§ 12. Mr. Radice
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what steps he is taking to improve the take-up of the temporary employment subsidy in the Northern Region.
§ Mr. Booth
My officials take every opportunity of informing employers about the temporary employment subsidy, which, of course, is a voluntary scheme. In Northern Region all employers have been suitably advised whenever the threat of redundancies has come to notice, and since 8th March 1976 a letter about the scheme and an explanatory leaflet have been sent to every employer notifying an impending redundancy under the Employment Protection Act 1975.
§ Mr. Radice
Will my right hon. Friend explain why it is that, despite the very high level of unemployment in the Northern Region and disturbing signs of further weakness, the take-up of the temporary employment subsidy in that region is lower than in any other region? Is my right hon. Friend certain that his Department is doing all it can to make firms aware of the benefits of the subsidy?
§ Mr. Booth
As at Friday 7th May, applications covering 3,293 workers have been received in the Northern Region, and 21 applications, covering 2,240 workers, have been approved.
It is the case that the flow of applications in the Northern Region appears again to have fallen behind that of other comparable regions, but I find it very difficult to believe that the reason for this is an unawareness of the scheme. I am hopeful that with the increase in temporary employment subsidy to £20 a week and the reduction in the numbers of the qualifying redundancies to 10 or more, coupled with the requirement to notify my Department of these redundancies under the Employment Protection Act and to notify trade unions, the trade unions 1202 and employers will be considering together the use of this improved temporary employment subsidy scheme as a means of preventing further redundancies in the Northern Region.