HC Deb 19 January 1993 vol 217 cc246-7
4. Mr. Enright

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many of those leaving employment training in Yorkshire and Humberside achieved vocational qualifications in the last six months for which figures are available.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Employment (Mr. Patrick McLoughlin)

In the six months to March 1992, 30 per cent. of all people leaving employment training in Yorkshire and Humberside gained a qualification or a credit towards one. That is significantly higher than during the same period a year ago.

Mr. Enright

Is the Minister aware that the President of the Board of Trade is hell-bent on throwing miners on the scrap heap? Does he consider that that answer will be of any assistance to them? Do not many people who go on such courses find them an insult to their intelligence and therefore leave early and do not get work at the end of the course? Indeed, many people have to go back for two or even three courses. Will he examine the quality of training, which is very low?

Mr. McLoughlin

As the hon. Gentleman will know, my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade will publish a White Paper on the energy question. On quality, I entirely agree with the hon. Gentleman. We are concerned about getting quality from our employment training scheme, which is why my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State announced changes as a result of the very good settlement that she achieved in the autumn statement. It would be refreshing to hear the Labour party and Opposition Members talking about supporting training schemes, instead of opposing every scheme that the Government have introduced.

Dame Elaine Kellett-Bowman

Does my hon. Friend accept that it would be wholly unacceptable to throw people out of work in the nuclear industry in Lancashire and Cumbria simply to provide jobs in Yorkshire?

Mr. McLoughlin

My hon. Friend will draw equal comfort from the question that the hon. Member for Workington (Mr. Campbell-Savours) asked me at the previous employment questions. She rightly shows that that is one of the questions that my right hon. Friend must take into account when drawing up the White Paper.

Mr. Skinner

Is the Minister aware that, when the coal board was flourishing, the Yorkshire and Humberside coalfields—indeed, every coalfield in Britain—used to run a training scheme? They trained miners not only to dig coal, but to become electricians, fitters and carpenters: they trained them to do almost every job that had to be done down the pit. Literally scores of industries used those workers when they left the mines. Now there is no worthwhile training scheme; all that the Government do is run slave labour schemes, taking 500,000 young men and women off the unemployment register at the same time.

Mr. McLoughlin

I do remember that. I also remember that most parents would prefer anything to sending their children down the coal mines.