HC Deb 03 March 1987 vol 111 cc711-2
1. Mr. Ray Powell

asked the Paymaster General what funds he proposes to allocate to each of the Government's employment creation programmes in 1987–88; and if he will make a statement.

The Paymaster General and Minister for Employment (Mr. Kenneth Clarke)

The public expenditure White Paper provides for total expenditure in 1987–88 of over £3,000 million on employment, enterprise and training measures. Details of the expenditure proposed for each of the measures will be published shortly in the Supply Estimates.

Mr. Powell

Will the Paymaster General admit that the funding for the new job training scheme which he suggests has been transferred from existing adult training programmes? Is it not true that a number of the major trade unions have expressed reservations regarding the safeguarding of quality training and that the quality training has been abandoned?

Mr. Clarke

The new job training scheme, to which the hon. Gentleman refers, will cost £216 million, and of that £102 million will be in addition to the adult training budget. There will be some switching from other parts of the programme to the extent that the new scheme provides a better option for some of the people being trained. However, we are still greatly increasing the number being trained and we will certainly be giving them quality training. The Trades Union Congress is not expressing reservations generally of the sort that the hon. Gentleman has described, despite the attempts of some Opposition spokesmen to persuade the TUC to oppose it.

Mr. Gregory

Did not the Labour Government propose a youth training scheme, but disregard it as being too expensive and beyond their capabilities?

Mr. Clarke

I believe that to be the case. The present youth training scheme, which now costs £1 billion, is a high quality scheme that was devised, introduced and improved by the Government in the face of constant carping by most of the official Opposition spokesmen.

Mr. Foot

If the right hon. and learned Gentleman will examine the matter again, he will discover that what he has just said is false. There was no scrapping of such a scheme by the previous Labour Government, so would he get the facts right about that? Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman tell us how much of the extra burden for the new programme is to fall on local authorities? Some of it is being paid for by the local authorities and we would like to know how much.

Mr. Clarke

There is absolutely no extra cost to fall on local authorities. It is up to local authorities to decide whether they are going to be managing agents in the ordinary way.

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