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Volume 643: debated on Wednesday 5 July 1961

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Remploy Factory, Birmingham


asked the Minister of Labour what progress has been made regarding the closing of the Remploy factory, Clay Lane, Birmingham; what use will be made of the old buildings; and whether he will make a statement.

It has been decided to bring the two Remploy factories in Birmingham under one roof. This will cause no loss of employment, and the workers have been given assurances that they will not be adversely affected in any way. The change will make possible substantial savings in running costs and overheads. The premises at Yardley will be relinquished.

Would my hon. Friend say whether or not the same number of work places will be available for disabled men?

Remploy has assured me that there will be no loss of work or reduction in the number of severely disabled employed. I am, indeed, hopeful that, on the contrary, the new combined factory at Garretts Green will be more accessible by public transport and it may be possible to place additional Section 2 cases in employment there.

United States Air Force Station, Bruntingthorpe (Closure)


asked the Minister of Labour what steps are being taken to assist those who will become unemployed when the United States Air Force station at Bruntingthorpe is closed.

Arrangements will be made for the advance registration of employees at Bruntingthorpe before discharges begin in March, 1962.

Whilst thanking my hon. Friend for that reply, may I ask him to bear in mind that a number of these employees are of a specialised category who are not easy to place in normal civilian work?

I appreciate that there may be difficulties in a few cases, but fortunately unemployment is very low in the whole area and I hope that those cases will be very few indeed.

Commercial Apprenticeship Scheme


asked the Minister of Labour how many boys and girls, respectively, have been apprenticed through the commercial apprenticeship scheme since 31st August, 1959; and what percentage this represents of recruitment into clerical employment of the relevant age group.

Ninety-eight boys and three girls between 16 and 18 were enrolled under the Commercial Apprenticeship Scheme in the year ended 31st August, 1960. This represents 0ยท2 per cent. of the number of boys and girls in this age group taking up clerical work. The scheme is for the training of candidates for executive posts, and the field of recruitment is therefore much smaller than that for clerical work.

Can the Parliamentary Secretary explain why the Minister of Labour boasted about the high number of people entering clerical employment when he spoke in the apprenticeship debate? This is one example of apprenticeship training where there are serious deficiencies, and there are other wide areas as well. Can he give reasons why more efforts are not made to encourage clerical apprenticeship schemes?

I agree that the increase hoped for has not been achieved, but it should be remembered that a number of firms have their own schemes for training, both for executive posts and general clerical duties. Unfortunately, the figures are not available for people trained under those arrangements, but I am informed that the number is appreciable. However, there is no doubt that more systematic training is required.

Youth Employment Bureaux


asked the Minister of Labour whether alternative accommodation has yet been found for the eleven youth employment bureaux reported on by the Youth Employment Advisory Committee as unsatisfactory and for which suitable premises had not been found by 2nd May, 1960.

Of these eleven offices, whose premises were criticised by inspectors of the Central Youth Employment Executive, alternative accommodation has been found for four, and in two cases is already in use. Efforts are being continued to obtain alternative premises for the other seven.

Is not this another example of the Ministry of Labour dragging its feet in relation to the Youth Employment Service? Surely it is high time that these officers were found suitable accommodation?

I do not think it is a question of the Ministry dragging its feet. In many areas it is difficult to find existing suitable accommodation. Of the seven offices for which alternative accommodation has still to be found, four are part-time. I am sure the hon. Member would agree that we cannot build very fast for part-time use.