§ Mr. Stewart
About 1,000 steel workers made redundant at Ravenscraig are retraining under official schemes administered by the Lanarkshire development ar j 2–9gency. Many are training for a wide variety of skills and qualifications on about 120 courses, including several that could be applied in various contexts, including manufacturing. About 12 per cent. are retraining for skills specific to manufacturing.
§ Dr. Bray
Is the Minister not worried that the proportion of experienced and skilled production workers training for manufacturing in the industrial heartland of Scotland is so appallingly low? Is he not aware that the same mistrust of the prospects for employment is shared by young people in Lanarkshire schools, who see no prospects for manufacturing under the Government? Do the Government intend to do nothing about that?
§ Mr. Stewart
As I have said, many of the steel workers have chosen courses in management, quality assurance, and so on, which are clearly related to manufacturing although not specific to it. Manufacturing output in Scotland has risen in the past five years and, according to all the surveys, the prospects for exports, output and orders are highly positive. Ultimately, it is for individual former steel workers to choose the courses that they perceive to be in their best individual long-term interests.
§ Dr. Reid
Is the Minister not worried that only 12 per cent. of people being trained in the industrial heartland of Scotland are being trained for manufacturing industry? Does he not recognise that part of the problem in Lanarkshire, and especially in Motherwell, was that we are entirely dependent on one or two industries, while recovery, not only in Lanarkshire but in Scotland as a whole, depends on training people for a range of manufacturing skills? Is the Minister not disappointed that 88 per cent. of the people being retrained in Scotland's industrial heartland are not being trained for industry or manufacturing?
§ Mr. Stewart
As I explained to the hon. Member for Motherwell, South (Dr. Bray), that figure is not correct. Many of the skills for which people are training could be used in manufacturing as well as in other sectors o f the economy. However, I entirely agree with the more general point made by the hon. Member for Motherwell, North (Dr. Reid) that in Lanarkshire, as elsewhere in Scotland, it is essential to have a more diversified economic structure for the future. That, indeed, is the essence of the strategy being pursued by the Lanarkshire development agency with, as the hon. Gentleman will know, the full co-operation of the local authorities and the private sector.
§ Mr. Tom Clarke
Does the Minister accept thai the problems in Lanarkshire must be seen against the backdrop of a quarter of a million fewer jobs in manufacturing industry than the Government inherited and a quarter of a million Scots languishing on the dole? Does he agree that it is disgraceful that 10,000 young Scots under the age of 18, many of them in Lanarkshire, simply cannot find training places? What, precisely, are the Government prepared to do about the spectre of unemployment and lack of training which is so repugnant to the people of Lanarkshire?
§ Mr. Stewart
Expenditure on training and related programmes under this Government is two and a half times—[Interruption.] The Opposition do not want to hear the figures. It is two and a half times what it was in real terms during the last year of the Labour Government. It is now £2.8 billion—[Interruption.] The Opposition do not like to hear the figures, so I will just give them another one. The most recent CBI industrial trends survey for manufacturing firms in Scotland shows that firms themselves intend to increase expenditure on training and 344 retraining in Scotland and in manufacturing industry. I should have thought that even Labour Members would welcome that.
§ Mr. Oppenheim
Does my hon. Friend agree that it is not just jobs in manufacturing but manufacturing output which matters? Will he confirm that manufacturing output in Scotland fell under Labour whereas it has risen dramatically under this Government? In the days of Labour's industrial strategy, was not British Steel one of the world's largest loss makers, whereas now it is one of the most successful steel companies in the world? Labour Members opposed the closure of Ravenscraig and they could have gone into the last election committed to keeping it open, but they did not even have the guts to do that.
§ Mr. Stewart
My hon. Friend is absolutely right on all the points that he has made. He is right, for example, about the increase in manufacturing in Scotland. There is a question from my hon. Friend on that specific subject later on the Order Paper. He is also right to point to the fact that manufacturing productivity in Scotland in the 1980s has increased by 5.2 per cent. per annum on average. That contrasts with 2 per cent. during the 1970s and 4.1 per cent. during the 1960s. The figure is higher than that of any of the major seven OECD economies. Those are very positive facts about the Scottish economy. [Interruption.]
§ Madam Speaker
Order. The hon. Gentleman asked a question. He ought to be allowed to listen to the answer. I should like to make a little more progress. Has the Minister completed his answer?