HC Deb 07 December 1988 vol 143 cc297-8
4. Mr. Rowe

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what discussions he has held concerning employment and training and inner-city policy; and if he will make a statement.

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister of Trade and Industry (Mr. Tony Newton)

The measures available under the DTI's enterprise initiative already recognise that some areas of the country require additional assistance to encourage enterprise and growth.

Mr. Rowe

My right hon. Friend will be aware of some of the evidence given recently to the Select Committee on Employment about the lack of provision for training in some of the urban development corporations. Will he give an assurance that he will take into account some of the excellent suggestions made in that evidence and elsewhere for improving the position, because the need is urgent?

Mr. Newton

My hon. Friend knows the importance that we attach to employment and training issues in relation to inner-city policy. They are the subject of frequent discussion. I shall certainly take account of my hon. Friend's comments in considering the points made.

Mr. Vaz

When the right hon. Gentleman considers future inner-city policy, will he learn from the mistakes that were made with the establishment of the inner-city task forces? Will he ensure that local authorities, such as mine in Leicester, are consulted fully before any of these policies are put into effect? Will he also consider extending the inner-city initiatives to the outer areas of cities, which suffer from similar problems to those in inner-city areas?

Mr. Newton

As it happens, I was in Leicester yesterday and visited the task force area with which the hon. Gentleman is concerned. It seems to be doing very good work. I must say gently that it takes two to achieve the degree of co-operation that the hon. Gentleman and I would like to see. I hope that it will be possible to work as co-operatively as both of us would like.

On the hon. Gentleman's other point, of course there are other places which suffer significant problems and that is one point that we shall bear in mind as we consider the deployment of the task force effort.