asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what representations he has received during the last six months about the need to make discretionary awards for the certificate of qualified social work mandatory.
My right hon. and learned Friend has received about 30 letters on the subject, mainly from hon. Members of this House and organisations with a particular concern for social work.
Does not the Minister agree that, as the Government have complete control over the number of places that are available for training in social work, it is crazy not to ensure that there are awards for all the students who are allocated one of those places?
I appreciate the point made by the hon. Gentleman. He has raised the matter before. If, at the present time of financial restraint, we were to extend mandatory grants to social workers—which would cost about £1½ million—they would have to be similarly extended to training for other vocational courses, and that could cost more than £10 million a year.