HC Deb 20 July 1982 vol 28 cc270-310 7.24 pm
Mr. Harold Walker (Doncaster)

I beg to move, That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that the Industrial Training (Furniture and Timber Industry Board) (Revocation) Order 1982 (S.I., 1982 No. 733), the Industrial Training (Shipbuilding) (Revocation) Order 1982 (S.I., 1982 No. 774), the Industrial Training (Distributive Board) (Revocation) Order 1982 (S.I., 1982 No. 775), the Industrial Training (Food, Drink and Tobacco Board) (Revocation) Order 1982 (S.I., 1982, No. 776), the Industrial Training (Ceramics, Glass and Mineral Products Board) (Revocation) Order 1982 (S.I., 1982, No. 777), and the Industrial Training (Cotton and Allied Textiles Board) (Revocation) Order 1982 (S.I., 1982, No. 778), dated 2 June 1982, copies of which were laid before this House on 11 June, be annulled.

This is a cut-down rerun of the debate of 14 June on similar orders. Much of what we said then is relevant to today's discussion. The arguments that we advanced against the earlier orders apply with equal force to the matters before the House. Only the names have changed; the weakness of the Government's case is unaltered.

I shall not repeat all the arguments that we used on the previous occasion, because they are on the record, but I must repeat some of the important questions that the Opposition posed, because too many of those questions remain unanswered. Ministers have had five weeks in which to study the Official. Report and brief themselves. I hope, therefore, that we shall have more success with our questions and the answers to them.

My starting point must be to remind the House that this is the second stage of the Government's determined effort to march backwards to the time when Britain had no coherent and credible manpower policies and training was unorganised and inadequate and to a period of freedom for industry to train or to do otherwise. Unfortunately, too many chose to do otherwise.

I said that this was the second stage of the Government's retrogression in these matters, but perhaps I should have said that it is the third stage, because the Employment and Training Act 1981 was the first stage.

There are grounds for fearing that the step-by-step approach is not limited to the Government's reactionary, crude and doctrinaire attitude to industrial relations. In this, as in other matters, every step that they take is a backward step. Each step takes us further from the more efficient, productive and competitive economy that we and they say we should be striving to achieve.

On the previous occasion when we debated orders abolishing ITBs I made specific references to the industries affected by those orders. I asked how the successor arrangements matched up to the assurances that had been given to Parliament. I pointed out that, for example, the former Secretary of State for Employment, now the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, had assured a Select Committee that any voluntary arrangements would include the monitoring of skill shortages and other training needs, arranging voluntary action to alleviate them and devising, keeping up to date and publicising training standards.

I went through the proposed voluntary arrangements submitted to the House by the Under-Secretary and showed, I believe, beyond doubt that the staffing provisions proposed by the limited number of successor bodies that were emerging were inadequate and that those bodies would never lend themselves to any monitoring, let alone effective monitoring.

Despite being pressed, the best that the Under-Secretary could do was to say that he had made it clear that there should be monitoring of all skill shortages in the non-statutory arrangements. I hope that we shall get a more adequate response today about the monitoring of, and by, the successor bodies.

Is the Under-Secretary really so naive as to believe that, because he says that a certain thing should happen, it will happen? Who is to ensure that effective action is taken if skill shortages are identified? What about the monitoring of training standards and all the other matters that Ministers talk about so glibly when they are before Select Committees? May we be told exactly what provisions the Minister has insisted upon in each of the industries that are under scrutiny today?

No less important is the administration of key training grants—the money supplied from public funds to assist the financing of key training activities. I recall asking in our earlier debate whether those grants would continue to be paid in sectors where the statutory board had been abolished and, if so, whether the grants would be handled by the successor bodies. I asked what assurances the Minister could give that they would be handled fairly and objectively if their administration was in the hands of employers' associations which might represent only a part of the industry. We had no adequate answer from the Minister. The House is entitled to know how public funds will be safeguarded from abuse—that is, of course, if the key training grants continue to be paid, although we do not yet even know that.

Another matter that was glossed over by Ministers in the earlier debate was the disposal of board assets. The Under-Secretary said that it was surely right that the assets should be given away without charge because, in most cases, those assets had been paid for by employers through the levy, but apparently the Government were contemplat-ing giving them away to people other than those employers who had paid for them—such as the shipbuilding ITB' s centre at Southampton. I am glad to see the Under-Secretary shaking his head, and I am waiting for him to confirm that what was said in the MSC minutes is not true.

On the last occasion that we debated these matters in the House, I quoted the reference in the commission's paper to the shipbuilding ITB centre at Southampton. The shipbuilding industry is the subject of one of the orders before the House tonight, and apparently there was a likelihood of that industrial training board centre being offered to a trust. I pointed out the folly of the MSC in giving to an organisation called the Shenley Trust the important and highly expensive facility at Fort William for training divers, which has subsequently been the subject of an inquiry by the Public Accounts Committee and has been debated in this Chamber. It appears that the Government learn nothing from experience.

I quoted the commission's paper MSC/82/N7, which had been prepared by the training services division of the MSC. It said that where successive bodies could make effective use of assets, they should normally have first claim, but that other dispositions were possible. I asked to whom, and with what safeguards?

The Under-Secretary of State for Employment (Mr. Peter Morrison)

I thank the right hon. Member for giving way. I intervene in an effort to be helpful. I hope that he will agree with me, when training assets have hitherto belonged to a statutory training board, and if there is a successor body setting out to monitor training, providing—I stress "providing"—the financial criteria are met, that it would be more sensible for that body to take over the training assets than for the assets to be disposed of or sold as though they were of no consequence.

Mr. Walker

Despite our reservations about the Government's overall approach to these matters, I understand what the Under-Secretary is saying. However, it is inconsistent with the MSC documents that I have seen. I shall give another example in a moment, and it will be interesting to hear the Under-Secretary's reply, in view of what he has just said to me.

When we debated the matter on 14 June, I asked what statutory authority the Government had for giving away boards' assets in this manner. That was the reference in the MSC document which said that other dispositions were possible apart from those that the Under-Secretary has just described. When I asked what the statutory authority was, the Under-Secretary quoted the powers given to the commission in the 1973 Act. Surely his officials have told him that that Act does not empower the commission or the Government to give away public and board assets in the manner that is being suggested by some people.

Another example is causing legitimate concern. One of these orders abolishes the distributive industry training board. That training board has an expensive facility at Knutsford in Cheshire producing audio-visual training aids. When the members of that board realised that their board was to be killed off by the Government, they proposed the establishment of a tripartite training foundation, which would retain some of the board's assets, including the video centre which was producing audio-visual training aids. I assume, in view of what the Under-Secretary said in our last debate and has just said, that that successor body, the tripartite training foundation, would have first claim on the assets. So this important asset, the video training centre, should go to that foundation.

However, a member of the board wrote to me saying: There is a major problem regarding the disposal of the Knutsford Video Centre in the event that the proposals for a training foundation are unacceptable". The Under-Secretary has been most helpful and has sent to Labour Members and placed in the Library a copy of a document that describes the successor bodies, but I find no reference to this tripartite training foundation proposed by the distributive industry training board. Presumably, therefore, the proposals for that foundation were unacceptable to the Government or to the MSC, or to both.

The letter went on: It is the view of many Board members, including myself, that the ultimate decision regarding the disposal of this Board asset will be in the control of the Treasury. The Treasury is only concerned with maximising the return on the disposal of this asset. While there are a few organisations who have expressed an interest in acquiring Knutsford for training purposes"— not the town, of course, but the training centre— I understand that producers of pornographic films have also maintained an interest in its acquisition. The hon. Member for Ripon (Dr. Hampson) laughs. I find nothing funny in the thought that public assets should be turned over from important training purposes to the production of dirty pictures. The hon. Member may find it funny, and I hope that he will tell his constituents that he thinks it is very funny that training facilities may be turned over to the production of dirty pictures.

Dr. Keith Hampson (Ripon)

The right hon. Gentleman knows me better than that. I was laughing because his own Front Bench was in hysterics.

Mr. Walker

The hon. Gentleman can wriggle out of it, and he is good at wriggling on these occasions.

I was quoting a letter that I received in which the writer, a member of the board, said that producers of pornographic films were interested in acquiring the training centre at Knutsford. He went on: Since the latter group are likely to be able to offer substantially greater sums to acquire Knutsford there is a very real danger that the Treasury will authorise the sale of Knutsford for non-training use since this will produce a greater return". That is in sharp contrast to what the Government Front Bench have been saying up to now. We are entitled to know what the role of the Treasury is in these matters. We have been given the impression up to now that these matters were in the hands of the Department of Employment—and perhaps peripherally, in so far as it has any further influence with the Government, the MSC. Is there the remotest chance that this valuable asset will fall into the hands of dirty picture producers? Are the pals of porn to be sponsored by Tebbit?

Before I leave the distributive industry training board, I want to put on record the published unanimous view of that board: no system of voluntary organisations without the statutory support of the Board will ensure the maintenance of training standards amid the technological changes rapidly overtaking the industry". I should add that I have also received a letter saying The Board members of the Distributive Industry Training Board have expressed concern that the whole issue of voluntary training arrangements has been cloaked in great secrecy by the Government. Even the MSC appears to be in ignorance. The writer, who is a board member, goes on to say: It is quite evident that, contrary to the Minister's earlier statement that he would only issue revocation orders where satisfactory voluntary training arrangements had been established, he does appear intent on winding up the DITB whether or not any sort of voluntary training arrangements are made". I have no doubt that that is equally true of all the other boards that are being axed.

I am hesitant to inflict further and lengthy quotations on the House, particularly as I want to keep my speech short, because I understand that it is hoped that the debate may not take up the full time allocated to it to allow for other important business. However, in such complex and technical matters as those before the House, it would be wise to introduce the views of those who may not be here but who are none the less professionally involved in training and who have access to an expertise and understanding that is likely to surpass that of at least the majority of hon. Members.

I should like to quote from the chairman's address, published in the annual report of the furniture and timber industry training board, which is also under consideration. The chairman reminded his members of the words of the noble Lord Gowrie in another place, when he was Minister of State, Department of Employment, when he said: Government should give evidence that voluntary arrangements are adequate to meet essential training needs before any statutory training board is abolished, and I can give our absolute assurance that our intention is to do so."—[Official Report, House of Lords, 27 July 1981; Vol. 423, c. 606.] I am bound to say that the subsequent performance of those people who grace the Treasury Front Bench has fallen a long way behind that absolute assurance given by the noble Lord.

The chairman of the furniture and timber industry training board went on to say: This statement: and the criteria announced by the Secretary of State in the House on. November 26th underpin the requirements spelled out by the MSC which voluntary bodies will have to meet before they will be accepted as a credible alterative for a statutory ITS. He then spelt out the criteria that he believed would have to be met before the successor arrangements could be accepted as such a credible alternative to a statutory board. They were the MSC criteria, presumably endorsed by the Government. If the Government have a different view, we are entitled to know. Until the Government have repudiated them, we must assume that these are the criteria endorsed by the Government.

The first criterion is: whether the proposals include a central body for determining a training strategy for the Industry which either consists of a tripartite organisation (i.e. employer, trade union and educational representation) or provides effectively for appropriate consultation and agreement between employers, trade union and educational representatives. I hope that the Government will prove me wrong, but for not one of the industries for which the boards are being established are there proposals for the creation of such a central organisation. The first criterion is not being met in a single industry for which the board is being abolished.

The second criterion is: whether the arrangements proposed already cover the majority of firms and employees in the Industry (and would be open to all firms in the Industry) and whether there is evidence that the majority of firms currently in scope of the statutory Board would actively support these arrangements". That is not the case in a single industry for which the board is being abolished. In several of those industries the only successor arrangements are those that are being proposed by exclusive employers' associations—exclusive in the sense that they apply only to their own members.

The third criterion is: whether the training arrangements would be adequately sniffed and funded to fulfil the most important training objectives in the sector (this implies a capacity to assess and monitor manpower needs and training perfomance, and to design and implement a training strategy)". Again, we have spelt out for the benefit of the House what the Government have told us in their document—that the successor arrangements are pathetically understaffed. At the very best, scores of staff employed on monitoring and training and ensuring the adequacy of training have been replaced by a mere handful of people.

Mr. Michael Martin (Glasgow, Springburn)

Does my hon. Friend agree that, in view of the proposals, co Lieges of engineering which give excellent training to apprentices may have their student intake damaged? They already suffer through unemployment in Britain.

Mr. Walker

There will be an inevitable decline in the numbers of apprentices, technicians and technologists undergoing training by day release and other courses at colleges of technology and polytechnics. Once the financial and other coercions, for want of a better word, are relaxed—the stick and carrot principle of the 1964. Act—there will be a fall in the number of apprentices and hence in the number available to take advantage of the facilities at colleges of higher technology and higher education.

