HC Deb 26 March 1979 vol 965 cc4-5
3. Mr. Wigley

asked the Secretary of State for Wales how many jobs have been created by the special temporary employment programme and the youth opportunities programme in Wales during the past 12 months.

The Under-Secretary of State for Wales (Mr. Alec Jones)

The Manpower Services Commission estimates that there have been 1,100 and 13,000 placements on these programmes, respectively.

Mr. Wigley

Does the Minister accept that even 13,000 placements on the second of those programmes is substantially fewer than was achieved under the old job creation scheme in Wales? Is he aware that this month's employment statistics show a decline in the number of job opportunities in Wales?

Since unemployment has increased since 1974 from about 38,000 to almost 88,000, is it not time to look again at employment policies for Wales?

Mr. Alec Jones

The STEP programme replaces the old job creation scheme. The evidence is that as the job creation programmes run out, more and more STEP programmes come forward. Under the youth opportunities programme about 6,000 young people were in the client group last October, and by last week fewer than 350 were still awaiting the offer of a place. I should have thought that the hon. Member would welcome that.

Mr. Roderick

Is my hon. Friend aware that in Powys the youth opportunities programme has been a tremendous success because of the efforts made by the officers of the Department and the county council and by local employers who have worked hard and co-operated?

Mr. Alec Jones

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for that comment. I understand that the Easter guarantee has already been achieved in the counties of Gwynedd, Powys and Clywd.

Mr. Kinnock

Are we to assume from the question by the hon. Member for Caernarvon (Mr. Wigley) that he has made up his mind what he will do on Wednesday? The hon. Member's concern about the level of unemployment in Wales is justified and shared by my hon. Friends, but would it not be eccentric for him to support the party of even higher unemployment?

Mr. Alec Jones

The hon. Member for Caernarvon (Mr. Wigley) must answer to his electorate for how he intends to vote on Wednesday. I cannot believe that it is in the best interests of Wales for the Conservative Party to be in power.