HC Deb 17 November 1981 vol 13 cc152-3
10. Mr. Alton

asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether he will take steps to ensure that the youth opportunities programme provides an increased amount of training for participants and an appropriate grounding for apprenticeships.

Mr. Tebbit

The Prime Minister announced on 27 July that the Government were considering an improved training scheme for young people and I expect to make an announcement by the turn of the year.

Mr. Alton

I thank the Secretary of State for that reply. As many of the training boards are to be wound up, will he be prepared to ensure that some resources are redeployed from job creation into training schemes? Is he aware that in the North-West of England 170,000 young people are unemployed and that 41 per cent. of them are under the age of 25 years? Is he not concerned that many of these young people are being preyed upon by those in extreme Left-wing groups, especially by those involved in the so-called youth training centres in many cities?

Mr. Tebbit

Yes. The hon. Gentleman draws attention to a serious problem. I assure him that I want to get ahead with developing YOP into a much more comprehensive training programme as soon as possible. I hope to make a further statement on the new training initiative and on that scheme before too long.

Mr. Kenneth Carlisle

Does my right hon. Friend accept that one of the flaws in YOP has been the lack of contact that the schemes have with reality in the world of industry? Will he confirm that one of the prime aims of the new training initiative is to bring the schemes much more into contact with jobs in the real world? Does he accept that in so doing the schemes will need to have a large vocational content?

Mr. Tebbit

Yes. I accept my hon. Friend's contention. The schemes will have to provide for different types of training in different areas to meet the demands of the local labour market. It is important that we involve all those who are concerned in industry in ensuring that that is achieved.

Mr. Barry Jones

Is the right hon. Gentleman proposing a training tax on employers because he cannot fund the new training initiative?

Mr. Tebbit

No. I am not making any such proposal. I shall not make a. positive proposal in that direction. I have suggested in various speeches that it would not be a bad idea if we considered all the options in the longer term, including a remissible training tax of the sort that is levied in France.

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