HC Deb 03 May 1977 vol 931 cc163-4W
Mr. Ronald Brown

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list in the Official Report what action he has taken to encourage employment and planning in the Greater London area since February 1974; what effect these measures have had; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Golding

Since February 1974, my Department, in co-operation with the Manpower Services Commission, has introduced a series of special employment measures to mitigate the worst effects of the recession. So far, over 19,000 people in Greater London have been helped by these measures:

Job creation programme 2,007
Temporary employment subsidy 13,946
Recruitment subsidy for school leavers (which has now been replaced by the Youth Employment Subsidy scheme) 1,961
Youth employment subsidy 398
Work experience programme 899

The provision of training in London under the training opportunities scheme has been expanded markedly since 1974. In 1974 just over 6,000 people were trained, rising to over 8,300 in 1975 and 12,400 in 1976. The 1977 target is 13,600. A specialist Office Training Centre was opened in Croydon in January 1977 and a major skillcentre expansion programme is underway. This provides for four additional skillcentres and two skillcentre annexes by 1980, providing some 1,200 additional training places to achieve a total of 3,500 skillcentre places.

London is also benefiting from the increased emphasis that the Training Services Agency is placing on the training of young people. It is intended that some 1,700 young people will be trained on Training Services Agency courses in 1977. A special training centre for young people is planned for the Lambeth area to provide 50 places and this should be operational in October this year. We have also provided substantial additional funds to encourage recruitment and to help maintain the level of long-term training in industry by premium grant and award schemes through the Industrial Training Boards.

Young people have also benefited from the expansion of the Community Industry scheme. In February 1974 there were no units in London; since then five units have opened in London with a total of 335 places. The Careers Service in London has also benefited from the provision of eight additional posts to help find employment for young people in areas of high youth unemployment. In addition, the Employment Service Agency has opened 30 jobcentres in London.

Officers of my Department have been working in close co-operation with the local planning officers of the Greater London area, the local boroughs and the Docklands Joint Committee, which have the task of preparing plans which take account of the employment needs of their areas.

The increased emphasis on training, the steady improvement in the provision of jobcentres by the Employment Service Agency and the other measures referred to should help to ensure that London is well placed to benefit as soon as economic activity generally begins to increase.