HC Deb 14 June 1977 vol 933 cc211-2
7. Mr. Hodgson

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many people have taken advantage of the employment transfer scheme to find employment.

Mr. John Grant

I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that from the time the employment transfer scheme was introduced on 5th April 1972, up to 31st March 1977, 80,687 people were assisted under the scheme to take up employment. This figure does not include transfers which took place during the quarter ended 31st December 1976, for which statistics are not available.

Mr. Hodgson

What proportion of those originally accepted under the employment transfer scheme were unable to take up their new employment because they could not make a council house transfer from one area to another? What will the Minister do to remedy that defect in the scheme?

Mr. Grant

I cannot give a precise statistical answer to that question. The Government are actively considering the question of mobility.

Mr. Wigley

Can the Minister confirm that the Government have not changed their policy of not moving people from areas of high unemployment to other areas to look for work as a permanent solution? Is he aware that this idea has been given credence particularly with the abolition of regional employment premium and yesterday caused considerable consternation at the meeting of Welsh district councils?

Mr. Grant

There has been no change in policy. The employment transfer scheme is being considered by the Employment Services Agency and the Manpower Services Commission.

Mr. Corbett

Will my hon. Friend be slightly less complacent about the difficulties of those who take advantage of the sensible transfer scheme and then have to leave their families in areas of high unemployment while they try to find housing? May we have an assurance that he or the Secretary of State will initiate discussions with the Secretary of State for the Environment, the development corporations and the Commission for the New Towns to encourage them to give priority in areas of long-term high unemployment to people who have been unemployed for perhaps 14 months or two years when they obtain local jobs?

Mr. Grant

I understand that a degree of preference is already given to people in new towns.

Mr. Corbett

No, it is not.

Mr. Grant

I shall draw my hon. Friend's remarks to the attention of both my right hon. Friends.

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