§ 14. Mrs. Renée Short
asked the Secretary of State for Industry how many school leavers in the Wolverhampton area have been accepted for industrial apprenticeships; and what new industries will be established there during 1975–76.
§ Mr. Gregor Mackenzie
I regret that comprehensive information about new industries coming to the area is not available. Industrial apprenticeships are a 1045 matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Employment.
§ Mrs. Short
Is my hon. Friend aware that there is great concern once again in Wolverhampton, where 2,000 school leavers will be leaving school any day now? It looks as though we are going through the same dismal cycle which we experienced when the Conservative Party was in power, when large numbers of young people could obtain neither apprenticeships nor jobs. Is he further aware that, now that the referendum is out of the way, Joseph Lucas has declared 3,000 redundancies in the West Midlands? This will have a serious effect on employment prospects in the West Midlands. Is it not essential that new publicly-owned industries should be brought into the West Midlands to provide jobs to replace those in private industries, which now seem to be failing the nation?
§ Mr. Mackenzie
I think that my hon. Friend makes the point for me. We appreciate that the policies of the previous Conservative Government did not satisfy normal aspirations. We are concerned to ensure diversification and opportunities for young people in this area of the Midlands. We understand that the Midlands are going through the same difficulties as are being experienced by other areas. That is why we have brought out the system of planning agreements and the National Enterprise Board, which we genuinely believe will be of considerable value in stimulating new industries in these areas.