asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will ensure that representatives of Church and other voluntary orgarisations are included in the Manpower Services Commission administrative bodies.
Voluntary organisations, including the Churches, are already represented on most of the commission's advisory bodies. I will ensure that this continues to be the case.
I am grateful to my hon. Friend for his helpful reply. Is he aware of the increasing and welcome involvement of local churches and voluntary organisations in youth and training employment schemes? Is he aware that, whereas local authorities are represented on the area MSC boards, the Churches and voluntary organisations do not necessarily have places? Will he try to ensure that these are provided?
I am very much aware of the role that voluntary organisations, including the Churches, play in the Manpower Services Commission's special programmes. In the community enterprise programme, 30 per cent. of places are provided by voluntary organisations, and in the youth opportunities programme the figure is 10 per cent. Each of the 29 special programme area boards has a representative of voluntary organisations. At the present time, six of these members and three chairmen are from the Churches.
Is the Minister not aware that, in south London, representatives of community organisations, who already serve on MSC committees, are becoming increasingly frustrated and angry about the manner in which their views are ignored by officials who arbitrarily redefine what is meant by community benefit. I give two examples? First, the Lambeth Tiles project in my constituency, which the hon. Member for Exeter (Mr. Hannam) has mentioned, would have employed physically and mentally disabled people. Secondly, the Elephant Jobs project has for eight years been employing people. If closed, as the MSC proposes, 142 youngsters in south London will be out of work. Will the hon. Gentleman investigate these matters?
The hon. Gentleman will have heard what my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State said about the Lambeth Tiles project. I assure the hon. Gentleman that we shall keep him informed on the matter. The Elephant Jobs project is a matter of whether the scheme fits within the rules of the community enterprise programme.