HC Deb 13 February 1990 vol 167 cc129-30
8. Mr. Hunter

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will make a further statement on his policy for retraining the long-term unemployed.

Mr. Eggar

There are 207,000 people currently on employment training. Fifty-eight per cent. of those completing ET have gone into jobs, self-employment or further full-time training or education. Training enterprise councils, or local enterprise companies in Scotland, will be taking responsibility for employment training.

Mr. Hunter

Will my hon. Friend remind the House of the fall that there has been in the number of long-term unemployed during the past two years or so? Is not that fall clear evidence that the ET programmes are not only the largest of their kind in Europe, but the most effective?

Mr. Eggar

Yes, there has been a significant fall in long-term unemployment in this country. Indeed, the number of long-term unemployed has fallen more sharply over the past year or so than has the number of unemployed people as a whole.

Mr. Leighton

Is the Minister of State aware that in December the Training Commission told the Select Committee on Employment that 45 per cent. dropped out before getting to the training agent; that there was a further drop-out of up to 80 per cent. before getting to the training manager; that, of the small minority who actually started training, 70 per cent. did not complete their original action plan; and that, of those who completed their training, 42 per cent. did not get jobs? Does the Minister agree that that shambles is a result of the fact that the programme is underfunded? Does he realise that he will not be regarded as dealing seriously with the matter unless he puts more money into the system? Under the public expenditure plans that we shall be debating today, investment is being cut. Until he improves the programme, he is not likely to be taken seriously.

Mr. Eggar

As the whole House recognises, the hon. Gentleman knows a great deal about the matter. What he failed to point out is that all the statistics that he quoted are considerably better in respect of employment training than they were either in respect of the community programme or in respect of the job training scheme. Like him—and he took evidence from officials about drop-out—we are very much aware of the problem. We are considering ways of minimising that problem in a constructive way. An investigation is going on at the moment, and I am sure that, in due course, the hon. Gentleman and his Committee colleagues will be able to see the proposals that we shall bring forward to deal with the problem to which he alludes.

Back to