Mr. Cyril Smith (Rochdale)

To take that point further, I have met apprentices in my constituency who were sponsored by the training board to full-time apprenticeships within training schools. Presumably those apprenticeships will disappear.

Mr. Walker

That is an important point which ran through my mind as I prepared my notes for this speech. I hope that the Government will comment on it. What will happen to the sponsored awards scheme and the grants that until now have been available to offset the decline in the number of apprentices in employment?

Inevitably, in the present economic circumstances, there has been a sharp decline in the number of apprenticeships—for example, in the engineering industry the intake this year will be half that which the engineering industry board thinks appropriate—because of the decrease in employment and because by and large the boards were set up only to provide training for those in employment. Governments since 1970 have tried to offset that by making money available to enable young unemployed people to take advantage of apprenticeship schemes. How will that money, if it is available, be administered by the successor bodies?

I shall omit some of the criteria listed in the annual report of the furniture and timber industry training board as having been laid down for successor bodies to be a credible alternative to statutory industry training boards.

In conclusion, the chairman of the board states: Added together these"— the criteria— are formidable requirements which the Board is at present well equipped to deal with successfully. They are bound to be both difficult and expensive to meet through voluntary arrangements bearing in mind that a voluntary system involves firms that volunteer paying the share of those who opt out. This situation would be even further aggravated should there be a voluntary levy and grant system, either initially or subsequently because the criteria were not being achieved. All those firms likely to receive less than they pay in will have a strong incentive to opt out, leaving those doing a good training job to pay the entire bill. I earnestly suggest that it would be wise for all Trade Associations and firms with which we are concerned to look at the situation again. They may well find that voluntary arrangements, which reasonably meet the criteria, could be even more costly to most individual firms than the present system, particularly bearing in mind that only the volunteers will pay. The Minister dismissed such views on 14 June. He shakes his head, but hon. Members should look at the record. When I referred to the unanimous condemnation of the Government's policy by all the board chairmen—even the chairmen of the surviving boards condemn it—he somewhat sneeringly suggested "Well, they would say that, wouldn't they?"—quoting Miss Mandy Rice-Davies. Almost everyone involved in training in one way or another has been critical of the Government. Does he dismiss the views of them all? Are Ministers prepared to listen only to those, like themselves, who know little or nothing about the subject, and to employers who know something about the subject, but who have an even keener vested interest than the professional staffs and trainers?

Inevitably, in the present economic circumstances, hard-pressed employers, their backs pushed to the wall by the Government's economic policies, will seek savings by cutting training and will see the abolition of statutory obligations to train as a means of doing so. That makes it all the more important that the Government should have the carrot and stick of the 1964 Act available to ensure that the quality and quantity of training at such a crucial time is maintained.

It must seem extraordinary to many that the Government, who are all too ready to pay lip service to the importance of training, should be so eager to dismantle the machinery that delivers that training. I have spoken longer than I intended to do and have certainly spoken long enough. However, I conclude by reminding the House of the context of this debate. Earlier today the House learnt the grim facts about the appalling level that unemployment has reached under this Government. Well in excess of 3 million people have been denied the opportunity for worthwhile jobs and fulfilling careers. It is no use Conservative Members sitting there with harsh sneers and smirks on their faces, because many of their constituents are also affected. Today, the level of unemployment is at an all-time high in the history of our country; that is an all-time low for the Government's record.

It must seem incredible to most people that the Government should choose today to ask the House to endorse their further abandonment of the long-established and well-tried arrangements for industrial training; and instead to revert to the wholly inadequate and unsatisfactory system—if such it can be called—that failed us so miserably in the past.

It is the Government's oft-repeated view that lower levels of unemployment can be achieved in any enduring way only if industry becomes more efficient and competitive and if productivity is increased. Whatever the options may be for tackling the great economic and social evil of unemployment, the whole House will accept the need for improved industrial performance. Equally, I hope that the House recognises that we are unlikely to achieve that without an adequately trained, skilled and efficient labour force. The Government have a duty to generate the manpower policies that will start to match the needs of the economy and start to bring some hope to the millions of unemployed. However, instead, they are withdrawing from such responsibilities—as the orders before the House bear witness—and are abandoning training to vague voluntary arrangements that are doomed from the outset to be a non-system based on misplaced faith and hope, but little more. That is why we shall vote for the motion.

7.52 pm
The Minister of State, Department of Employment (Mr. Michael Alison)

The right hon. Member for Doncaster (Mr. Walker) concluded his speech by referring to the unemployment figures. However, his assertion had a hollow ring, because everybody knows that when the Labour Party was last in office unemployment reached a record level. The Labour Government's performance then has produced the figures that confront us today. We all know that. After five years of the policies pursued by the Labour Government, rising unit labour costs in manufacturing industry contributed to unemployment. However, this debate is not on the unemployment figures.

Mr. Harold Walker

I hope that the Minister will accept my apology for intervening so early in his remarks. However, he cannot get away, once again, with that canard. When the Conservative Party took office there were 1,200,000 unemployed. Today the number is well in excess of 3 million. It has risen two and a half times since his party took office. In the last 18 months of the Labour Government unemployment fell steadily nearly every month. By the time the Conservative Party took office the fall in unemployment was accelerating. It is important to put the facts on the record. The Government should start to treat this grave issue with the seriousness that it deserves and should cease to hide behind political rhetoric.

Mr. Alison

The right hon. Gentleman's manner shows that he has an extremely sensitive conscience. He interrupted me in an assertive and aggressive way, and a few minutes after I had started my speech he had to justify the Labour Party's record on unemployment. His party's record on unemployment was appalling and, worse, the foundations laid by the policies of a Labour Government weakened the British economy before the arctic climate of the massive oil price rise in 1973.

However, I shall return to the subject that the right hon. Gentleman began by mentioning, even if he did not conclude his speech on it. As he reminded the House, this is our second debate on industrial training boards in just over a month. Before discussing in detail the matters before us, I must briefly remind the House of the reasons why the six orders have been laid. I shall not go into the issue in as much detail as last time, and I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman will acquit me of any obligation to do so. As he said, we have had two debates on the matter so far. I think that I fully explained the background to the Government's policy during our debate on 14 June.

However, the Government have expressed a strong preference for voluntary as opposed to statutory training arrangements. The Manpower Services Commission, in a report published in July 1981 entitled "A Framework for the Future", recommended positively that seven of the 23 statutory boards should continue. As to the other 16 boards, the commission was not able to reach a firm conclusion—a reflection of the division of views between CBI and TUC commissioners—but stated that employer organisations in the industries concerned should develop further their proposed voluntary training arrangements. In responding to the MSC recommendations the then Secretary of State stressed the importance of reaching early decisions and invited industries to work up their proposed alternative training arrangements by the end of September.

In November last year my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State announced the Government's decisions on industrial training boards. Seven of the boards were to continue—not incidentally, the same seven as recommended by the MSC, as petroleum was to remain, but not ceramics. The remaining 16 boards were to be wound up during the course of the 1982–83 financial year. My right hon. Friend told the House that orders to wind up those training boards would not be laid until he was satisfied with the progress being made in setting up alternative training arrangements.

The right hon. Member for Doncaster made a point about monitoring. The MSC has been invited to attend meetings of most non-statutory training organisations. I have no doubt that the commission will keep a close eye on progress and that Ministers will be told the commission's views. My hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State will also monitor extremely closely and carefully the progress of voluntary training bodies.

Mr. Tam Dalyell (West Lothian)

The Under-Secretary of State knows the problem of the road transport industry training board at Motec in Livingston in my constituency. Will the Minister take it from me that there is a great uncertainty in that training board as well as in other boards? Can something be done to alleviate that uncertainty, which is doing great harm?

Mr. Alison

I take note of what the hon. Gentleman has said and my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary may discuss that point at the conclusion of the debate.

Mr. John Grant (Islington, Central)

We understand that about 100 voluntary organisations will replace the statutory boards. Is the Minister saying that the MSC has attended that many meetings? Is he sure of his facts?

Mr. Alison

I am talking about the non-statutory training organisations which are successor bodies to the present boards. The MSC will be invited along. It is a future prospect.

We are today debating, six of these orders, for the ceramics, glass and mineral products, cotton and allied textiles, distributive, food, drink and tobacco, furniture and timber and shipbuilding ITBs. As I have said the ceramics board was one of those which the MSC recommended positively should continue, although it also said that employer organisations for the glass, pottery and china clay industries, which together cover 40 per cent. of the board's scope, should be invited to develop voluntary proposals.

We believe that the ceramics board has done much good work, but that it has carried out its main tasks and that statutory arrangements are no longer needed. The main industries concerned believe that they can maintain standards under non-statutory arrangements, and the one industry that wishes to continue with a statutory board, the brick industry, is being transferred to come within the scope of the construction ITB. Given that the industries where the MSC thought that the board should be kept are fairly low skill, we came to the reasonable conclusion that it should be wound up.

I should add by way of footnote that when my right hon. Friend made his statement last November he said that the precast concrete industry as well as bricks would be brought within the scope of the construction board when the ceramics ITB was wound up. Since then the precast concrete industry has put forward acceptable voluntary training proposals, and will not therefore now be transferred.

Mr. John Golding (Newcastle-under-Lyme)

Is the Minister saying that the ceramics industry is an industry of low skill?

Mr. Alison

I am saying the opposite. The high skill of the ceramics industry is one good reason why it is fit to move out.

Mr. Dalyell

What a way to run a country.

Mr. Alison

The ceramics board has a wide mixture of skills. In some parts, such as bricks, there are much lower skills. There is a spectrum of skills in the ceramics board.

Before I outline the reasons why the orders have been laid before Parliament, I shall deal with one or two items of unfinished business from our last debate. The right hon. Member for Doncaster wanted us to deal with some of the questions that he raised.

In opening, the right hon. Gentleman cast doubts on the future of the seven remaining boards, suggesting that they would live on in constant fear of where the axe may fall next"— [Official Report, 14 June 1982; Vol. 25, c. 621.] The right hon. Gentleman may not be surprised to learn that his remarks have caused some alarm and despondency, particularly among the staff of the continuing boards. I should therefore like to set out the Government's policy towards the seven continuing boards. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State announced last November that he would be considering further whether the road transport ITB should be split in two, and we hope to announce a decision on that soon. In addition, my right hon. Friend said that he would review the position of the hotel and catering ITB early in 1983. Apart from that, there are the changes already announced which will be put into effect by the orders laid before Parliament yesterday. The continuing boards know about all these changes, or potential changes. But they know equally that the Government are committed to the success of the remaining statutory boards and will do all that they can to help boards succeed. My hon. Friend the Under-Secretary, as the right hon. Gentleman knows, holds regular meetings with board chairmen, and they at least are in no doubt that the Government wishes the statutory boards nothing but success.

The right hon. Gentleman and his hon. Friend the Member for Flint, East (Mr. Jones) also sought to discredit the policy that we are pursuing to ensure that wherever possible the boards' training assets continue to be used for training. I can understand why the Opposition oppose the Government's decision to wind up 16 training boards, although I must say that today as previously their opposition seems pretty unconvincing. But the Opposition also seem to be suggesting that the training assets of boards ought not to be used for the benefit of training, though I am not sure what use they are suggesting for them.

Where boards have assets that are of particular value to training—and here I am talking of such things as training manuals, books and training equipment—those assets have been paid for either by employers through the levy or by the Exchequer, through the financial assistance that has been given to boards. We are firmly of the view that where non-statutory organisations wish to continue to use boards' training materials for the benefit of training in their industries, they should be enabled to do so.

The right hon. Gentleman raised a question about Exchequer surveillance and the tendency of the Treasury always to try to save money. The non-statutory training organisations will monitor the payment of Exchequer-funded training grants in the same way as in the sector that has never been covered by the statutory ITBs. The right hon. Gentleman, while he was in government, never felt that all sectors needed statutory boards in order to handle Exchequer-funded grants. That will continue to happen.

As my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary said in winding up the last debate on 14 June, training boards have no statutory power to give away their assets, so we have decided that those assets should pass to the MSC. The commission can then use its powers under section 2 of the Employment and Training Act 1973 to grant the assets to non-statutory training organisations. That is being done with appropriate safeguards as to the future use of the materials concerned. I hope that both sides of the House will endorse that policy, whatever views there might be on the Government's decision to wind up the boards.

The Opposition have attempted to make great play of the numbers of training staff being employed by non-statutory training organisations, comparing them with the numbers of staff employed by the statutory boards. The right hon. Gentleman made that point again today. However, it was repetitive. The right hon. Gentleman made the same point on 14 June. I repeat our defence.

The Opposition must be aware that the overwhelming majority of training staff are employed not by training boards but by firms, whether in or out of the scope of a statutory board. The training staff directly employed by boards are a marginal addition to the total training staff employed within their industries. It must also be added that many of the boards' training staff have been engaged not in training people, in setting training standards or in giving training advice, but in running the levy exemption system. Of course, none of the voluntary training organisations will be running levy exemption schemes. Therefore, the training manpower resources available will be used for training, which is as it should be.

