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Thatchers (Training)

Volume 981: debated on Tuesday 18 March 1980

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11.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will make a statement, pursuant to the correspondence between the hon. Member for West Lothian and the Under-Secretary of State, on the training of thatchers.

I am delighted to inform the hon. Gentleman that Conservative Members do everything they can to support thatchers.

I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that 10 grants for training in thatching in England are awarded annually by the Council for Small Industries in Rural Areas.

The occupational demand is in England but CoSIRA's training facilities are available for trainees sponsored by the Scottish and Welsh Development Agencies. About another 10 people annually take up training in England under private arrangements. CoSIRA's experience is that the volume of training for the occupation is appropriate. Most apprentices remain in thatching after training.

What does the Minister mean by "everything"? What about residential courses?

That hon. Member has the next question. I am sure that the hon. Gentleman will understand that the training available must involve residential courses, because if they did not people from other parts of the world could not come to England to participate in them.

Does the Minister think that Professor Milton Friedman is well suited to instruct a "Thatcher", or anyone else? Will the Secretary of State make arrangements to appoint a new tutor for the Prime Minister?