asked the Secretary of State for Employment what representations he has received regarding his proposals for a new youth training scheme; and what general response he has made to those representations.
We have received a significant and widespread response to our training proposals, which has generally been welcoming. I have been very happy to learn of such support.
Is my hon. Friend satisfied that the timetable for this excellent scheme can and will be met by the MSC? Will he keep a close watch on progress in that regard?
I appreciate that the aims and goals of the MSC are ambitious. I am satisfied at this stage that it will be able to achieve the time scale of 300,000 to 350,000 places by September of next year. I assure my hon. Friend that I shall keep a close watch on the matter.
Does the Minister agree that the task group has shown a marked disdain for the Scrooge-like £15 a week? Will the Minister permit and encourage an employers' exercise of topping-up the £15 to a much less insulting figure?
The hon. Gentleman is obviously aware of facts that I am not aware of. The task group has not yet come forward with its proposals. We shall view them as they come forward, but at this stage it would be wrong for me to answer a hypothetical question.The important point is that per 16-year-old trainee per week we shall be spending £53 a week—and that is for the whole year—as opposed to just under £40 on the youth opportunities programme.
Has the Minister had time to consider the information that I have sent to his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Employment about youth training centres established in Liverpool and elsewhere by the Workers' Revolutionary Party? Is he aware that Miss Vanessa Redgrave has launched an appeal for £100,000 following the opening of the latest of these centres in Nottingham?
I assure the hon. Gentleman that we shall make certain that no money goes to the Workers' Revolutionary Party.
In responding to this representation, will my hon. Friend emphasise that the proposed weekly allowance of £15 per young person is only about a quarter of the total resources being made available for each young person, and that the remainder represents a commitment to the training of young people that is far in excess of anything achieved either by the Labour Government or by any of our industrial competitors in the EEC?
I could not agree more with what my hon. Friend says. The Government are doing for the unemployed school leaver what successive Governments have failed to do—providing a proper training scheme at the rate of £53 per trainee per week. That is a substantial advance.