HC Deb 19 June 1984 vol 62 cc134-5
14. Mr. Lawler

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he is now in a position to announce his conclusions on the recommendations in the Thompson report on the youth service about providing for a statutory basis for the youth service and the establishment of a National Youth Advisory Council.

Mr. Brooke

My right hon. Friend expects consideration of the outstanding recommendations in the report of the review group on the youth service, including those on legislation and on an advisory council, to be completed in time for a Government response very shortly.

Mr. Lawler

I thank my hon. Friend for that reply. Does he appreciate the uncertainty caused by the Government's long delay in issuing a response both to the outstanding recommendations of the Thompson report and the Cockerill report? Is he aware that this uncertainty is felt by those involved in the youth service and is having an effect on planning in the National Youth Bureau, where there is a certain amount of demoralisation among the staff? Therefore, will my hon. Friend hasten the Government's response?

Mr. Brooke

I take my hon. Friend's comment about uncertainty, but if a week is a long time in politics, a month is a hiccup in history. I hope that the time that we are taking on investigation will lead to the right answers coming through. As to the National Youth Bureau, the framing of a comprehensive response to the report will need to take account of the Government's response to the youth service report. Consideration is being given to the report on the bureau.

Mr. Sheerman

Is the Minister aware that during the period of almost two years when his Department has been sitting on the report, all its recommendations have been a lowest common denominator for the youth service? Is he aware that at this time, when 1.25 million young people under 25 are unemployed, the needs and demands for a youth service are greater than ever? Further, is he aware that next year is the international year of youth? Perhaps his Government will not be very interested in that, because the themes of that year are peace, participation and democracy.

Mr. Brooke

It is not wholly correct to say that the Government have been sitting on the report for two years, as there was a substantial consultation period, and this Government believe in consultation. As to the hon. Member's question about the international youth year, I hestitate to correct him, but the third objective is development and not democracy.

Mr. Haselhurst

Can my hon. Friend say how many young people have grown old since the proposals that Thompson reiterates first saw the light of day and were ignored by previous Governments? Can he resolve to be the first Minister in history to come to the House with positive proposals in this respect?

Mr. Brooke

I know the part that my hon. Friend has played in this process in the past. He looks so youthful himself that he is a tribute to his own stamina in this regard.