The number of training staff being employed by successor organisations varies greatly from industry to industry. It is entirely right that that should be so, as industries vary in the sophistication of their training requirements. The Opposition want these new training organisations to be pushed into the same sort of rigid mould as has proved unsatisfactory in the case of the statutory boards. We are deliberately breaking the mould because we believe that it has exhausted its usefulness. We do not expect all the resulting fragments to be exactly the same size and shape. We are entirely happy that the statutory boards should be replaced by a wide variety of alternative training arrangements.

It is an unfortunate aspect of the statutory boards, as they were set up in the 1960s, that they grouped togeher industries without a great deal in common for training. Let me expand on this point by looking at two of the boards in particular, first, the food, drink and tobacco ITB. This board covers an enormous variety of industries, from meat, bread, confectionary and manufactured foods to whisky, beer, soft drinks and tobacco. They have little in common except that their products pass between people's lips in one way or another. Certainly the manufacturing processes that they employ lead to very different training needs. So it is not surprising that there is a wide variety of training arrangments to replace this single centralised board.

The other very good example of diverse training needs is the industries covered by the ceramics, glass and mineral products industry training board. Some have relatively sophisticated training needs, and here I include the glass and ceramics industries, to which the hon. Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Mr. Golding) referred. Other industries, such as refractories, sand and gravel, china clay and cement, have rather less complex training needs. But where industries feel it in their interest to stay together, they have done so.

A good example is the quarry products training council, which has taken over from part of the ceramics board. It is a combined training body formed by the Sand and Gravel Association, the British Quarrying and Slag Federation, the Asphalt and Coated Macadam Association and the British Ready Mixed Concrete Association. It is proposed that the training council will be tripartite and Her Majesty's principal inspector of quarries will attend a meeting as the need arises. The Transport and General Workers Union and the General and Municipal Workers Union have been invited to sit on the council, and a reply to the formal invitation sent to them is now awaited. Among the functions of the council will be the administration of the extractive industries apprenticeship scheme. A chief training officer has been appointed and the recruitment of a field training officer and an administrative assistant is in hand.

I should add that I have received an interesting letter from the head of one of the associations involved with the quarry products training council. In it he says: Companies look forward to training in ways they consider will meet their needs rather than according to criteria laid down by the board. Our members resent the imputation made by the Opposition in the first debate on training boards that employers would cease to provide training when boards are wound up. They recognise training is both important for running their business, as well as making for a competent workforce. He continues: Opposition speakers acknowledged the boards had faults, but felt this was a good reason for strengthening rather than abolishing them. We submit the boards had adequate powers to call for manpower statistical information, monitor training and give or withhold grants. To strengthen these powers would only have imposed more bureaucracy and diverted company training staff away from the proper function of getting the training done.

Mr. Golding

Will the Minister state who the letter is from and with which firm he is connected so that we can monitor his performance?

Mr. Alison

I understand that it comes from Mr. Robert Phillipson, the director general of the British Aggregate Construction Materials Industries.

Mr. Golding

Will the Minister confirm with which firm he is connected so that we can monitor his performance?

Mr. Alison

If I can, I shall ensure that the hon. Gentleman gets that information.

Mr. Dalyell

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I have properly been challenged in the House in the past to give details of a letter from which I quoted. I did so. Does not the same apply to Ministers? If Ministers read out letters—

Mrs. Elaine Kellett-Bowman (Lancaster)

My right hon. Friend said who the letter came from.

Mr. Dalyell

But he could not say with which firm he was connected.

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Ernest Armstrong)

That is a matter for the Minister. He is responsible for what he says to the House. It is not a matter for me.

Mr. Alison

I have already given some information about the letter. I am not trying to conceal anything. My hon. Friend will try to give further information in his winding-up speech.

Dr. Hampson

My right hon. Friend knows that I have some misgivings about some of the bodies. Nevertheless, it must be right that the boards' boundaries, in many of the instances that my right hon. Friend has referred to, need some adjustment. What proportion of the work force do the boards that he is to abolish cover? Some Opposition Members seem to imagine that we are trying to destroy the statutory provisions.

Mr. Dalyell

They are.

Dr. Hampson

Does my right hon. Friend agree that the seven surviving boards cope with the vast bulk of those that were covered by the ITBs?

Mr. Alison

I gave that figure in my last speech on the matter. I should have to look it up to be absolutely accurate. Perhaps my hon. Friend would like to check the figure from my speech on 14 June. Nevertheless, my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary will provide that information in his winding-up speech.

Mr. Dalyell

That is ignorant and shameful.

Mr. Alison

I shall turn to a different industry within the scope of the ceramics board. I should like also to describe the training proposals advanced by the glass industry. The Glass Manufacturers Federation has set up a limited company called Glass Training. There is a tripartite central body, the joint glass training council, with places for seven trade unionists and five educationists, and five tripartite sectorial committees. I should add that, only one of the trade unionists has so far taken part in the council, but it is hoped that the rest will do so shortly. Every employer in the glass industry has given his support to the proposals. Up to seven staff are to be appointed, and other services will be brought in.

The right hon. Member for Doncaster criticised the training arrangements that are being set up to replace the distributive ITB. Perhaps I might draw attention to some of the comments that the MSC made about the board in "A Framework for the Future".

Employers are involved in a wide range of disparate activities … Moreover the types of organisation running these activities are much more varied than in most sectors covered by statutory boards … Typically they rely on entrepreneurial flair and self-help for success and are hostile to the idea of cooperating in statutory training arrangements which may offer advantages to rival firms … The Board's exclusion level for levy of 10 employees removes from levy liability 96 per cent. of all firms in scope and a third of all in-scope employment … For several years after the Board was established in 1968 it faced serious difficulties in developing a coherent training strategy … The Board's lack of influence over its industry and its inability to make effective use of its statutory powers in the early years led the Commission to consider the possibility of recommending its abolition. I could continue in that vein for some time. I wish only to make the point that the Opposition must not pretend that the distributive ITB was a howling success. Indeed, we have concluded that it was probably a mistake to have a statutory training board for the distributive industry. The board has done some useful 'work, especially on vocational preparation, but that does not warrant keeping a body with no fewer than 470 staff on a statutory basis. The voluntary arrangements that the right hon. Gentleman derided at least have the support of the various parts of the industry. That will be a major advance on what has gone before.

The non-statutory training arrangements that are to replace the food, drink and tobacco ITB have been the subject of vigorous criticism led, as I see it, by vested interests within the present training set-up. The critics have failed to mention that this board has, on its own criteria, largely achieved its main task. Firms covering no less than 95 per cent. of the work force are exempt from levy because they train to the board's standards. Almost all of the employer organisations concerned have told us that they think that the board has outlived its usefulness. It must also be added that the MSC's assessment was that the board's achievements have been relatively modest, largely because the industries within scope face few serious training problems.

Mr. Harold Walker

Before the right hon. Gentleman moves on from discussing the distributive ITB, will he comment on the fear that an audio-visual centre at Knutsford is being turned over to porn film making?

Mr. Alison

I shall not give the right hon. Gentleman an off-the-cuff answer to his porn allegations. I must be careful of what I say, but he produced that allegation like a rabbit out of a hat. I hope that that is an innocuous description. My hon. Friend will want to consider that matter carefully. He will say something about it in his winding-up speech.

Even on the strict criteria adopted by the director of the board, the training proposals for the brewing, food manufacturing, cocoa, chocolate and confectionery, cake and biscuit, dairy trade and fresh produce industries are, and I quote from the MSC's assessment, "worthwhile". Having been given that accolade, they must indeed be good. The arrangements cover more than half of the employees in scope to the board. There are other proposed training arrangements that are adequate or more than adequate. However, I regret that time will stop me, as it did the right hon. Member for Doncaster, from going into any detail about the other boards that are covered by the orders that we are debating. My hon. Friend will be happy to cover in his winding-up speech points that are raised in the debate.

The House has already rejected prayers against orders to wind up eight statutory boards. The orders that we are considering tonight cover six boards where the case for abolition is, in our view, at least as strong. I therefore urge the House to reject the Opposition's prayer.

8.18 pm
Mr. Ken Eastham (Manchester, Blackley)

I begin by taking up some of the Minister's rather cheap comments about the Labour Government's unemployment record. He had the temerity to compare this Government's performance—

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. I allowed the Minister to reply to the remarks made by the right hon. Member for Doncaster (Mr. Walker), but we must concentrate on industrial training and not debate unemployment.

Mr. Eastham

I appreciate that, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Nevertheless, as that is on record, it is worth reminding the House in passing that when the Conservative Party fought the last election it spent thousands of pounds on Saatchi & Saatchi and used the slogan "Labour isn't working". It would bring tears of joy to the Government's eyes if they could reduce the unemployment figures to those that they inherited from the Labour Government. The Conservatives promised something different and it certainly is different—it is far worse than what they promised the electorate.

The theme that now seems to be percolating through industry is "There is no need to train. Instead, we can poach". The Minister deludes himself when he quotes letters from industrialists who say that they know how to train best. I remind the House that previous Conservative Governments recognised that industrialists were not training people for their own industries. That is why in 1964 a Conservative Government recognised the wisdom of industrial training. The Minister talks about breaking the mould, but the Government seem to have taken years to discover that earlier Conservative Governments were right and they are wrong. I have more confidence in the industrial training policy of previous, "reactionary" Tory Governments than in the present Government's policies.

We are witnessing the continuing dismantling of training and the assets are being given away. This form of asset-stripping is a new dimension. The Government justify that by saying that training will continue. If a future Labour Government decided to nationalise, would the Conservatives justify such action by saying "We are having a handout" or would they accuse Labour of taking away valuable assets? In this instance, the Government are justifying a free gift of equipment with a high commercial and monetary value.

The Government are full of contradictions about training. They are like Jekyll and Hyde, constantly contradicting themselves. One minute they say that they favour training and the next minute they dismantle it. We are debating the dismantling and closing of certain industrial training boards, yet the Government speak about new training initiatives. We have seen the closure of vital areas of training and reference has been made to the food and retail industries, which are so often neglected. Many parts of the country place great importance on the food industry, retailing and distribution, because it is important to tourism. If tourism is to expand, the quality of catering, food and distribution is important. It is part of the big sell and it is one of the very things quoted in brochures.

Earlier today I attended two meetings in our Committee Rooms. The first was with the Manpower Services Commission. The new training initiatives were discussed and we were told what was needed—more training—and what we should be doing and what the MSC intends to do. The second meeting was with representatives of the petrochemical industry, who spoke about what the Government are not providing. We were told that, although we are now the sixth largest oil producer, two-thirds of the oil is being exported for processing. That has had an effect on the chemicals and plastics industries—areas over which the industrial training boards are ceasing to have control.

I remind the House that 25 per cent. of plastics from the oil industry are supplied to the car industry, the food and drink industry, to the detergent makers and to export markets. However, the Government appear to be pandering to the multinational companies, and our valuable asset of oil is being exported to be processed—processes that we can more than adequately provide here.

There is bound to be a price to pay, and we have seen that with the appalling rate of unemployment. There will be reduced training. We should not kid ourselves that the industrialists will spend a great deal of money on training young people. In the past they have poached from one another. Rather than pay for the development and training of their own staff, companies entice skilled employees from neighbouring firms. Consequently there is a gradual diminution of the very skills that are needed for the future of the industry.

There will be reduced opportunities. We are to have a complete reversal of what was conceived even by previous Tory Governments. The Minister says that they now intend to break the mould. When we break the mould we shall break the back of industry in Britain.

I predict that it will not be long—another three or four years—before it is recognised, even by the Government, that industrial training on a voluntary basis without organisation will be a failure, at a dramatic cost to the nation. The Government will come back to the House expecting the taxpayers again to foot the bill after having virtually given away the assets to their friends. That will not benefit industry and it will certainly not benefit Britain.

8.27 pm
Mr. Jim Lester (Beeston)

I hope that the hon. Member for Manchester, Blackley (Mr. Eastham) will forgive me if I do not follow his speech. I promised to make a short speech and I want to have a valedictory word before the training boards are finally wound up.

I also apologise to the House and to whoever speaks after me because, as I have guests in the Gallery who have listened to the whole debate—that is a tremendous burden for them to bear—I intend to take them out for a drink as soon as I have finished my speech.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. The hon. Gentleman knows that he should not refer to people in the Gallery.

Mr. Lester

I apologise, Mr. Deputy Speaker.

I first acknowledge the painstaking work of my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary. We recognise the seriousness and the intent with which he has taken on the task of pushing and prodding the present package into shape. It has not been an easy task and it could not have been undertaken at a more difficult time, when the principle has been established that "If it costs anything, we don't want it". It is hard to reconcile that with the criteria laid down by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State. I think that the Under-Secretary has done a worthwhile job and deserves the support of all Conservative hon. Members.

