HC Deb 18 December 1984 vol 70 cc147-8
8. Mr. Ashdown

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will publish figures showing the number of trainees with special education or special training needs currently training within the youth training scheme; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Peter Morrison

These figures are not available, as youngsters with special education or special training needs are not separately categorised. However, all youngsters who are eligible for the youth training scheme are offered training designed to meet their individual needs.

Mr. Ashdown

As the Education Act 1981 requires that special educational needs should be met, does the Minister believe that those figures should be kept to ensure that the Act is being followed? Does he realise that in present circumstances the buck is being passed between the MSC and the local education authority as to who should provide for those needs, in such a way, for instance, that in Yeovil only 2 per cent. of the estimated 20 per cent. are receiving the special education required?

Mr. Morrison

As I said to the hon. Gentleman the other day, if there are cases that he wishes to bring to my attention, I shall look at them. There are a variety of different schemes under modes A and B. They are tailored to help all youngsters, whatever their needs may be.

Mr. Lawler

I am sure my hon. Friend agrees that most young people regard YTS as a worthwhile scheme which will help them to secure permanent employment in the future. What proportion of relevant school leavers this year have gained YTS places, and how many are left to fulfil the pledge that all eligible youngsters will receive a place before Christmas?

Mr. Morrison

On the latter point, I can assure my hon. Friend that we are confident that the Christmas undertaking in respect of minimum age school leavers will be kept. What is gratifying at this stage is that the number of youngsters joining the scheme is substantially up compared with last year. I am most grateful to my hon. Friend for what he does to help the scheme along.

Mr. Eastham

Is it not a fact that mode A is run privately by the employers, who make virtually no provision for handicapped people, while mode B is, in the main, provided by local authorities? The Government cut mode B last year, which will be to the detriment of handicapped students.

Mr. Morrison

I am not sure from what facts and figures the hon. Gentleman is talking. There are a substantial number of disabled youngsters on mode A schemes. On mode B, I am sure that the hon. Gentleman will agree that it is a waste of taxpayers' money to have schemes open but not filled at a cost of £2,000 per approved place. That is not what either of us wants.