HC Deb 10 November 1980 vol 992 cc15-7
10. Dr. Ifor Davies

asked the Secretary of State for Wales how many people have been employed in job creation schemes in Wales in each year since his Department assumed responsibility for the schemes.

Mr. Nicholas Edwards

Since July 1977 the total number has been almost 29,800 in job creation schemes. Including schemes for job preservation and work experience and training, the special employment measures package as a whole has benefited almost 200,000 in Wales since July 1977. I shall arrange for year by year figures to be provided in the Official Report.

Dr. Davies

Is the Minister aware that the need for a job creation scheme is greater today in every part of Wales than it has ever been? Will he give an assurance that he will exert all his energy and priorities towards the creation of that scheme, especially to solve the grave problem of unemployment amongst youngsters?

Mr. Edwards

Yes, Sir.

Sir R. Gower

When my right hon. Friend considers that problem, will he pay special attention to the analogous problem concerning the decline of apprenticeship opportunities in the Principality and the need for continued expansion of industrial retraining?

Mr. Edwards

In my answer to a previous question I confirmed the importance of the youth opportunities side of the programme. We envisage the development of that as central to our policies, and leading increasingly to job training for young people, especially those in the 16 to 17 years age group.

Mr. Wigley

Will the Secretary of State say whether the figures that he has announced include the temporary short-time working scheme? Is he aware of the great misgivings in Wales about the probable ending of the scheme on 31 March? Will he discuss that matter with his colleagues in other Departments because of the strong feeling among companies in Wales that there could be massive redundancies when the scheme ends?

Mr. Edwards

The figures include the temporary short-time working scheme. They include all the schemes in the general package of measures. I agree that all the schemes have made their contribution. We are weighing up their cost effectiveness. We wish to place our emphasis on the youth opportunities programme. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Employment expects to make a statement in the near future.

Mr. Best

Will my right hon. Friend continue to press for an expansion of the youth opportunities programme to help youngsters into something more akin to a vocational training programme, which should encompass not only those who have left school but those still at school so that there is the necessary transition from one to the other? Does he accept that by talking to employers he will discover that much needs to be done by way of Government initiatives to ensure that youngsters are given adequate general training so that they can have better prospects for future employment?

Mr. Edwards

I am sure that that is the direction in which we should be going. During an earlier answer I emphasised the importance that I attach to getting training right, particularly in the high technology area. When we visited companies in that sector in the United States, we got a clear message that the greatest incentive which we can give towards the

July to December 1977 1978 1979 1980 to September
Job Creation Schemes 1,186 7,493 14,511 6,592
Total Special Employment Measures Package 12,900 32,900 44,400 108,200