I pay tribute to the work and dedication of many of those involved in the statutory boards that are now being wound up. We do not live in a black and white world and, although the framework might have been questionable in some of the boards, many individuals, whether they worked professionally or gave their time from industry or the trade unions, have made a contribution towards establishing better standards and a real appreciation in industry that training does not exist for training's sake. They have etablished the fact that training exists to maximise the personal contribution of a work force and that it is as vital to our economic success as high investment or skilled marketing. It is understandable that many people are sorry to see the end of the training boards which, for the best of motives, they spent years creating.

I still do not believe that British industry is sufficiently conscious of the critical importance of training, at least up to the standards of our major competitors. Far too many people still believe that, like Topsy, our industry can grow into proficiency. Far too many people have never had a chance of finding out what they are best equipped to do. There is still a deep-seated attitude that, when things get tough, the first things that are cut are research, development and training. That attitude has been underlined in the past few years.

The Government should not need to act as a nanny to industry or provide the pressure and finance to ensure that it trains. However, I cannot envisage the time when they will not have to. Many companies and organisations are superb trainers, and they are only too aware of poaching. We should not judge our success by the superb trainers, but by the medium and lowest levels that we have tried to protect by statute. There is still a long way to go in those areas.

It is also a mistake to treat this debate as an argument between voluntary and statutory. We should consider what is best for our industry, sector by sector. Most of us now look forward to the enormous boost to good training as a result of the youth training scheme. I particularly hope that the new local organisations will combine all the talents in a community.

Mr. John Grant

I am interested in the hon. Gentleman's point about the need for voluntary and statutory arrangements. Is he aware of any area in 'which the Government are considering an extension of the statutory arrangements? All that we hear about is the cutting of the statutory arrangements. Is there any possibility of extending them into the difficult areas about which the hon. Gentleman is talking?

Mr. Lester

When my right hon. Friend originally introduced these orders, he made it very clear that he was retaining the power to create statutory boards should that be necessary and should the voluntary experiment be unsuccessful.

When I visited America two years ago, I made the acquaintance of Governor du Pont of Delaware, who is particularly interested in introducing young people to the world of work. Governor du Pont recently visited Britain, and I had what was perhaps the last word with him before his return to America. He was presumably shown the best that we can do, and his last comment to me on the Terrace was "It is incredible. The factory I have visited is training bright young minds on old machines".

Tonight, some new fledglings will emerge—100 has been suggested—as a result of the abolition of the six industrial training boards. Conservative Members wish them well. In sp to of my right hon. Friend's efforts, I would be less than honest if I did not say that some of them appear to be short of feathers. Indeed, some of them appear to be short of wings. I hope that each industrial sector will now come alive and recognise the needs that go wider than its own demands and interests.

The Government cannot back off. They must closely monitor the unfolding pattern. They must continue to prod and push and prevent serious breaches until we have a coherent pattern of training that meets our needs.

8.34 pm
Mr. Cyril Smith (Rochdale)

It is most appropriate that the hon. Member for Beeston (Mr. Lester) should take part in the debate. I suppose that he was in the first hearse at the funeral which set off the abolition of the training boards, and tonight we are simply having an obituary over the rest of the funeral cortege which led.

As the right hon. Member for Doncaster (Mr. Walker) said earlier, many of the arguments on the subject have already been rehearsed. I regret that tonight we have yet another period in the history of the House when we have to preside over the destruction—I use the word deliberately—of some first-class training boards.

If teenagers or children did what the Government are doing to the training boards they would be accused of vandalism and brought before the juvenile court. The Government's actions are not only ill-conceived but ill-timed. I cannot think of a worse time to introduce orders and policies abolishing training boards than when we have rising unemployment. Today the unemployment figures have been announced as being well over 3 million and still climbing, yet on that same day the Government announce the abolition of more training boards. It is sheer lunancy.

One of the boards that we are to abolish this evening is the cotton and allied textiles board. I read the comments about the board made by the Minister of State in the debate on 14 June. He said that the textile industry was a declining industry, so that there was less need for training, and so on. It may be declining but it is still a major industry, and the need for training in the industry still remains. The abolition of the board overlooks not only the function of the board in terms of training for skills; it overlooks the fact that the small firms' council of the board has done a great deal for small industries in the North-West in particular and in the country in general.

We are also to abolish this evening the food, drink and tobacco board. I thought that the Minister's attack on that board was uncalled for and unfair. The video centre to which the right hon. Member for Doncaster referred is one that I have visited. I was deeply impressed with its work and with the type of film that it was producing and the purpose for which the films were being used. I sat and watched many of them being relayed and displayed. It is a pity that that type of facility is being destroyed. I hope that the Minister, in his reply, will be able to allay many of our fears about that type of establishment.

Mr. Michael Shersby (Uxbridge)

I am paying close attention to the hon. Gentleman's remarks. Could he inform the House which areas covered by the food, drink and tobacco board are not able to provide adequate voluntary training arrangements to replace those previously provided? Could he give the House chapter and verse on that subject? It is very important.

Mr. Smith

The hon. Gentleman may have more knowledge of the industries than I have but it is not always a question whether they have the facilities to provide the training. Are they prepared to provide the facilities that they have the ability to provide?

The distributive industry is particularly concerned with a large number of small businesses—corner shops, small butchers' shop employing one or two people, and so on. The need for collective effort in training and the need for statutory back-up to that type of training is far more important in that type of industry than in many of the larger industries in which industrial training boards are being retained. The training in those industries would probably have continued anyway, bearing in mind the size of the companies involved in the general training facilities.

Mr. Golding

If the hon. Gentleman had received a brief from the food, drink and tobacco board his answer to the hon. Member for Uxbridge (Mr. Shersby) would have been "Agricultural supplies, to begin with, followed by flour and bakery." He could have continued the list. Sector after sector is not adequately catered for under the new arrangements.

Mr. Smith

The tragedy of tonight's debate is that we are destroying organisations, dissipating expertise and sacking personnel. However arrangements may be reorganised, the fact remains that these training facilities, which have been developed and brought together over many years, are suddenly being destroyed by legislation. Although some boards are being retained, most of them will be vandalised.

Mr. Peter Morrison

Like the hon. Gentleman, I am very interested in small businesses, and I listened carefully to what he said. The exclusion level for the food, drink and tobacco board is less than £170,000 over emoluments. The exclusion level is less than £30,000 for the distributive training board over emoluments or less than 10 employees. Two or three-shop businesses and small companies are not liable.

Mr. Smith

The question is not who is paying the levy but who will benefit from training facilities. Will those who have benefited from the training arrangements continue to benefit now that training arrangements are to be on a different basis? Will the facilities be used now that they are on a back-up voluntary basis and not backed up by statute? That is what worries many of us about the new proposals. However, we cannot do much to stop the destruction that is taking place.

I hope that the Minister will examine closely the disposal of some of the assets that is taking place, especially in the form of redundancy payments. This weekend I heard of redundancy payments in five figures for people with fewer than 12 years' service. The first of those five figure sums was neither 1 nor 2. Such a level of redundancy payment is ridiculous and an abuse of the use of assets that have been accumulated. I am not referring to one of the boards that is the subject of debate, although it has been referred to by some hon. Members. The Minister should examine the scale of redundancy payments.

Even at this late hour, I hope that whoever will take over responsibility for training, the Government and the MSC who together will monitor the new arrangements will try to ensure that the expertise and experience that have been developed over many years will be built into the new scheme so that they are not wasted.

I hope also that money that is to be made available for training by the Government will not be made available exclusively to the remaining boards or to the MSC. Many of us do not consider that the Manpower Services Commission is God's gift to anything, and certainly not to training. There is a great deal of expertise available to the Government and to new boards outside the MSC and I hope that funding will not be exclusive.

The Under-Secretary of State has referred in an intervention to exclusion figures on levies. I ask him to consider the possibility of excluding trainees from the gross wages which are taken into consideration. I have a small company in Rochdale with five employees. It was excluded from the levy because the total gross of wages was not high enough to bring it within the levy. It was then decided to take on an apprentice. The apprentice's wages pushed up the wages bill and made the company liable to the levy. The company is paying the levy for the privilege of taking on an apprentice and training him. There may be some merit in excluding the first two years of apprenticeship, for example, from the total wages bill in determining the gross wage bill and the triggering of the training levy. I hope that the Minister will consider that suggestion.

Mr. Peter Morrison

The levy exclusion level is basically a matter for the board. I am sure that if the hon. Gentleman raises the issue with the chairman of the board, or through me, the issue will be considered with care.

Mr. Smith

The Government have said a great deal over the years about their allegiance to, and respect for, small businesses. They have expressed their desire to see small businesses flourish. However, through their policy towards training boards they have placed a greater financial burden on training and have taken from themselves some of the money that they were spending on training. That seems to be incompatible with the views that they have expressed in the past about their support for small businesses.

This is a bad night for Britain's future. Its investment in the future will determine its future. There is no better way for a nation to invest in its future than in training people of all ages, but especially young people. It is vital to train, to retrain, to provide skills and to provide the opportunity to be educated in a wider sphere than the normal school system can offer. I believe sincerely that the consequences of abolishing the boards will mean that fewer people will be trained and that fewer opportunities for training will be available.

8.48 pm
Mr. Michael Shersby (Uxbridge)

First, I wish to declare an outside interest. I am the Secretary of the United Kingdom Sugar Industry Association, which now has responsibility for voluntary training arrangements in the sugar industry. I am also a member of the Food and Drink Industries Council. It may be that I am the only Member of this place who has some responsibility for voluntary training arrangements in one of Britain's important industries.

I shall contribute briefly to this important debate. It is vital that we understand the extent to which voluntary training arrangements have been adopted over a wide sector. They are now receiving the enthusiastic support of many in industry and commerce.

I shall direct my remarks towards the abolition of the food and drink industries training board, which has responsibility for a number of important sectors of the food and drink industries. I support the order to abolish the board because I believe that there is little evidence to suggest that its continuation will be cost-effective, funded either from central Government or from employers.

I should like to say a word about the way in which the board hoped to influence training. The board was established in 1968 with the aim of helping the industry to achieve increasingly effective use of manpower through improved training. The main method by which the board hoped to influence training in companies was through its levy exemption programme. The levy exemption system gave the board a statutory right to visit and collect data from companies. That is the basis on which that board and others existed.

The board had a major limiting factor in that companies in the scope of the board represented only 75 per cent. of employees in the sector and less than 10 per cent. of employers. The influence of the board was therefore restricted to large companies. In 1970 an estimated 40 per cent. of leviable firms gained exemption and by 1980–81 this had risen to 91.1 per cent., covering 97.9 per cent. of employees in its scope.

I mention those figures because they give a good illustration of the effectiveness of the board and its relationship with the food and drink industry. It is fair to say that, through what I should describe as the stick and carrot approach of the levy scheme, the board had intended to extend its influence about as far as was possible. The food, drink and tobacco industry training board expenditure in 1980–81 was £2.95 million. Only £0.5 million of that income was raised by levy through companies, and the balance was provided by the training services division of the Manpower Services Commission. The board also provided training services, but had the problem of having to persuade companies to use its services against the background of statutory intervention.

The question of voluntary training arrangements is an important one. The food, drink and tobacco industry training board, for example, identified 13 sub-sectors of the industry covering primary and secondary processing, agriculture supplies and retailing. From such a diverse industry it is not surprising that there should be a variety of voluntary training arrangements. The arrangements are all based on existing trade associations which already enjoy the support of the majority of companies within their sectors. In many cases, training was already an established function of the trade associations and the addition of this formal co-ordination role is natural.

I make this point because it is vitally important for the House to understand that the trade associations in an industry such as food and drink have always taken a keen interest in training. They have always had on their special sub-committees the top training people from the companies in those industries. That continues to be the case now that we are moving away from statutory to voluntary arrangements.

Mr. Golding

What have been the previous arrangements in the National Association of Soft Drink Manufacturers, for example, or in the Institute of Meat, or the Food Manufacturers Federation? What have been the arrangements and what are the arrangements for the future?

Mr. Shersby

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his intervention, because was about to illustrate my points. As he raised the question, I should like to give the House an example of some of the 13 voluntary schemes which have emerged since my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary took this initiative. For example, there is the Food Manufacturers Council for Industrial Training, which is the organisation that encompasses the Food Manufacturers Federation. There is the Brewers' Society, the United Kingdom Sugar Industry Association., the National Association of British and Irish Millers, the Dairy Federation, the Federation of Bakers, the Cocoa, Chocolate and Confectionery Alliance and the Cake and Biscuit Alliance, the Institute of Meat, the United Kingdom Agricultural Supply Trade Association, the National Association of Master Bakers, Confectioners and Caterers, the National Association of Soft Drink Manufacturers, the National Institute of Fresh Produce and the Tobacco Industry Employers' Association. The hon. Gentleman's intervention could not have been more timely. I should like to expand on their work. That is the best way of answering the question that the hon. Gentleman has rightly raised.

