HC Deb 21 February 1984 vol 54 cc688-9
10. Mr. Corbyn

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many jobs have been subsidised, and at what cost, under the young workers scheme; and what has been the net addition to employment resulting from the scheme.

Mr. Alan Clark

Two hundred and seventy nine applications had been approved up to 31 December 1983, at an estimated cost of about £80 million. A survey recently indicates that about a fifth of approvals were for jobs that would not otherwise have existed.

Mr. Corbyn

Does the Secretary of State agree that the figures that he read out show that the cost of creating non-existent and non-permanent jobs is very high? Would not the Government do better to support local authorities, such as the Greater London council, in setting up such organisations as the Greater London Enterprise Board, which provides real opportunities for permanent jobs for youngsters, rather than the disgrace of consignment to short-term jobs and long-term unemployment which so many youngsters are forced to face because of Government policies?

Mr. Clark

The hon. Gentleman has his views to which his doctrine—and, for all I know, the pressures of his general management committee—oblige him to subscribe. But if he had spoken, as I have, to youngsters on the scheme, and to their parents, he might moderate his views.

Mr. Haselhurst

Notwithstanding the revised role that the Government have ordained for the young workers scheme, will my hon. Friend keep his mind open to the possibility that those resources could be better used to enhance the youth training scheme so that it could cover all in the age range 16 to 18?

Mr. Clark

I believe that the youth training scheme will cover that whole range. Certainly there is scope for switching resources, and that may well happen.

Mr. Sheerman

With the large subsidy to employers to employ youngsters on the young workers scheme, why is an obligation not placed on those employers to include an element of training in that year's scheme? Is it not a serious deficiency that the young workers scheme, deliberately introduced to reduce young people's wages, has no training element in it?

Mr. Clark

The training element is principally present in the youth training scheme. The young workers scheme has two objects — to effect a governing of young persons' wages so that more of them will be eligible for employment and, secondly—as frequently happens—to ensure that in 90 per cent. of cases they are retained in their job at the end of the period of eligibility.