HC Deb 09 May 1995 vol 259 cc554-5
8. Mr. Barry Jones

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what new measures he proposes to tackle long-term unemployment. [21623]

Mr. Paice

In April, we introduced four new measures to help long-term unemployed people and we extended three others. More than 240,000 places will be available on those programmes in this year alone.

Mr. Jones

A strategy is needed to get thousands of unemployed aerospace workers back into their industry. What will the Government do to help the workers at Raytheon Jets, who have been told that the production of jet aircraft is to be transferred to the United States? What help will they give the workers at Raytheon Jets, at least in saving some of the jobs that are scheduled to go to the United States? It is a loyal, productive and highly skilled work force that deserves the Government's help.

Mr. Paice

The hon. Gentleman knows that the details of employment policies, and particularly training policies, in Wales are the responsibility of my right hon. Friend Secretary of State for Wales, as I presume the factory is located there. Obviously, it is a matter for grave regret when any company decides to relocate outside Britain. Fortunately, far more companies want to relocate to Britain rather than take their jobs abroad.

Mr. Sykes

When the Minister writes to Mr. Chirac to congratulate him on consigning French socialism to the dustbin of history, what measures will he suggest to the French President? Which regulations will he recommend that the French get rid of first? Will it be the job-shedding social chapter, the 48-hour week, the minimum wage or the ridiculous works councils? Will my hon. Friend tell us which one?

Mr. Paice

The French people have already demonstrated their good judgment in electing President Chirac. I am quite sure that he will follow that by recognising the veracity of our position, which is that the social chapter is designed totally to destroy jobs.

Mr. Chidgey

Does the Secretary of State recall that in 1993–94 one in seven training and enterprise councils showed a decline in job prospects for scheme leavers and some 48 per cent. of all training scheme leavers were unemployed after six months? Does he expect that the figures for 1994–95, which I trust will be available soon, will tell a similar story of failure, and if so, will he give the House a commitment to amend policy urgently, in order properly to readdress the unacceptable level of long-term unemployment in Britain?

Mr. Paice

The hon. Gentleman, who has attended Employment questions for a long time, knows full well that we have already made significant changes to our policy on training for work precisely because we were not happy with its outcome. We were not happy with the number of people getting into jobs. That is why we have refocused it and concentrated help and funding on TECs precisely so that people will get jobs out of them. We expect a significant and sustained improvement in the outcome of training for work.

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