HC Deb 17 October 1995 vol 264 cc138-9
11. Mr. Rooney

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment when she next plans to meet representatives of the TUC to discuss training. [36001]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education and Employment (Mr. James Paice)

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State met John Monks on 30 August, and I will be meeting him on 8 November 1995.

Mr. Rooney

Is the Minister aware that today one in five vacancies cannot be filled because of skills shortages? Will he therefore accept the advice of both the Confederation of British Industry and the Engineering Employers Federation that the voluntary levy system has failed and that he needs to get together with all partners in industry to improve training levels?

Mr. Paice

I do not know where the hon. Gentleman gets his ideas from. Both the CBI and the engineering employers are whole-heartedly against the reintroduction of a levy. Only the Labour party persists in believing that it knows better than business how to invest in training. The voluntary approach that the Government have followed has delivered greater volumes of expenditure on training, much better focused training and a much better qualified work force than there ever was under the previous Government.