HC Deb 18 May 1976 vol 911 cc1202-3
13. Mr. Steen

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will now introduce pay parity for work carried out by school leavers under the Job Creation Programme and the Community Industry Scheme.

Mr. Harold Walker

The schemes have different objectives and are designed for different groups of people, and I have no plans to introduce pay parity.

Mr. Steen

Is the Minister aware that school leavers with the Job Creation Programme despise the Government for paying them double the amount that they were earning previously when working with other employers, and one-third more than their friends working with the Community Industry Scheme? Does the Minister now think that the Government need to have their heads examined for paying unnecessarily inflated wages?

Mr. Walker

The hon. Gentleman has from time to time made the suggestion that those who are working under the Job Creation Programme should receive less than the appropriate rate for the job. I can only say that we disagree and think it quite right that the rate for the job should be a proper one.

Mr. Edwin Wainwright

Does my hon. Friend agree that many kinds of useful work have been done by youths working in the Community Industry Scheme? Has there been a shortage of jobs at any time that can be provided by local authorities? If that is not so, can we not increase further the amount of money allocated to the Community Industry Scheme to ensure that more jobs are provided for our young people?

Mr. Walker

The Government have recently made a significant extra amount available. I am not quite sure whether the number of projects is matching up to the needs of the scheme. I hope that local authorities will continue to seek to provide appropriate projects to enable the full take-up of the amount of money in the places available.

Mr. Brittan

Does the Minister not agree that many of those participating in the Job Creation Programme at the moment would be prepared to take the jobs concerned at a lower rate, and that if this were done it would be possible to make the benefit of the scheme available to many more people than are having it at the moment?

Mr. Walker

I have no evidence of what the hon. Gentleman suggests—that people in the Job Creation Programme would be prepared to work for less. If the hon. Gentleman assures me that this is so, I will take his word for it, but he must also have regard to the industrial relations difficulties that might arise as between those who are permanently and regularly employed in the occupations that the Job Creation Programme might cover.

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