Mr. Philip Holland (Carlton)

Can my hon. Friend give the assurance that none of the appointments to any of the bodies that he has listed will be made by the Minister?

Mr. Shersby

I can give my hon. Friend that categorical assurance. The appointment of persons who serve on training committees of these organisations is in the hands of people in the industries concerned. Those who will serve are experts in their subject. The advantage of training committees based on existing organisations is that the existing administrative resources of those associations can be deployed to maximum effect in addition to established training functions.

Hon. Members do not perhaps appreciate the extent to which trade associations in many industries—I can speak only about that which I know—have, over a long period, had committees comprised of people deeply involved in the training process. The food, drink and tobacco industry training board never trained anyone. Its role was to exercise influence, to have a levy system and to have a system of inspection that was in many ways valuable but which, I believe, is no longer necessary.

It has been amply demonstrated by events that the industries concerned are more than able to provide their own expertise and their own training committees free of charge. These voluntary organisations are highly effective and cheap. Any comparison between members of the staff of the food, drink and tobacco industry training board and staff employed in voluntary training arrangements is spurious.

Mr. Jim Craigen (Glasgow, Maryhill)

Will the new training committee to which the hon. Gentleman refers carry out any training itself?

Mr. Shersby

From my own personal experience and knowledge, I can assure the hon. Gentleman that the various trade associations in the food industry—I am not speaking for the other industries covered by these revocation orders—carry out training of the highest possible quality. The training is properly funded. Those involved in the training have long experience and consult closely with the trade unions, with the world of education and with all who work in their industries. They are capable of giving the finest training that any industry desires.

I take the example of the sugar industry because I happen to know it. The sugar industry spent £2.9 million in 1981 on training 8,700 employees. That is nothing new. The industry has for many years spent large sums on training its employees—long before the food, drink and tobacco industry training board was thought of.

Mr. Golding

The hon. Gentleman has not answered the question about soft drinks and meat. Can he say what committees have existed in the past in the soft drinks industry? What resources are now available in that industry for the future?

Mr. Shersby

I have already told the hon. Gentleman that the National Association of Soft Drink Manufacturers has set up training arrangements approved by the Under-Secretary and his colleagues at the Department of Employment. The hon. Gentleman asked me about meat. I made it clear in my earlier remarks that the Institute of Meat had also set up its own training facilities. I am genuinely trying to answer the hon. Gentleman's question. Training in those industries has been taking place in one form or another for a number of years.

I believe that the winding up of the board coupled with the initiatives that have been taken by the Under-Secretary have resulted in some industries—I cannot speak for the ones that the hon. Gentleman raised—in even greater initiatives towards training arrangements than in the past. The vast majority of the sectors of the food and drink industry are now covered by perfectly adequate and excellent training arrangements. They are funded by industries through their trade associations in such a way that training is being carried out of a type that could never have been provided by the food, drink and tobacco board. I believe that the House should now say to the industry "Right, you have put forward to the Department of Employment schemes which the Department, after careful consideration, has approved. You are now on your honour to carry out the proper training of employees within your industry". I believe that that will happen and that the fears expressed by the hon. Gentleman are groundless.

I believe that the industries covered by these revocation orders have gone to immense lengths to ensure that Parliament can be satisfied that the work that they will carry out in training employees will be such that there is the dynamism and the definite intention to train people to the high standards demanded by the industry and the country. I believe that the fears that have been expressed, that training is being abandoned and that the abolition of the boards will mean that training will fizzle out in some way, are groundless. In the food and other industries training today is a top priority. We all recognise that well-trained employees are every industry's best possible investment.

I am confident that the orders, which I am sure will be approved tonight, will be a spur to voluntary training and that the House will have cause to be proud of what has been done.

9.3 pm

Mr. Jim Craigen (Glasgow, Maryhill)

The hon. Member for Uxbridge (Mr. Shersby) has sugared the pill so well that I am surprised that we need a revocation order for the food, drink and tobacco industry training board. I should have thought that it had been killed off by kindness.

I should like to take up a point that the hon. Member for Rochdale (Mr. Smith) made earlier. It seems to me that the Government are more prepared to put people out of work and pay towards their redundancy than they are to pay towards keeping them in work and for better training. It is symptomatic of the time that the Government are prepared to pay money for negative purposes rather than to deploy limited resources in more positive ways. The Minister said in his opening statement that this debate in a way is a retread. It is not enough for the Government, each time we have these orders and employment debates, to talk about the previous Labour Government. After three years in office, they must tell us how they are husbanding the nation's resources and accounting for their stewardship. The Minister should have spent more time on the Government's responsibility and their ideas for the future.

Will we have enough inspectors to monitor the multitude of voluntary bodies? The mind boggles at the number of MSC officials who will be required to ensure that proper training is carried out. At a time when the Government are cutting the size of the wages inspectorate and the health and safety inspectorate, are we expected to believe that there will be enough MSC officials with adequate qualifications to assess the standard of training?

Despite the work that is going on to set up a new retail trades' training council, the Minister skidded over the fact that the distribution industry is one of the key industries of our economy. I sometimes think that its efficiency lends itself to a high volume of imports. About 2.8 million people are employed in the industries covered by the existing training board. The Minister ought to be aware of the importance of that industry to school leavers, because about one-fifth of each year's school leavers take jobs in the distribution industry.

Moreover, when profit margins in distributive industries are down to about 1½ per cent., can we really expect an upsurge in voluntary training? All too often, training is one of the first things to go when firms look for ways to reduce overheads.

Mr. Richard Needham (Chippenham)

Would the hon. Gentleman wish to introduce a statutory training levy, which would take away even the 1½ per cent. profit margin and leave the industry with no profits?

Mr. Craigen

We already have a statutory system in the industry. If we are to move away from the traditional method of statutory surveillance to a voluntary system we must be sure that firms will provide the training. The general point that I am making, and I think that the hon. Gentleman would accept it, is that training is too often seen as something which can be easily discarded.

There is considerable uncertainty over Motec at Livingston. That training centre has excellent facilities and is one of two in Britain. The Select Committee on Employment visited it more than a year ago, yet, after all that time, there is still considerable uncertainty.

The Government are moving towards the setting of standards for apprenticeships by 1985, but it should be made clear to us whether the standards will stay in the hands of the remaining training boards. I understand that the engineering industry training board has made it clear that, if there is to be a one-year exemption for young people on the new training initiative scheme, the standards will be laid down by the engineering industry training board and not by the new youth training board or any of the 50 or 60 local boards that are to be set up under the youth training scheme.

I wonder what the Minister thinks will happen in sectors of industry which have no industrial training boards to set the standards. Are we simply to rely on the more traditional mechanisms that the Government themselves say are unsatisfactory, because the Government have said in various publications that we should move standards being set by unions and employers?

Mr. George Park (Coventry, North-East)

Will my hon. Friend consider for a moment the problem of trainees? How can they convince potential employers that they have reached a certain competence and skill that can be built on?

Mr. Craigen

I understand that a certificate will be given at the end of the 12-month youth training scheme. There should be a sufficient training content in the 12-month scheme if it is to be acceptable to the industry—and in the case that I instanced, to the engineering industry training board, and there will have to be some mechanism in the sectors of industry which have no ITBs.

I turn to a problem which arises too often for comfort in discussions about the youth training scheme. It is thought that somehow or other the scheme will fill a vacuum, but in my view that vacuum can be filled only by adequate training. In essence, the youth training scheme will be only a pre-vocational 12-month course. There will be more problems when the Government get round, as they will, to deciding about adult entry and training courses. Today's unemployment figures are staggering, and over the past 10 years we have lost in manual employment over 3 million jobs. Non-manual employment is now overtaking manual employment. The labour market has dropped by 8 per cent. since this Government came to office in 1979, and there is now a large reservoir of unskilled and semi-skilled people who have not only gone on to the unemployment register but have stayed there. They form a large part of the long-term unemployed. More wll have to be done by way of training to dislodge those people from long-term unemployment, and I hope that there will be a larger training element in the community enterprise programmes.

What was said earlier about training awards and the EITB and the CITB was important. Many small firms may be disinclined to take on young people for permanent employment, as opposed to temporary engagement through the youth training programme. The Government should provide some form of back-up for the employment of young people because, despite the encouraging noises that we hear about higher productivity, the fact remains that higher productivity will result in fewer employees. Although many hon. Members do not have the power of vision to see an economic upturn under this Government, if there is one, it will simply result in the absorption of more imports, despite higher productivity.

The Minister may regret that this is a retread of our previous debate, but the Government have still not addressed themselves to the training requirements that will be necessary to cope with a vastly changed labour situation for the remainder of the decade.

9.16 pm
Mr. Bill Walker (Perth and East Perthshire)

The hon. Member for Glasgow, Maryhill (Mr. Craigen) has, by his speech, shown clearly that he does not fully understand the true position, certainly within the distributive industries.

The companies in the distributive industries which do the bulk of the training are exempt from the distributive industries training board provision. That has been the case for a long time. The hon. Gentleman must realise that companies such as Marks and Spencer and J. Sainsbury do not come under the board in any real way. Training within the distributive industries has long been carried out, quite properly, by the people who know the best way to do it—the employers.

There are only two parts to any business. The first is money and the other is people. Money covers the plait, equipment, stock, buildings and all the other things to do with finance. The second, the people, are in my view the more important part of a company. It is how people are motivated and trained that determines how a company, or indeed a country, Performs in the market place.

The questions that everyone must ask are whether training in the United Kingdom has made Britain more competitive. Has it produced the numbers of trained individuals that industry requires? Is industry happy with the statutory board?

Anyone who has been involved in discussions within industry must acknowledge that confidence in many of the boards was absent. In some cases, the optimism of the early and mid-1960s was replaced by open hostility to those boards.

I wish to place on record my appreciation of the time and energy given to the industrial training boards during the early years by trade unionists, educationists and employers. I was involved in the early stages of the distributive industries training board. I remember our optimism in those early days.

One realised quickly over the years that firms such as Marks and Spencer, the companies that I run and others were excluded from the distributive industry training board in every respect because they did more than the board required. They did that, not because anybody else determined the needs, but because the market place laid upon the companies a need to ensure that they were more efficient and effective than their competitors. Therefore, I believe that the voluntary approach will produce the results that we are all looking for.

Group training schemes—again I was personally involved—were marvellous in their early days. Firms and companies were brought together in joint enterprises in their areas. That continues because those same organisations recognise that with or without boards there are advantages to them in co-operating at that level.

The important points are who determines what the training needs are and who will do the training. That can best be judged by those who face the competition in the market place. I am sure that I speak for many when I say that there has been an increasing acceptance that several of the boards have outlived their usefulness and that once again it was time to move into a new stage in the development of training in the United Kingdom.

It was a Conservative Government who introduced legislation setting up the boards in 1964. A Conservative Government carried out a reorganisation in 1973 and a Tory Government are again doing something about training. Opposition Members talk a lot about training, but they do nothing when in office. That is most enlightening and interesting.

Again, a Conservative Government are setting up the new training initiative and, in such difficult times, are taking the opportunity to do something that should have been done many years ago. This change is long overdue. I welcome it, because this Government will be remembered for facing up to the issues of the day. It will be remembered not for fudging, ducking or looking for soft options, but for acting. The Government recognise that they must invest in people. That does not mean throwing money at problems. That has never solved anything. Indeed, it normally has the opposite effect of creating bigger and worse problems.

I have some experience of the distributive trades and of the furniture and timber industry. I am quite satisfied that the Retail Consortium and one of my old employers, the National Association of Retail Furnishers, are perfectly adequately equipped to cope with the training needs of their section of the industry. I am sure that the British Furniture Manufacturers Association can also meet the needs of its industry's requirements. However, that does not mean that individual companies will not have to face up to their problems. There is no doubt that there will be different training requirements in each area. Again, that is where the voluntary approach should be helpful.

We must adapt to change if we are to survive. Everyone has an interest in survival. More important, we must train our young people for the real world—the world of today and tomorrow. The new training initiative will lay the basis for the vocational training that is called for. I look forward to its follow up, when apprenticeships will no longer be determined by time alone, but by skill as well. I believe that that sentiment finds its expression on both sides of the House. It has been difficult to get organised labour to accept that. However, I am delighted that there is much more acceptance within organised labour that that is the way ahead. That acceptance is to be preferred to the historical craft tradition of saying that an apprenticeship must last X number of years.

I welcome the changes in further education, which will also help. I also welcome the fact that through the new training initiative we shall continue to involve educationists in vocational training in contrast to the enormous growth in non-vocational training in the past 20 years. That non-vocational training is interesting, but does little to help equip people for the real world. We have a duty and a responsibility to ensure that we are equipping our young for the world in which they hope to earn a living and to acquire skills and knowledge. I hope that they will constantly chase the acquisition of skill and knowledge and that they will welcome change.

