HC Deb 22 October 1979 vol 972 cc22-3W
Mr. Foster

asked the Secretary of State for Employment, having regard to the extra charges being levied on engineering employers in South-West Durham and the possibility that training grants will be reduced, if he will take steps to maintain the present level of training.

Mr. Jim Lester

The Manpower Services Commission has extended charges for its direct training services to include the assisted areas where they were formerly provided free, as part of its contribution to public expenditure savings.

Some of these fees are still below full cost recovery, though the intention is to reach full cost recovery in two years. I am also informed by the MSC that the Engineering Industry Training Board has no intention of reducing its grants for apprentice training.

The reintroduction of fees may initially affect the take-up of MSC services and may cause some of the present clients to consider the use of other providers—for example, group training associations. However, the MSC expects that industry's own training efforts supplemented by the combined operation of MSC training policies should ensure that the levels of training within the engineering industry will be compatible with its needs.