asked the Minister of Labour if he will now indicate the provisions he proposes to make in connection with awards under the further education and training scheme so as to ensure prompt decision and financial implementation; to allow for professional advice and travel and subsistence cost in authorised cases; and to arrange for the avoidance of delay.
In order to avoid unnecessary delay, applications for awards under the Further Education and Training Scheme will be made to my Regional Appointments Offices, who will decide the more straightforward cases within the field of my Department. Other cases will require the sanction of the headquarters of the award-making Departments concerned, i.e. the Ministries of Education, Agriculture, the Department of Agriculture for Scotland and the Scottish Education Departments. In certain cases some inquiries will be necessary before a decision can be reached. For instance, if a man is applying for an award to enable him to embark on a training which lasts three or four years, it will be necessary in his own interests to ensure that he is likely to be successful in the profession of his choice, and that the course of training which he proposes to take is the best available. Moreover, if the applicant is disabled, it will be necessary to make certain that he is physically capable of undertaking the training and profession in view. Once a decision on an application has been reached, there should be no delay in making payments on their due scales.The award-making Departments are at present engaged in discussions with the various professional institutions as to how they can best obtain advice on such questions as the suitability of applicants and methods of training both in London and the provinces. It is hoped to make arrangements, wherever practicable, whereby Appointments Offices may consult secretaries of local societies or other persons of standing in each of the professions and callings in respect of which applications will be received. Appointments Offices have discretion to refund travelling expenses to applicants who are asked to attend for interview, provided they live more than six miles away; if an overnight absence from home is necessarily involved, a subsistence allowance may also be paid.