When people cease to welcome change and the knowledge and skills of the future they begin to move backwards. I am sorry to say that that has been the case. However, although I never thought in 1964 that I would welome the departure of training boards—in those early days we all saw them as a means of dramatic change—I now recognise that many of the boards have outlived their usefulness. When we set them up we recognised that they would have a limited lifespan, but we did not know whether it would be 20 or 50 years. In many instances under 20 years has proved to be about right.

I welcome the changes and, unlike some of the Opposition, I do not believe that the new arrangements will prove to be the end of training. There will merely be a change in the way in which training has evolved and I believe that that change is for the better.

9.24 pm
Mr. John Grant (Islington, Central)

As the hon. Member for Perth and East Perthshire (Mr. Walker) said, many companies in British industry are doing excellent training work, which is unprompted. I wish that I could share his confidence that the changes in the training structure that we are debating tonight will be beneficial to the whole of British industry.

As the right hon. Member for Doncaster (Mr. Walker) said in his opening remarks, we have been here before, particularly when we discussed the previous batch of orders in mid-June. Only the names of the boards to be abolished have changed, but the unsatisfactory situation has not changed. It is unsatisfactory in practice and principle.

The idea of undermining our national training effort when we should be increasing it must be wrong. If today's catastrophic unemployment figures were surpassed in the months ahead, and if the slump were to continue, which is likely to happen, the case for more training and improved skills would not be diminished. The need for that would be underlined. However, the Government do not think that the slump will continue. They tell us without much conviction but with much bluster that everything is coming right. If they are correct about that, we shall need a more highly skilled labour force than before if we are to cope with technological advance, avoid skill shortages at a time of what we hope will be economic expansion and avoid bottlenecks.

What has shone through the debate—the same applied to the previous debate on 14 June—has been the astonishing extent of ministerial complacency. In that debate, the Under-Secretary talked about minor changes in respect of the abolition of the boards. He brushed aside the views of the ITB chairmen and juggled with figures to try to prove the Government's commitment to training across the board, but failed to deal with the vital point that the trade unions are tending to boycott the voluntary arrangements because they would no longer share in the decision-making as equal partners. They would have solely an advisory role. They do not want that.

Today the Minister of State underlined the fact that the decision to wreck the training boards is based primarily on the desire of the Conservative Party to give a reward to the more short-sighted and reactionary of their industrial paymasters. That fact must be faced.

The Minister of State picked out the parts of the orders that he liked as evidence that all is going smoothly. Many questions can be raised. I shall raise a few. Some sectors propose to do nothing in response to the Minister's plea for voluntary arrangements. We have moved on to some extent, but we are not sure how far.

The MSC report on the transition from statutory to voluntary arrangements in March referred to the cotton and allied textiles industry. It said: A considerable proportion of employees in ITB scope may not be covered by voluntary arrangements. In the June document there is no mention of that. I should like to know whether a considerable proportion of employees in the cotton and allied textiles industry who were covered by the ITB arrangements will not be covered, whether the Minister is satisfied with that and whether that matches his criteria.

We have heard about the food, drink and tobacco industry. The Scotch Whisky Association had no plans for a joint effort previously. As far as I can see from the documents in the Library, the training is based on large companies. I wonder whether that meets the criteria laid down by the Under-Secretary of State. The same goes for the frozen food sector, which comes under that industrial training board. I was a little surprised to hear what the hon. Member for Uxbridge (Mr. Shersby) said about the meat industry. The up-to-date document suggests that most schemes have been agreed for the meat industry outside Scotland. Perhaps we have moved on in recent weeks.

That document says that for many industries, discussions on arrangements are continuing. We are told that for the cotton and allied textile industry, and others, arrangements are being set up. That applies in part to the furniture and timber industry, the paper and paper products industry and printing and publishing. Although we are not discussing them, they are also to be abolished.

It all seems to be a remarkably vague basis upon which to seek parliamentary approval. It is important to ask what criteria the Minister has used to judge whether the voluntary arrangements are satisfactory before bringing the present arrangements to the House. The criteria that he gave in a letter to the Institute of Meat on 6 April was so loose as to be meaningless. It would hardly be surprising if, on that basis, some industries opted for schemes that demanded the minimum of input of resources and allowed for the maximum of window dressing.

Does the Minister believe that there is any viable way of ensuring that standards in those industries will be maintained? If so, how? How will he find out? What will the monitoring process be, apart from the do-it-yourself arrangements that will be on an industry-by-industry approach? There are anxieties that in the event some industries will not bother about them. If there is a real drop in training standards, how will the Minister discover it?

The hon. Member for Glasgow, Maryhill (Mr. Craigen) mentioned MSC resources. That was a pertinent point. It is important to ask how rigorous the Minister's testing of those industries' voluntary arrangements has been before presenting the present arrangements to the House. He must know that more than two-thirds of the schemes for the food, drink and tobacco industry lack integrated professional staff, in spite of what has been said. The matter seems to have been thrust along indecently. The Government have sent the message to industry "Do not worry, the Government have taken their decision and cosmetics are enough". In some cases, we are witnessing a cosmetic exercise.

On the evidence before us and on the evidence contained in the documents that the Minister placed in the Library, he should not pursue the arrangements, despite the Government's intentions. He could still defer them until after the recess. We might then have far clearer evidence of individual firms' commitments to fund voluntary arrangements. There seems to be a major shortfall there. He should warn those types of industries that the statutory arrangements could still remain if they do not pull their socks up. Good employers who have a genuine concern far training—they have been referred to today—would not be the least disturbed by such a move. But those who want to wriggle out as cheaply as they can would have to think again.

All hon. Members recognise that the House of Lords Select Committee on unemployment produced an important report. It stressed that some statutory framework for industrial training was necessary. It considered that now that the Government are reverting to voluntary training provision in the place of most ITBs there is an immediate need for action to protect training in those areas where ITBs are being abolished and to develop it in those areas which the ITBs have never covered". There is little if arty evidence the Government are taking care of that. The report continues: Not only must training needs be met; the costs must also be spread among employers with whom the main responsibility lies. In addition, the taxpayers should contribute, to reflect the acute national interest and to recognise that the benefits of training accrue to employees as well as to employers". The Select Committee was absolutely right. The Government should pay much more attention to what it said.

The same Select Committee referred to a remissible training levy. The Social Democrats strongly favour that. That prospect should have received full consideration. I know that the Under-Secretary said that the Government would consider it, but it should have been fully considered before the present statutory framework was substantially abandoned. It should not have been examined afterwards, with all the dangers of leaving a huge vacuum.

Throughout this whole shoddy exercise, the Government have set their target and then made up the facts to enable them to get through. I do not know what the Minister is like when he is roused—we do not see him that way at the Dispatch Box—but if the Government are determined to go ahead and get rid of the boards he should have been banging some heads together and telling some of the industrial laggards reflected in the framework of the orders to go away and not come back until they could deliver viable and worthwhile arrangements. There is not adequate evidence that that is the case. I believe that the whole affair was preconceived and pre-ordained to go through with the minimum fuss, irrespective of the real training needs.

Incidentally, it is unfortunate that we shall be able only to vote against the abolition of six boards rather than the eight that the Government wish to abolish in this batch. That is because, rather than allow the Social Democratic Party to move the initiating motion against all eight orders, the official Opposition felt obliged to connive once again with the Government and to contrive to ensure that the debate was opened by the official Opposition in the way that it was. Presumably they decided that party gain should take precedence. That is just one more piece of evidence in the ever-growing file on the absurdity of the procedures of the House in general and the outdated and unrepresentative two-party carve-up in particular.

In conclusion, we know that the orders result from industrial dogmatism, but we do not know with any certainty what will be their overall long-term effect on industrial training in this country. I believe that the effect will be grave and that it will be bad for the nation. The Government have made no adequate attempt to measure what will happen to the requirement and supply of skilled labour in the industries concerned. There is great anxiety throughout much of British industry and on both sides of the House, as was clear in the two debates that we have had on orders of this kind. That anxiety arises from the knowledge that the Government have been prepared to gamble needlessly and recklessly in this crucial area of industrial policy. That is the charge against the Government and that is why the orders should be annulled.

9.37 pm
Mr. Richard Needham (Chippenham)

I shall be exceedingly brief. I wish to make just one point. The difference between the two sides is purely this. Can we trust employers to train people voluntarily, or must we tell them that they are not trusted and must be treated like children who need not only a carrot but a fairly substantial stick? The hon. Member for Glasgow, Maryhill (Mr. Craigen) made the point when he said that at present the profits in the distributive industry are 1½ per cent.

I believe that nowadays—I agree that this was not true in the past—employers by and large want to train and to train well, because their work force is their most important capital asset. I do not believe that the amount of poaching that existed years ago can possibly happen today. Workpeople have pension rights, for instance, and they cannot simply be poached and taken away from good employers.

Therefore, it is worth testing the spread of arrangements provided by the Government's tripartite system of voluntary arrangements, statutory arrangements and the new training initiative. If, after a period, the voluntary arrangements are clearly not working in particular industries, it will be possible to reintroduce some form of statutory training arrangements. I believe that employers must be trusted. It is in their own financial interests to ensure that they train adequately. Conservative Members should certainly give them the chance to do so. For that reason, I support the Government's position.

9.39 pm
Mr. Tam Dalyell (West Lothian)

Long after any events that may have taken place at Cheltenham in the recent past and long after any events that may have taken place in the bed chamber are forgotten, the consequences of what we do tonight will be with us.

It is profoundly depressing that throughout almost the whole of this debate and when my right hon. Friend the Member for Doncaster (Mr. Walker) was speaking the Press Gallery was virtually empty. I sometimes wonder whether the Lobby correspondents think the same things are as important in the long term as do the rest of us.

I place on record that as regards Motec at Livingston I have had nothing but courtesy from the hon. Member for City of Chester (Mr. Morrison). I thank him for that courtesy. As a result of his intervention that training institute has had a year's reprieve. I thank him for that.

Having said that, there is now a greater uncertainty about grants and about incentives—but I shall not go into that for reasons of time. There is also the question that is common to a number of institutions—the sale of assets. I am told that there is now a real possibility of the sale of assets at Livingston, in West Lothian, and at High Ercall, in Shropshire, so that the road transport industry training board can raise the money to pay compensation to its employees who are to be paid off.

The hon. Member for Rochdale (Mr. Smith) eloquently made the point that we are not talking only about distribution of assets. We are talking about the dispersal of people in teams that have been built up over the years to train. In most cases, if not all, it is agreed by employers, by hon. Members who have taken an interest and by people such as Alec Kitson, who is on the road transport industry training board, that they do a very satisfactory job. There is no dispute about the quality of training that is given.

I shall limit myself to talking about an industry of which I have some knowledge because it is in my constituency. This point concerns not only Scotland, but the north of England, because 70 per cent. of youngsters come from the north of England. Small garages are not in a position to give the training that youngsters can get at Livingston. Small garages cannot afford a paint shop or the equipment that has been specially constructed at the Livingston centre for fault finding on the many different types of vehicles.

The dispersal of such assets—machinery and human—would be a complete tragedy. There is rising anger in an area where there is now 26 per cent. male unemployment. We have been through the whole trauma of the rundown to a dangerous extent of the once prosperous Leyland factory at Bathgate. I give warning that if there is any suggestion of asset stripping or the sale of valuable machinery at ridiculous prices I shall be running along yet again to the Public Accounts Committee, as I did for Bathgate, and as my hon. Friend the Member for Flint, East (Mr. Jones) well knows because he was on the Committee. An all-party PAC severely strictured in virulent language—at least for the PAC—the Department of Industry for what it had done to Leyland.

I should not like to see the Department of Employment criticised in that way. However, I give fair warning that if there is to be such asset stripping in the road transport industry training board Motec centre I shall go along to my hon. Friends on the PAC to persuade them, yet again, to look at these matters. It is a crying shame that the seed corn of this country—the training on which we depend for our bread and butter, which in the case of the road transport industry training board no one else can give—should be closed down for the sake of a mere pittance.

I promised to be brief, but the House will forgive me if I again ask how millions of pounds can be found to dispatch the task force to the South Atlantic when we cannot get the thousands of pounds that are necessary for our industrial future. It seems that our priorities are cockeyed.

9.45 pm
Mr. Ronald W. Brown (Hackney, South and Shoreditch)

I do not wish to follow the hon. Member for West Lothian (Mr. Dalyell) in his task force work. For the first time in 14 years, I do not have an interest to declare. The trade union that I had the privilege to represent has decided to go for divorce and, therefore, we are no longer together.

I should, however, like to comment on the decision to wind up the furniture and timber industry training board. I do not believe that the work that has so far been done gives the Minister the right to assume that all is satisfactory with the voluntary effort. The new arrangement in the furniture industry is a tripartite one between British Furniture Manufacturers, the Furniture, Timber and Allied Trades Union, and the educationists. They have agreed on the format, which is based on the 10 British Furniture Manufacturers' regions. I query whether that is right. It will do, because there is nothing in its place, but I am not sure whether the Minister has the right to discard what we now have on the basis of using what happens to be available. The BFM does not represent the whole industry by a long chalk.

