§ 13. Mr. Freud
asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether he intends to extend the scope for his youth opportunities programme.
§ Mr. Prior
The youth opportunities programme has already been expanded in the present year. There is at present a very clear need for measures like the youth opportunities programme and we are considering the future scale and scope of special employment measures in consultation with the Manpower Services Commission.
§ 34. Mr. Madel
asked the Secretary or State for Employment if he will meet the chairman of the Manpower Services Commission to discuss the training context of the youth opportunities programme; and if he will make a statement.155W
§ Mr. Jim Lester
I meet the chairman of the Manpower Services Commission from time to time as appropriate, and I shall be considering with the Manpower Services Commission the scale and scope of special employment measures later in the year.
§ 45. Mr. Hooley
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what will be the percentage increase in the number of places provided under the youth opportunities programme in 1980–81 as compared with 1979–80; and what is the estimated percentage increase in the number of unemployed young people, at the peak, over the same period.
§ Mr. Jim Lester
I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that plans for the youth opportunities programme for 1980–81 provide for an increase of around one-fifth over 1979–80.
The Government do not forecast future levels of youth unemployment but I understand MSC projections show a substantial increase between the first quarters of 1980 and 1981.
When the MSC submitted to the Government plans for YOP in 1980–81 it indicated it might approach the Government again if the average level of unemployment in 1980–81 rose above 1.65 million. If such an approach were made it would be carefully and sympathetically considered. So far this year entrants to the programme have increased by about a fifth over the corresponding period last year, a level of increase anticipated by the plans for the programme in 1980–81.