnley)
Barnett, Guy (Greenwich) Edwards, Robert (Bilston) Jones,Rt.Hn.Sir Elwyn(W.Ham,S.)
Barnett, Joel (Heywood and Royton) Ellis, Tom Jones, Gwynoro (Carmarthen)
Baxter, William English, Michael Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, W.)
Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood Evans, Fred Kaufman, Gerald
Bennett, James (Glasgow, Bridgeton) Ewing, Harry Kelley, Richard
Bidwell, Sydney Fitch, Alan (Wigan) Kinnock, Neil
Bishop, E. S. Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston) Lambie, David
Blenkinsop, Arthur Fletcher, Ted (Darlington) Lamborn, Harry
Boardman, H. (Leigh) Foley, Maurice Lomond, James
Booth, Albert Foot, Michael Latham, Arthur
Bottomley, Rt. Hn. Arthur Ford, Ben Lawson, George
Bradley, Tom Forrester, John Leadbitter, Ted
Broughton, Sir Alfred Fraser, John (Norwood) Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick
Brown, Bob (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne,W.) Freeson, Reginald Leonard, Dick
Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan) Garrett, W. E. Lestor, Miss Joan
Brown, Ronald (Shoreditch & F'bury) Gourlay, Harry Lever, Rt. Hn. Harold
Buchan, Norman Grant, George (Morpeth) Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham, N.)
Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn) Grant, John D. (Islington, E.) Lipton, Marcus
Callaghan, Rt. Hn. James Griffiths, Will (Exchange) Lomas, Kenneth
Campbell, I. (Dunbartonshire, W.) Hamilton, William (Fife, W.) Loughlin, Charles
Carter, Ray (Birmingh'm, Northfield) Hamling, William Lyon, Alexander W. (York)
Carter-Jones, Lewis (Eccles) Hannan, William (G'gow, Maryhill) Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson
Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara Hardy, Peter McBride, Neil
Clark, David (Colne Valley) Harper, Joseph McCartney, Hugh
Cocks, Michael (Bristol, S.) Harrison, Walter (Wakefield) McElhone, Frank
Cohen, Stanley Hart, Rt. Hn. Judith McGuire, Michael
Concannon, J. D. Hattersley, Roy Mackintosh, John P.
Conlan, Bernard Healey, Rt. Hn. Denis Maclennan, Robert
Corbet, Mrs. Freda Heffer, Eric S. McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.)…
Cox, Thomas (Wandsworth, C.) Hilton, W. S. Mahon, Simon (Bootle)
Crawshaw, Richard Horam, John Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)
Cronin, John Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas Marsden, F.
Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony Howell, Denis (Small Heath) Marshall, Dr. Edmund
Cunningham, G. (Islington, S.W.) Huckfield, Leslie Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy
Cunningham, Dr. J. A. (Whitehaven) Hughes, Mark (Durham) Mayhew, Christopher
Dalyell, Tam Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen, N.) Meacher, Michael
Davies, Denzil (Llanelly) Hughes, Roy (Newport) Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert
Davis, Clinton (Hackney, C.) Hunter, Adam Mikardo, Ian
Davis, Terry (Bromsgrove) Irvine,Rt.Hn.SirArthur(Edge Hill) Millan, Bruce
Deakins, Eric Miller, Dr. M. S.
Milne, Edward Reed, D. (Sedgefield) Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)
Mitchell, B. C. (S'hampton, Itchen) Rees, Merlyn (Leeds, S.) Thomson, Rt. Hn. G. (Dundee. E.)
Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire) Rhodes, Geoffrey Tinn, James
Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe) Richard, Ivor Torney, Tom
Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw) Roberts, Albert (Normanton) Tuck, Raphael
Morris, Rt. Hn. John (Aberavon) Roberts,Rt.Hn.Goronwy (Caernarvon) Urwin, T. W.
Moyle, Roland Roderick, Caerwyn E.(Br'n & R'dnor) Varley, Eric G.
Murray, Ronald King Roper, John Wainwright, Edwin
Oakes, Gordon Rose, Paul B. Walden, Brian (B'm'ham, All Saints)
Ogden, Eric Ross, Rt. Hn. William (Kilmarnock) Walker, Harold (Doncaster)
O'Halloran, Michael Rowlands, Edward Wallace, George
O'Malley, Brian Sandelson, Neville Watkins, David
Orbach, Maurice Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-under-Lyne) Weitzman, David
Oswald, Thomas Short,Rt.Hn.Edward(N'c'tle-u-Tyne) Wellbeloved, James
Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, Sutton) Short, Mrs. Renée (Whampton.N.E.) Wells, William (Walsall, N.)
Padley, Walter Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford) White, James (Glasgow, Pollok)
Paget, R. T. Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich) Whitehead, Phillip
Palmer, Arthur Sillars, James Whitlock, William
Pannell, Rt. Hn. Charles Silverman, Julius Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick
Pardoe, John Skinner, Dennis Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)
Parker, John (Dagenham) Smith, John (Lanarkshire, N.) Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)
Pavitt, Laurie Spearing, Nigel Williams, W. T. (Warrington)
Pendry, Tom Spriggs, Leslie Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)
Pentland, Norman Steel, David Wilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)
Perry, Ernest G. Stoddart, David (Swindon) Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)
Prentice, Rt. Hn. Reg. Strang, Gavin Woof, Robert
Prescott, John Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R.
Price, J. T. (Westhoughton) Summerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Price, William (Rugby) Swain, Thomas Mr. Ernest Armstrong an
Probert, Arthur Taverne, Dick Mr. James Hamilton
Rankin, John Thomas,Rt.Hn.George (Cardiff,W.)

Question accordingly agreed to.

Resolved, That this House, believing that continued improvement in the quality and quantity of industrial training is vital to the national economy, welcomes Her Majesty's Government's recent actions, outlined in 'Training for the Future', to expand and improve Government training facilities, and further believes that the changes in the system of training boards proposed in the consultative document will not only provide the basis for overcoming the present difficulties but will also provide the increased opportunities for training so necessary for our national prosperity.

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