The Minister must satisfy the House that the 10 BFM regions cover the entire furniture and timber industry. I am told that those regions intend to adopt the format of the Chiltern group in High Wycombe. That is an outstanding area. It is the obvious choice, because it is concentrated and cohesive, and has been for a long time. I understand that the voluntary arrangements there closely follow the training board principles. A levy is to be charged and a grant is to be given. I am told that the levy has been fixed at about £1.70 per head of those employed. I have no doubt that High Wycombe will do all that it can to make the system work. I believe that it will produce a good training strategy, but even that well-endowed area will have some difficulty maintaining its apprenticeship schemes.

The Ercol factory is the primary manufacturer in High Wycombe and provides about a third of the total number of apprentices trained. I doubt whether it will be able to maintain that record under the voluntary system. There is no doubt that Ercol will continue to train, but my concern is whether the rest of the industry will play its part under the voluntary system.

The best the MSC could do was to undertake to pay the funds for the rest of the year. When that money runs out, I believe that the momentum will drop and that the steam will run out of the system. The Minister is therefore taking an enormous risk by getting rid of the statutory system before he can possibly be satisfied that the new voluntary system can take up the slack. That is dealing with High Wycombe and I fondly believe that the people there will succeed, but what about the other nine regions? I have in mind London and, in particular, Hackney Road. If the House believes that the people there will do any training, it must be living in another world. The Minister should tell us what right he has to assert that the other nine regions will be able to emulate the Chiltern group. I do not believe that they will.

Before the Minister is willing to get rid of the present industrial training board, he should be certain in his mind that, in addition to the Chiltern group, the other nine regions will be able to do what is necessary. Unfortunately, there is no evidence that it will happen.

The hon. Member for Perth and East Perthshire (Mr. Walker) said that since 1964 we have inculcated training into industry and that we should now let industry grow its own wings. I am in favour of that, provided that it has learnt to fly. I do not think that the people in the furniture industry have learnt to fly. The industrial training board for the industry has worked very hard. I pay great tribute to the chairman, Mr. Burton, and to the secretary, Mr. Jim Sadler, who have endeavoured to bring the furniture industry to a very high standard. The industry has weathered the economic storms over the past three years much better because of the board, and not in spite of it.

I hope that the Minister, before he takes his final decision tonight, will tell me why he believes that the proposed system will be satisfactory. I ask him to give his absolute assurance that the 10 regions will be able to plan the training strategy for the industry as a whole—those outside the BFM as well as those inside it. If he is able to give me that assurance, will he then explain how he can control those who are outside? What opportunity will those in the industry outside the BFM have to take part in training procedures?

The industry is a cottage industry and it has had a tremendous beating. It suffers from foreign imports and from a wide range of problems. It is trying desperately hard to make its way forward, and it is entitled to know from the Minister that he will take proper precautions to ensure that, if the voluntary system does not work, the present system will be retained.

9.52 pm
Mr. Barry Jones (Flint, East)

The hon. Member for Rochdale (Mr. Smith) summed up our debate correctly when he said that this was a bad night for Britain's future, because there would be much less training. He was also right when he referred to the destruction by tonight's orders and by the previous orders of first-class training boards.

The House should pay tribute to those who have given a professional life to the training industry and who, as a result of tonight's orders and the previous orders, are now on the dole.

The Minister of State made a veiled attack on the food, drink and tobacco board. I thought that his remarks about vested interests were unjust. The highly esteemed director of the board, Mr. David Mitchell, who has eschewed political infighting, has written to the Under-Secretary of State saying: Very shortly I shall be relinquishing my position as director of the … Board. Before I do so, I feel I must write to express formally my deep regret that so many shallow schemes should be found acceptable by the Government as alternatives to our Board, and that so little is being done to help the worthwhile non-statutory schemes develop. A little further on he said: The Trade Union and educational representatives on my Board would dispute the use of the term 'tripartite' in connection with the proposals you appear to be approving. That able director has made other criticisms, namely, that the lack of independent monitoring of training will militate against any prospect of critical judgments on any individual employer's training methods.

Further, it is Mr. Mitchell's judgment, as well as that of the Opposition, that if some sectors in an industry merely set up a committee, those who have genuinely involved themselves in training at their own financial cost will speedily cease financially buttressing what is purposeful and professionally supervised training. Herein lies the core of our objections to proposals for training in an industry of more than 1.2 million employees. My hon. Friends the Members for Manchester, Blackley (Mr. Eastham) and Glasgow, Maryhill (Mr. Craigen) made these points in their succinct speeches.

The hon. Member for Hackney, South and Shoreditch (Mr. Brown) made a brief but impassioned speech about the furniture and timber board. The new proposals represent a pitiful picture for over 213,000 employees in that industry. In the Department's explanatory notes, reference is made to the national training executive post. The post was advertised by the British Furniture Manufacturers Association and I am informed that it is to be taken up by the association's existing deputy director. Those in the industry have cynically observed that no employee will have sole responsibility for national training policies. It is wrong of the Under-Secretary to permit such an arrangement to go forward.

As for the ceramics board, I put it to the Minister that it may be unwise for him to permit the asbestos and concrete industry to go out of the statutory system, given the increasing anxiety even about white asbestos and the fears that under a voluntary system the monitoring of training will decline, with inevitable consequences for health and safety training. The Minister should consider that small but important point.

Many right hon. and hon. Members have referred to the distributive industry. The Minister of State stabbed the board in the back, or at any rate he damned it with faint praise. The House should know that the industry employs well over 2½ million, many of whom are young and need training. On the eve of the winding up of the board, the Opposition say that the Government have behaved disgracefully. There have been no discussions with the trade unions; and no attempt has been made to ascertain the views of the further education colleges on the new arrangements. It appears to us that the Retail Consortium has been deliberately secretive about its plans. The Under-Secretary should tell the House what guarantees he has had from the Retail Consortium because the Opposition suspect that he had to press it extremely hard to get any semblance of organisation for training before he issued the order. We suspect that the industry has given him the minimum of arrangements necessary to enable him to defend his actions in the House.

Further, the Minister has sanctioned the order without any mention of training by the numerous wholesaling bodies. The new training council takes the reins from a board which has ably distributed £10 million-worth of grants. How much pump priming will the new training council undertake itself? Summing up the proposals for this board, we say that the Minister has sanctioned a disgraceful shambles. With a vengeance, he is signalling a return to pre-1968 days when no formalised training to any standards whatever was ever taken within the huge distributive industry.

I fear that the valuable political and industrial consensus which the existing statutory system represents is to be broken up irrevocably and that the remaining statutory boards and their staffs, observing the destruction of their lesser fellows, will become increasingly demoralised. Across the nation we shall see a fragmentation of training effort. The 16 boards are to be replaced by 100 voluntary arrangements. They can be described as a plethora of employer-dominated committees deviod of teeth and meaningful sanctions. We fear that there will be large cuts in Britain's full-time supporting arrangements. From 800 officers in 16 boards in 1980 we shall have between 100 and 200 trainers in the ensuing voluntary organisations.

Britain is fighting for its economic life. The depression is deepening and unemployment is growing. The Opposition fear that ailing companies and profit-hungry employers will jettison voluntary training cash contributions at the first sign of approaching troubles. We think that Ministers have been taken for a ride. They know that if voluntarism fails the training industry will again be nationalised. The least that the Minister can do is to say that he will think again and present the House with better arrangements.

10.2 pm

The Under-Secretary of State for Employment (Mr. Peter Morrison)

I agree with the hon. Member for Flint, East (Mr. Jones), my hon. Friend the Member for Beeston (Mr. Lester) and all those who have paid tributes to the boards' staff. I pay tribute also to the chairmen of the boards and to board members.

The difference between this debate and the previous debate on other boards is that we now have full agreement on the new training initiative and the youth training scheme. That was not so when we debated the first set of eight orders. All the parties involved, including Labour Members, the CBI, the TUC, voluntary organisations and the Manpower Services Commission, agree that the objectives of the new training initiative and the youth training scheme offer the best way ahead. As my hon. Friend the Member for Perth and East Perthshire (Mr. Walker) said, it is against that backdrop that we should be considering the decisions that we are taking on the six boards.

The backcloth is a more flexible approach to training. A greater emphasis will be placed on standards than hitherto. We are getting away from age barriers and time serving and in these respects there is a reasonable consensus throughout the House.

First, I shall take up the remarks of the hon. Member for West Lothian (Mr. Dalyell). I shall refrain from saying too much about his speech because it was directed to a board that is not being discussed. I hope that he appreciates that I am aware of his great concern about Motec at Livingston. He has been to see me about the matter. As I have told him in the past, it is for the board to come to a decision. However, I listened carefully to the strong sentiments that he expressed about a training centre in his constituency, about which he feels strongly.

The hon. Member for Manchester, Blackley (Mr. Eastham) was right to remind the House that Conservative Governments have been primarily responsible for legislation on training. It is therefore reasonable to ask why we are undoing in some instances what our predecessors did. There are four reasons behind the course we are pursuing. Like our predecessors in the 1960s and the 1970s, we want to look forward to the needs of the future. We do not want to look backwards.

Secondly, it is a fair comment that some of the decisions—not all of them—that we have taken are a compliment to the boards themselves. During their existence, they have managed to change attitudes towards training in their industries. Thirdly, the circumstances in which some boards were established have radically changed. Fourthly, about 50 per cent. of industry has operated under a non-statutory system and has survived perfectly well.

I have made it clear during the past year that the relationship between those sectors which are going from the statutory system to the non-statutory system and the Manpower Services Commission should be developed. I shall expect, so long as I am Minister, to keep in touch through that channel. I shall be monitoring the way ahead of voluntary training arrangements.

In the last three years, Ministers have received large volumes of correspondence about the ITBs. The great majority of opinion has been against the continuation of statutory boards. It is taking the argument too far to suggest that the Government are irrationally opposed to the continuation of the boards and irrationally biased against them. We are keeping seven of the 23 boards with over half the number of employees at present covered by statutory boards. This is either because employers want them or because they cannot at this stage envisage successful voluntary arrangements [Interruption.] Although the Opposition Deputy Chief Whip obviously does not wish me to answer the debate, his right hon. and hon. Friends will, I think, prefer that I do so. There have been certain accusations that I did not answer the first debate.

The right hon. Member for Doncaster (Mr. Walker) pointed out that the chairmen of all the boards had written to my right hon. Friend the Member for Lowestoft (Mr. Prior) when he was Secretary of State for Employment saying that they wished to see the statutory system retained. I am not surprised that they took that action. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will accept that they had a certain vested interest. There is nothing wrong in that. We should not necessarily disregard those who write with a vested interest. We did take into account the points made by the right hon. Gentleman.

The hon. Member for Flint, East talked about union attitudes and participation in the boards, and the non-statutory arrangements to replace those boards.

A good deal has been said today about the Government and employer organisations ignoring union views. That criticism is very wide of the mark. My door is always open to trade union officials. I think that is fairly widely known. I have had over 140 meetings on statutory training boards during my 17 months as a Minister. Some union officials have taken part in delegations from ITBs to see me. Despite my never having turned down one trade union official, the number of meetings I have had with unions can be counted on the fingers of one hand. Very few unions seem to have wanted to take the trouble to put their views to me.

There has been further criticism that unions have not been sufficiently involved in planning alternative training arrangements. Both the MSC and I have laid great stress on this in our discussions with employer organisations. In virtually every case employer organisations have offered trade unions the opportunity to discuss future training arrangements.

Reference has also been made to whether sufficient resources are being made available for the non-statutory training arrangements. I do not think that that is comparing like with like. As the right hon. Member for Doncaster and the hon. Member for Flint, East realise, if one has levies and exemptions from levies a large bureaucracy is involved. That means that there are people who are not involved with the pure training aspect, but who do the paperwork necessary under the statutory system.

I turn to the boards that we are discussing tonight. The position in the shipbuilding board has changed radically. About 80 per cent. of the employees who are within the board's scope are part of British Shipbuilders, which has been created since the board came into existence. The right hon. Member for Doncaster referred to a training centre. A tripartite trust has been set up including unions, educationists and employers. It is intended that the training centre will be passed to that trust.

The hon. Member for Rochdale (Mr. Smith) referred, for understandable reasons as he lives close by, to the cotton and allied textiles board. Training has been carried out according to the board's standards by firms employing about 83 per cent. of those in scope to the board. As the hon. Member for Rochdale will appreciate, the number of those in scope to the board when it was first set up was 220,000. Due to the contraction in the industry, there are now fewer than 100,000 employees. That must make one ask whether the board should continue in existence, regardless of the current review.

The ceramics, glass and mineral products board was discussed at great length by my right hon. Friend, so do not intend to refer to it any further.

