§ 9. Mr. Neil Thorne
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is the average delay in reimbursing those firms participating in the work experience programme for their outlay of the standard remuneration.
§ Mr. Peter Morrison
In May 1981 the average delay in reimbursing firms participating in the youth opportunities programme was between three and four weeks. Steps are being taken to speed reimbursement of sponsoring firms.
§ Mr. Thorne
Because the period in some parts of the country can be as long as three months, is my hon. Friend prepared to consider some form of bankers order for the firms participating in such a scheme so that payments are not held up by a shortage of civil servants?
§ Mr. Morrison
As my hon. Friend will be aware, there has been a significant increase in the number of places in the youth opportunities programme. Last year the planned number was 250,000 and the outturn was 360,000. This year, it is 450,000. More staff have now been allocated and I hope that the position to which he referred will not occur again.
§ Mr. Foster
While the Minister is considering quicker reimbursement for companies for the work experience aspect of the youth opportunities programme, will he bear in mind that local education authorities are in exactly the same position?