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School Leavers And Graduates

Volume 929: debated on Tuesday 29 March 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Employment what assessment he has made of the likely shortfall of jobs for school leavers and graduates at the end of the current academic year.

No forecasts of the incidence of unemployment for particular groups have been made, although it is clear that many leaving school and university this summer to seek employment will have considerable difficulty in finding it.

In order to prevent further anxiety, will the Minister say now what steps he proposes to take to help those people who have been on a job creation project for a year and whose term is now coming to an end? They are likely to be swelling that number, whatever it turns out to be.

It is because the Government have had particular concern for this group that they are waiting for the Manpower Services Commission's report on the future development of services in this field and have decided to continue the youth employment subsidy of £10 a week for 26 weeks for those unemployed for a long time. I appeal to employers to take up that subsidy and give long-term unemployed youngsters a chance.

Would the Minister be prepared to have discussions with the Secretary of State for the Environment about the serious development in West London, particularly in Ealing, of industrialists selling sites for massive profits followed by planning authorities allowing the mushrooming of warehouses on those sites? With this practice, any attempt to get industry to return to London is already jeopardised. This will have a serious effect on young people about to leave school to work in any Job Creation Programme.

I always find discussion with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment stimulating and fruitful. I shall certainly have discussions with him after I have visited Ealing on 13th April to assess the whole problem of unemployment in that area.

Does the Minister agree that those still at school who have jobs to go to should be encouraged to leave early and to continue their education by part-time studies?

I am not absolutely clear what is meant by that question, but Labour Members believe that it is in the interests of young people to continue their education as long as it is practicable to do so.