HL Deb 21 December 1983 vol 446 cc823-4WA
Lord Hylton

asked Her Majesty's Government:

(1) What sum was voted by Parliament for the Manpower Services Commission for 1983–84; (2) whether within this amount there were separate figures for the Community Programme and for that part of the programme initiated by voluntary organizations;(3) whether the total funds and any sub-totals have since been reduced and, if so, by how much; (4) what is the expected impact of the autumn moratorium on the Community Programme; and (5) whether they accept that "stop-go" funding bears particularly harshly on voluntary organisations, and that non-replacement of trainee-workers who leave will upset the proper ratio of supervisors to workers.

The Earl of Gowrie

(1) In the Main Supply Estimates for 1983–84 the sum voted by Parliament as a grant in aid to the Manpower Services Commission was £1,422.838 million. Details are contained within Class IV Vote 16, Class XV Vote 4 and Class XVI Vote 4. The provision was increased to £1,446.706 million in a summer supplementary estimate.

(2) Funds for the Community Programme are not included in the grant in aid of the Manpower Services Commission. The programme is operated by the commission as an agency service on behalf of the department and financial provision of £382.394 million was made in Class IV Vote 13 under subheading A9. The sum was divided between grants to sponsors and administrative costs of the commission. No specific amount was allocated to voluntary organisations.

(3) As announced on 16th November an additional £10 million is to be made available (subject to parliamentary approval of the necessary Supplementary Estimate). This follows an earlier reduction in the provision for the programme of some £4.6 million to reflect the reduction in costs of the change in the national insurance surcharge included in the budget and to take account of the lower central Government cash limits announced by the Chancellor on 7th July.

(4) The Manpower Services Commission is carefully controlling the filling of places for the remainder of this financial year in order to keep the programme expenditure within the financial limit for the year. The position will be reviewed after Christmas.

(5) We accept that the current restriction on places is causing difficulties for some organisations. However, the moratorium is only temporary, and it remains the Government's objective to run the programme on the basis of 130,000 filled places.