HC Deb 05 February 1985 vol 72 c735
7. Mr. Teddy Taylor

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many persons are now being employed on the various job creation and protection measures covered by the Manpower Services Commission.

Mr. Peter Morrison

At the end of December, 662,000 people were being helped by our employment and training measures. Of these, 478,000 were on schemes administered by the Manpower Services Commission.

Mr. Taylor

Are not those dramatic figures an answer to those who say that the Government are doing nothing about unemployment? Nevertheless, has my hon. Friend found an answer to the problem of JEGS Electrical of Southend, which would like to add to those figures, but has been told by the Department that it cannot get a grant if it pays young workers more than £40 a week, and by the wages council that it will be sent to prison if it does not pay them £40.05? Can he find a solution to the problem and make those figures even more dramatic?

Mr. Morrison

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for what he said about the schemes run by the Manpower Services Commission. Contrary to what the Opposition say, those schemes are extremely popular. My hon. Friend will have heard the reply of my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary about wages councils in that regard.

Mr. Campbell-Savours

Is the Minister aware that many of the young people in west Cumberland who are in trouble with the police, on whatever charge, whether poaching or vandalism, are in trouble only because they do not have, but want, work? In so far as the community programme gives them the opportunity to work, particularly that age group, will the Minister ensure that when the Budget is announced every representation will have been made to the Chancellor of the Exchequer to ensure an expansion of that programme because we desperately need those places in west Cumberland?

Mr. Morrison

I am aware that in Cumbria all 16-year-olds and, in effect, all 17-year-olds, have the opportunity of a place on a youth training scheme. I am also aware that the hon. Gentleman has worked hard on and been of great support to the community programme. I listened carefully to what he had to say about it.