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Industrial Training Boards

Volume 986: debated on Thursday 19 June 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many representatives of small businesses there are on the existing industrial training boards ; and how they are distributed amongst them.

Employer members of industrial training boards represent sectors of industry rather than businesses of any given size and many sectors contain a variety of different sized businesses. There is no generally applicable definition of a small firm for training purposes. However, the assessment of the training boards themselves is that some 50 employer members represent sectors of industry containing a significant number of small businesses. They are distributed amongst boards as listed :

Air Transport and travel3
Carpet
Ceramics, glass and mineral products1
Chemical and allied products2
Clothing and allied products3
Construction
Cotton and allied textiles2
Distributive3
Engineering1
Foundry ITC3
Food, drink and tobacco3
Furniture and timber2
Footwear, leather and furskin4
Hotel and catering4
Iron and steel
Knitting, lace and net2
Man-made fibres
Paper and paper products2
Petroleum2
Printing and publishing1
Road Transport6
Rubber and plastics processing2
Shipbuilding2
Wool, jute and flax2

asked the Secretary of State for Employment (1) what representations he has received from small businesses on the working of the industrial training boards ; and what response he has made;(2) what proposals he has received from the Manpower Services Commission for reducing the burden imposed by industrial training boards on the operations of small businesses.

Since taking office my right hon. Friend and I have received a considerable number of representations —both written and verbal—from small businesses about the working of industrial training boards. In each case these have been drawn to the attention of the Manpower Services Commission, to which boards are responsible in the first instance. I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that all industrial training boards which impose levies have arrangements for excluding small firms from levy, though the definition of a small firm for this purpose varies from board to board. The Manpower Services Commission is currently reviewing the operation of the industrial training boards, and expects to consider a report on this next month. The Government will then decide what action needs to be taken.