Mr. Golding

Has the Minister brought the letter that the Minister of State could not bring? Could he read the name and address and the companies concerned so that we can monitor future performance?

Mr. Morrison

The letter comes from the British Aggregate Construction Materials Industries. It was written by its director-general, Mr. Robert Phillipson, to my right hon. Friend on 7 July 1982.

I listened carefully to what my hon. Friend the Member for Uxbridge (Mr. Shersby) said about the food, drink and tobacco board and I agree with him that there is no doubt that the voluntary arrangements are satisfactory. I have had conversations with the meat industry and there is no doubt that there too the arrangements are successful.

The distributive board's video centre, to which the right hon. Member for Doncaster referred, is a matter of discussion between myself and the chairman and director of the board. I wrote to them last week. No decisions have been taken, but I assure the right hon. Gentleman that I am watching the matter carefully.

The review of training boards has gone on for about three years. The consultative process could not have been wider and decisions have not been taken lightly. Therefore, it must be right for the House to reject the Prayer.

Question put:

The House divided: Ayes 244, Noes 302.

Division No. 285] [10.15 pm
Abse, Leo Deakins, Eric
Adams, Allen Dean, Joseph (Leeds West)
Allaun, Frank Dewar, Donald
Alton, David Dixon, Donald
Anderson, Donald Dobson, Frank
Archer, Rt Hon Peter Dormand, Jack
Ashley, Rt Hon Jack Dubs, Alfred
Ashton, Joe Duffy, A. E. P.
Atkinson, N. (H'gey,) Dunnett, Jack
Bagier, Gordon AT. Dunwoody, Hon Mrs G.
Barnett, Guy (Greenwich) Eadie, Alex
Barnett, Rt Hon Joel (H'wd) Eastham, Ken
Beith, A. J. Edwards, R. (W'hampt'n S E)
Benn, Rt Hon Tony Ellis, R. (NE D'bysh're)
Bennett, Andrew (St'kp't N) Ellis, Tom (Wrexham)
Bidwell, Sydney English, Michael
Booth, Rt Hon Albert Evans, loan (Aberdare)
Boothroyd, Miss Betty Evans, John (Newton)
Bottomley, Rt Hon A. (M'b'ro) Ewing, Harry
Bray, Dr Jeremy Faulds, Andrew
Brown, Hugh D. (Provan) Field, Frank
Brown, R. C. (N'castle W) Fitch, Alan
Brown, Ronald W. (H'ckn'y S) Flannery, Martin
Brown, Ron (E'burgh, Leith) Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)
Buchan, Norman Foot, Rt Hon Michael
Callaghan, Rt Hon J. Forrester, John
Callaghan, Jim (Midd't'n & P) Foster, Derek
Campbell, Ian Foulkes, George
Campbell-Savours, Dale Fraser, J. (Lamb'th, N'w'd)
Canavan, Dennis Freud, Clement
Cant, R. B. Garrett, John (Norwich S)
Carmichael, Neil Garrett, W. E. (Wallsend)
Carter-Jones, Lewis George, Bruce
Cartwright, John Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr John
Clark, Dr David (S Shields) Ginsburg, David
Clarke, Thomas C'b'dge, A'rie Golding, John
Cocks, Rt Hon M. (B'stol S) Gourlay, Harry
Cohen, Stanley Graham, Ted
Coleman, Donald Grant, John (Islington C)
Conlan, Bernard Hamilton, James (Bothwell)
Cook, Robin F. Hamilton, W. W. (C'tral Fife)
Cowans, Harry Hardy, Peter
Cox, T. (W'dsw'th, Toot'g) Harrison, Rt Hon Walter
Craigen, J. M. (G'gow, M'hill) Hart, Rt Hon Dame Judith
Crawshaw, Richard Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy
Crowther, Stan Healey, Rt Hon Denis
Cryer, Bob Heffer, Eric S.
Cunliffe, Lawrence Hogg, N. (E Dunb't'nshire)
Cunningham, Dr J. (W'h'n) Holland, S. (L'b'th, Vauxh'll)
Dalyell, Tam Home Robertson, John
Davidson, Arthur Homewood, William
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (L'lli) Hooley, Frank
Davis, Clinton (Hackney C) Howell, Rt Hon D.
Davis, Terry (B'ham, Stechf'd) Hoyle, Douglas
Huckfield, Les Rees, Rt Hon M (Leeds S)
Hughes, Mark (Durham) Richardson, Jo
Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N) Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Hughes, Roy (Newport) Roberts, Allan (Bootle)
Janner, Hon Greville Roberts, Ernest (Hackney N)
Jay, Rt Hon Douglas Roberts, Gwilym (Cannock)
John, Brynmor Robertson, George
Johnson, James (Hull West) Robinson, G. (Coventry NW)
Johnson, Walter (Derby S) Rodgers, Rt Hon William
Jones, Rt Hon Alec (Rh'dda) Rooker, J. W.
Jones, Barry (East Flint) Roper, John
Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald Ross, Ernest (Dundee West)
Kerr, Russell Ross, Stephen (Isle of Wight)
Kilfedder, James A. Rowlands, Ted
Kilroy-Silk, Robert Ryman, John
Lambie, David Sever, John
Lamond, James Sheerman, Barry
Leadbitter, Ted Sheldon, Rt Hon R.
Leighton, Ronald Shore, Rt Hon Peter
Lewis, Arthur (N'ham NW) Short, Mrs Renée
Lewis, Ron (Carlisle) Silkin, Rt Hon J. (Deptford)
Litherland, Robert Silkin, Rt Hon S. C. (Dulwich)
Lofthouse, Geoffrey Silverman, Julius
Lyon, Alexander (York) Skinner, Dennis
Lyons, Edward (Bradf'd W) Smith, Cyril (Rochdale)
Mabon, Rt Hon Dr J. Dickson Smith, Rt Hon J. (N Lanark)
McCartney, Hugh Snape, Peter
McDonald, Dr Oonagh Soley, Clive
McElhone, Frank Spearing, Nigel
McGuire, Michael (Ince) Spriggs, Leslie
McKay, Allen (Penistone) Stallard, A. W.
McKelvey, William Steel, Rt Hon David
MacKenzie, Rt Hon Gregor Stewart, Rt Hon D. (W Isles)
McMahon, Andrew Stoddart, David
McNally, Thomas Strang, Gavin
McWilliam, John Summerskill, Hon Dr Shirley
Marks, Kenneth Thomas, Dafydd (Merioneth)
Marshall, D(G'gow S'ton) Thomas, Dr R. (Carmarthen)
Marshall, Dr Edmund (Goole) Thorne, Stan (Preston South)
Marshall, Jim (Leicester S) Tilley, John
Martin, M (G'gow S'burn) Tinn, James
Mason, Rt Hon Roy Torney, Tom
Maxton, John Urwin, Rt Hon Tom
Maynard, Miss Joan Varley, Rt Hon Eric G.
Meacher, Michael Wainwright, E. (Dearne V)
Mikardo, Ian Wainwright, R. (Colne V)
Millan, Rt Hon Bruce Walker, Rt Hon H. (D'caster)
Miller, Dr M. S. (E Kilbride) Watkins, David
Mitchell, Austin (Grimsby) Weetch, Ken
Morris, Rt Hon A. (W'shawe) Welsh, Michael
Morris, Rt Hon C. (O'shaw) White, Frank R.
Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon) White, J. (G'gow Pollok)
Moyle, Rt Hon Roland Whitehead, Phillip
Mulley, Rt Hon Frederick Whitlock, William
Newens, Stanley Willey, Rt Hon Frederick
O'Halloran, Michael Williams, Rt Hon A. (S'sea W)
O'Neill, Martin Wilson, Gordon (Dundee E)
Orme, Rt Hon Stanley Wilson, Rt Hon Sir H. (H'ton)
Palmer, Arthur Wilson, William (C'try SE)
Park, George Winnick, David
Parker, John Woodall, Alec
Parry, Robert Woolmer, Kenneth
Pavitt, Laurie Wrigglesworth, Ian
Pendry, Tom Wright, Sheila
Penhaligon, David Young, David (Bolton E)
Pitt, William Henry
Powell, Raymond (Ogmore) Tellers for the Ayes:
Prescott, John Mr. Frank Haynes and
Price, C. (Lewisham W) Mr. George Morton.
Race, Reg
Radice, Giles
Adley, Robert Aspinwall, Jack
Aitken, Jonathan Atkins, Rt Hon H. (S'thorne)
Alexander, Richard Atkins, Rober (Preston N)
Alison, Rt Hon Michael Atkinson, David (B'm'th,E)
Amery, Rt Hon Julian Baker, Kenneth (St.M'bone)
Ancram, Michael Baker, Nicholas (N Dorset)
Arnold, Tom Banks, Robert
Beaumont-Dark, Anthony Fookes, Miss Janet
Bendall, Vivian Forman, Nigel
Bennett, Sir Frederic (T'bay) Fowler, Rt Hon Norman
Benyon, Thomas (A'don) Fraser, Rt Hon Sir Hugh
Best, Keith Fraser, Peter (South Angus)
Bevan, David Gilroy Fry, Peter
Biffen, Rt Hon John Gardner, Edward (S Fylde)
Biggs-Davison, Sir John Garel-Jones, Tristan
Blackburn, John Glyn, Dr Alan
Blaker, Peter Goodhew, Sir Victor
Body, Richard Goodlad, Alastair
Bonsor, Sir Nicholas Gorst, John
Boscawen, Hon Robert Gow, Ian
Bottomley, Peter (W'wich W) Gower, Sir Raymond
Bowden, Andrew Grant, Anthony (Harrow C)
Boyson, Dr Rhodes Gray, Hamish
Braine, Sir Bernard Greenway, Harry
Bright, Graham Griffiths, E. (B'y St. Edm'ds)
Brinton, Tim Griffiths, Peter Portsm'th N)
Brittan, Rt. Hon. Leon Grist, Ian
Brooke, Hon Peter Grylls, Michael
Brotherton, Michael Gummer, John Selwyn
Brown, Michael (Brigg & Sc'n) Hamilton, Hon A.
Bruce-Gardyne, John Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)
Bryan, Sir Paul Hampson, Dr Keith
Buck, Antony Hannam, John
Budgen, Nick Haselhurst, Alan
Bulmer, Esmond Havers, Rt Hon Sir Michael
Burden, Sir Frederick Hawkins, Sir Paul
Butcher, John Hawksley, Warren
Butler, Hon Adam Hayhoe, Barney
Cadbury, Jocelyn Heath, Rt Hon Edward
Carlisle, John (Luton West) Heddle, John
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln) Henderson, Barry
Carlisle, Rt Hon M. (R'c'n) Heseltine, Rt Hon Michael
Chalker, Mrs. Lynda Higgins, Rt Hon Terence L.
Channon, Rt. Hon. Paul Hill, James
Chapman, Sydney Hogg, Hon Douglas (Gr'th'm)
Churchill, W. S. Holland, Philip (Carlton)
Clark, Hon A. (Plym'th, S'n) Hooson, Tom
Clark, Sir W. (Croydon S) Hordern, Peter
Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Howe, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey
Clegg, Sir Walter Howell, Rt Hon D. (G'ldf'd)
Colvin, Michael Howell, Ralph (N Norfolk)
Cope, John Hunt, David (Wirral)
Cormack, Patrick Hunt, John (Ravensbourne)
Corrie, John Hurd, Rt Hon Douglas
Costain, Sir Albert Irvine, Bryant Godman
Cranborne, Viscount Irving, Charles (Cheltenham)
Critchley, Julian Jenkin, Rt Hon Patrick
Crouch, David Jessel, Toby
Dickens, Geoffrey Johnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey
Dorrell, Stephen Jopling, Rt Hon Michael
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord J. Joseph, Rt Hon Sir Keith
Dover, Denshore Kaberry, Sir Donald
du Cann, Rt Hon Edward Kellett-Bowman, Mrs Elaine
Dunn, Robert (Dartford) Kershaw, Sir Anthony
Durant, Tony Kimball, Sir Marcus
Dykes, Hugh King, Rt Hon Tom
Eden, Rt Hon Sir John Kitson, Sir Timothy
Edwards, Rt Hon N. (P'broke) Knight, Mrs Jill
Eggar, Tim Knox, David
Elliott, Sir William Lamont, Norman
Eyre, Reginald Lang, Ian
Fairbairn, Nicholas Langford-Holt, Sir John
Fairgrieve, Sir Russell Latham, Michael
Faith, Mrs Sheila Lawrence, Ivan
Farr, John Lawson, Rt Hon Nigel
Fell, Sir Anthony Lee, John
Fenner, Mrs Peggy Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark
Finsberg, Geoffrey Lester, Jim (Beeston)
Fisher, Sir Nigel Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)
Fletcher, A. (Ed'nb'gh N) Lloyd, Ian (Havant & W'loo)
Fletcher-Cooke, Sir Charles Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)

Question accordingly negatived.