asked the Secretary of State for Employment what reduction in staff is planned at employment rehabilitation centres over the next three years; and what effect this will have on individual centres.
[pursuant to his reply, 19 February 1980, c. 6]: I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that it is preparing to reduce staffing levels within the employment rehabilitation service by 10 per cent. or 97 posts over the next three years. Thirty-six of these posts were already due to disappear as part of the planned re-building of Egham employment rehabilitation centre—ERC—on a slightly smaller scale, following the opening of a new residential centre at Preston. The remainder of the posts will be found by measures designed to achieve a more rational and effective use of ERC resources. The individual centres affected by these proposals are (i) Garston Manor and North Staffs, where it is planned to experiment with a new less staff-intensive form of employment rehabilitation, (ii) the three North-East ERCs, one of which will be closed and (iii) the larger ERCs, which will each lose one occupational supervisor post following a redistribution of activities within the centre. No final decisions have been taken by the Commission as to the precise implementation of these proposals but it is expected that the overall number of clients catered for by the service will not be significantly less than in the current year.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what representations he has received on the effect of the projected staff reductions on the work of employment rehabilitation centres; what replies he has sent: and if he will make a statement.
[pursuant to his reply, 19 February 1980, c. 6]; I have received a small number of letters on this subject from my hon. Friends and colleagues following lobbying by the Civil Service Union at the House on 17 January 1980. In replying to them I have stressed first that an effective rehabilitation service depends on the existence of a successful general employment service and that, conquently, it would be contrary to the best interests of disabled persons if the rehabilitation service were to be totally excluded from the saving of resources on MSC programmes at the expense of the general employment service, and secondly that the effect of the Commission's proposals on the number of persons going through the rehabilitation service is by no means as serious as has been suggested; it is anticipated that the overall number of clients catered for by the service in future will not be significantly less than in the current year.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many people have been unable to join the training opportunities scheme as a result of the reduction in planned expenditure.
[pursuant to his reply, 19 February 1980]: I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that, as a result of the reduction in expenditure during the current financial year, the number of people starting TOPS courses during the year will be reduced by approximately 10,000 from 99,000 to 89,000. I have no estimate of the number of people unable to undertake TOPS training because of this reduction. The fact remains that there were, at the last count, some 4,600 training places available for which trainees could not be found.