HC Deb 05 July 1978 vol 953 cc189-90W

asked the Secretary of State for Employment (1) what comparable industrialised countries currently have a form of civilian national service for young people; what numbers are involved; and what forms such service takes;

(2) what would be the employment effects in the current situation of reintroducing a form of national service for young people; and if he will make a statement;

(3) what consideration is being given currently by his Department to the possibility of introducing some form of national service which would provide employment, training and discipline for the many thousands of young school leavers who are likely to remain out of work for some time.


Detailed information on civilian national service in other countries is not available but there is provision for some form of voluntary social service by young people in most industrialised countries. In Great Britain unemployed young people can take part in activities of this kind both through community industry and the new youth opportunities programme. The Government do not favour the introduction of any form of compulsory social service for unemployed young people. Even with current levels of un- employment, 90 per cent. of the 1977 school leavers had found jobs or were in full-time education or training by the end of the year. Compulsory social service would disrupt the normal entry of young people into employment. Moreover, the Government do not believe that compulsory social service would help young people to prepare themselves for the world of work as effectively as the range of work experience schemes and training courses in the youth opportunities programme.