HC Deb 22 October 1991 vol 196 cc788-9
11. Mr. Amess

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many Government training places were available for young people aged 16 to 18 years in (a) 1978–79 and (b) currently.

Mr. Howard

In England and Wales in 1978–79 there were on average about 6,000 young people receiving training in the youth opportunities programme compared with 260.000 now in youth training.

Mr. Amess

Will my right hon. and learned Friend confirm that 89 per cent. of the people who complete youth training go straight into jobs or on to further education —a far better start than Labour was ever able to provide? Will my right hon. and learned Friend also confirm that it is wrong for local socialists to say that the Government do not guarantee training places for our young people in Basildon?

Mr. Howard

I can confirm both points. It is true that 89 per cent. of those who complete youth training go into jobs or on to further education. Some 68 per cent. do so with a qualification. That is a measure of the improvement in the quality of the training opportunities now available to our young people. I can confirm also that the guarantee is being met in Essex. Recently, we made additional resources available to the Essex training and enterprise council to ensure that the guarantee was fully met.

Mrs. Fyfe

The Secretary of State seems to think that he gave a full reply to the question, but he gave information on only England and Wales. Does he recall that this is supposed to be a United Kingdom Parliament? Will he therefore give the figures for Scotland?

Mr. Howard

The latest figures for Scotland are not yet available because the local enterprise companies in Scotland have not made them available to the Scottish Office. I shall ensure that the hon. Lady gets the figures as soon as possible.

Mr. Anthony Coombs

Is my right hon. and learned Friend aware that Central Employment Recruitment and Training Ltd. in my constituency was the first organisation to get an employment action scheme up and running and that that has proved to be a valuable scheme? Is not it an absolute disgrace that, faced with the largest youth training programme in Europe and with employment training and the employment action scheme, the only reaction of the Transport and General Workers Union —which sponsors the hon. Member for Sedgefield (Mr. Blair)—was to boycott those programmes?

Mr. Howard

My hon. Friend is entirely right. We are still waiting for a single word of criticism to pass the lips of the hon. Member for Sedgefield (Mr. Blair) and the Leader of the Opposition—both of whom are sponsored by the TGWU—about that union's disgraceful decision in July to boycott youth training, employment training and the training and enterprise councils. Those are the men who are supposed to galvanise the nation. They cannot even persuade their own trade union to turn its back on that disgraceful boycott.

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