HC Deb 02 March 1972 vol 832 cc723-4
9. Mr. James Hamilton

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what are his plans for finding jobs for unem- ployed youths over 17 years of age in North Lanarkshire.

Mr. Dudley Smith

Careers officers and the staff in employment exchanges will continue to do all they can to help youths who are out of work to find fresh jobs. The extensive measures we have introduced to stimulate the national economy and encourage industrial expansion in the assisted areas should improve employment prospects for workers of all ages.

Mr. Hamilton

Is the Minister aware that in Lanarkshire 17.4 per cent. of the insurable population are signing on at employment exchanges and that youths of 17 are experiencing increasing difficulty in finding reasonable jobs, such as apprenticeships, because employers must pay the wage for the age and therefore look for boys of 16? Will the Minister now take the matter up with his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry and tell him to take his finger out and bring industry to that part of the country, because that is the only way to give any hope to those young people?

Mr. Smith

I am sure my right hon. Friend is well aware of that latter point. No one would disguise the fact that the position is anything but satisfactory in that part of the world. But the Government have made available £11½ million in Lanarkshire under their programme for public infrastructure works, which is a good indication of our intention to do all we can to help in those areas where there are great difficulties. But it will be a long-term job.