HC Deb 18 March 1986 vol 94 cc145-6
1. Mr. Ron Brown

asked the Paymaster General how many individuals are currently receiving YTS training in the Leith area.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Employment (Mr. David Trippier)

I regret that the information is not available in the precise form requested. However, at the end of February, the latest date for which statistics are available, there were 2,113 young people in training in the Edinburgh local authority district.

Mr. Brown

Having learnt the lessons of the case of James McCormack, will the Minister advise the Chancellor of the Exchequer to provide money to compensate trainees which have been injured or maimed through these cheap labour schemes? Will he tell the Chancellor that even a death grant must be provided to families who suffer fatalities? Is he suggesting that the Government, who are allegedly a caring Government, care only about profits and big business, not about the people who matter, particularly youngsters on youth training schemes?

Mr. Trippier

I am aware of the sad case of the hon. Gentleman's constituent and of the fact that compensation was made in that case. I find it very disquieting that the hon. Gentleman should try to rubbish the YTS by referring to it as cheap labour, just as I deplore the fact that the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, East (Mr. Prescott), the shadow spokesman on employment, chose to call the youngsters on the scheme skivvy labour. I cannot think of any greater insult to those young people.

Mr. Colvin

Is my hon. Friend satisfied that enough YTS places are provided by the Civil Service? If not, what can be done to encourage the Civil Service to provide more YTS places in Leith and elsewhere?

Mr. Trippier

My hon. Friend raises a topical issue. We are considering that matter.

Mr. Wainwright

Is it not a sad reflection on youth training in Edinburgh and elsewhere that, at the recent skill Olympics attended by 19 nations, at which 108 medals were awarded for a great variety of skills, the United Kingdom obtained only two? They were awarded, not for engineering, electronics or manufacturing, but for ladies hairdressing and jewellery.

Mr. Trippier

The hon. Gentleman will have to look more positively at YTS. It is, after all, a well tried and proven scheme which has not been found wanting. A very high percentage of youngsters who have participated in it have found full-time employment or gone on to further education. That is what we are concerned about. We know that we have a success. That is why we are developing and strengthening it into a two-year scheme.

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