HC Deb 08 March 1983 vol 38 cc689-90
1. Mr. Hooley

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many boys and girls who left school in the summer of 1982 were still without a job or training place by 31 December 1982.

The Secretary of State for Employment (Mr. Norman Tebbit)

By 31 December 1982 fewer than 8,000 of the 600,000 1982 school leavers were without a job or the offer of a place on the youth opportunities programme.

Mr. Hooley

That is another promise that has gone down the drain. What will happen to the thousands of boys and girls on the youth training programme when they complete that exercise? Where will they go, what type of jobs will they have, and what is their future?

Mr. Tebbit

I am sorry that the hon. Gentleman should not have a kind word to say about any of the employers, the Manpower Services Commission, the trade unions and the others who have managed to get within an ace of carrying through that Christmas undertaking. The hon. Gentleman's attitude is mean and carping. As for the youngsters who will be going on the youth training scheme in September of this year, if the YOP scheme is an example, the YTS should do better in our economic circumstances. More than half the youngsters will be accommodated in either jobs or further training as they leave the YTS—[An HON. MEMBER: "Real jobs?"]—They will be real jobs. I hope that the hon. Gentleman will have one, one day.

Mr. Marlow

Does my right hon. Friend agree that one of the Government's greatest successes has been their imaginative approach to the training of young people in a way that has never been done by any previous Government?

Mr. Tebbit

Yes. When the Government started and approved the youth training scheme, the right hon. Member for Crosby (Mrs. Williams) was sufficiently gracious to say that she wished she could have persuaded her colleagues in the Socialist Government to do that. She congratulated the Government on their initiative.

Mr. Barry Jones

As there are more than 250,000 17 and 18 year-olds out of work, does the right hon. Gentleman agree that he carries a heavy responsibility for that human tragedy?

Mr. Tebbit

I carry responsibilities. I look forward to doing so for the next five, 10 or 15 years. The hon. Gentleman must understand that this country is not the only one suffering from unemployment or the tragedy of youth unemployment. Britain is coping better than most.