§ Mr. Jim Lester
[pursuant to his reply, 8 August 1980, c. 402–3]: I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that a decision has been made to termi- 156W nate, with effect from 30 December 1980, the agreement with Booth Training Limited under which the latter provide under the training opportunities scheme (TOPS) 84 training places—some 170 completions per year—in bricklaying, plastering and carpentry/joinery skills. As required under the agreement, Booth Limited has been given six months' written notice of the decision.
The ratio of TOPS-supported construction training places to numbers employed in the relevant trades is markedly higher in the Merseyside special development area than for the country as a whole; while local unemployment in the building industry is particularly high. This imbalance between training provision and labour market needs is reflected in continuing difficulties in placing trainees. The MSC has therefore decided that cuts in TOPS training volumes, which are being made to meet our requests for savings in staff and expenditure, should include in Merseyside a reduction in construction training.
Following the withdrawal from Booth Training Ltd. TOPS construction training provision will still be more generous on Merseyside than in the country as a whole.