HC Deb 17 July 1979 vol 970 cc1279-80
5. Mr. James Hamilton

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he is satisfied with the work of the jobcentres; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Jim Lester

Yes, Sir. My right hon. Friend is generally satisfied with the performance of jobcentres and he supports the plans of the Manpower Services Commission to modernise the employmnt service.

Mr. Hamilton

I am grateful for that reply, but there have been rumours about the possible curtailment of jobcentres. Will the Minister take it from me that jobcentres perform useful functions by looking after the interests of small employers who do not have the resources of large employers to carry out that important work? Will he make sure that the Government stand firm on retaining the jobcentres?

Mr. Lester

I agree with the hon. Gentleman's remarks. I have visited many jobcentres during the last few weeks. They do an excellent job and they work with good motivation.

Mr. Madel

On the question of placing disabled people in work as a result of the research done by jobcentres, will my right hon. Friend say what has been done to assist with fares for disabled people travelling from rural areas to their jobs?

Mr. Lester

I cannot answer that question directly, but I shall look into it and let my hon. Friend have a reply.

Mr. Hawkins

I agree with my hon. Friend that jobcentres do useful jobs. Nevertheless, does he agree that in small rural areas and market towns to have a jobcentre and an employment centre within 200 or 300 yards of each other is a waste of manpower, resources, buildings and equipment?

Mr. Lester

That would seem to be the case. If my hon. Friend will give me the details I shall look into the matter.

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