HL Deb 16 April 1986 vol 473 cc747-8WA
The Earl of Onslow

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they are satisfied that the regional organisation of the Manpower Services Commission is able to cope effectively with the many demands on it.

The Secretary of State for Employment (Lord Young of Graffham)

The Government and Commission have recently been reviewing the commission's priorities over the next three years. We have agreed that the commission will have a central role to play in two distinct but related areas, vocational education and training, and employment and enterprise. Within each area we are steadily developing the Government's policies. We have therefore asked the commission to assist in the development of a training and vocational education system which will provide rapidly and flexibly the skills employers and individuals will need. We have also asked it to promote enterprise and employment so that we accelerate the growth of new jobs and also provide specific measures to help long-term unemployed people get back into the labour market.

To ensure that it is in a position to meet these challenges we have agreed that the commission should make some changes to its organisation. Two major linked operational groups matching the two broad priority areas will be created. Each group will have a regional network. For convenience, in each English region the regional Employment and Enterprise Director will be the MSC and DE spokesman in each region. In Wales the Employment Director will act as prime representative of the commission and my department on general issues and in Scotland the Vocational Education and Training Director.

An important feature of the proposals is the creation of a new East Midlands and Eastern Division of the MSC. The proposed coverage of each MSC region is set out below.

We aim to establish the new regional arrangements from 1st July this year. We are confident that they will enable the commission to tackle effectively the urgent and demanding tasks ahead.