HC Deb 17 January 1989 vol 145 cc139-40
3. Mr. Greg Knight

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many representations he has received on his proposal to create a national training task force contained in the White Paper, "Employment for the 1990s", and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Fowler

I have received a number of representations on the proposal to create a national training task force. This has now been appointed and I am delighted that leading figures in industry and commerce, education, training, voluntary bodies and trade unions have agreed to serve on it.

Mr. Knight

Does my right hon. Friend agree that this is a most important body which will have responsibility for steering training in the future? Will he tell the House whom he has appointed to serve on the national training task force, or at least give us one or two names of those appointed, and how he envisages them carrying out their role?

Mr. Fowler

I will not set out all the people who are on the national training task force, but suffice it to say that they include the chief executive of IBM UK, the chairmen of the Scottish Development Agency, Tarmac plc, HTV Limited, and National Freight Consortium plc, and the president of the Amalgamated Engineering Union, whom I am sure the hon. Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Meacher) will recognise. The fact that such leading figures are taking part shows the importance that industry generally and the leaders of industry are placing on training.

Mrs. Mahon

Does the Minister have any plans to do anything about training for the growing army of homeworkers, which is an emerging subculture in our sweatshop economy? What training plans does he have for people currently earning 24p per hour as a result of the Government's policies? What instructions has he given to the task force to help those people?

Mr. Fowler

I do not believe that those people come under the remit of the task force. I shall, however, consider any evidence that the hon. Lady wishes to send to me. The whole purpose of the task force is to get the training and enterprise councils established to encourage training by employers throughout the country.

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