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Volume 116: debated on Tuesday 12 May 1987

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asked the Paymaster General how many people are presently engaged in the YTS in Britain.

On 31 March 1987, the latest date for which figures are available, about 318,000 young people were in training on YTS in Great Britain.

Will the hon. Member recognise once and for all that youngsters who participate in a scheme finish up on the unemployment scrap heap? Will he also confirm that if, by some miracle, his party wins the general election—[Interruption.]

That is the first time, Mr. Speaker, that I have been given a standing ovation.

Will the Minister now confirm that if, by some miracle, his party becomes the Government after the next election, one third of those youngsters will be coerced into the scheme, and, if they do not allow themselves to be coerced, there will be nothing further at the end of the road?

You see, Mr. Speaker, it does not matter what scheme we introduce for training, enterprise or self-employment in small businesses—Opposition Members seem to delight in knocking it. They do not want those schemes to succeed and until now they have not wanted unemployment to come down. I have news for the hon. Gentleman—it is.

Will my hon. Friend confirm that the turnover of jobs among people under 25 is often rapid and that that provides considerable opportunities for promotion? Therefore, will he take steps to ensure that young people on youth training schemes understand that if they take a job, even at a comparatively low wage, their chances of rising quickly to a much higher wage are good?

That is an important point. The differential between young people who are training, for instance, on YTS, and when they have completed that training—[Interruption.]

and find their way into full-time employment is very important. But we start from the position that Britain lacks proper skills training, and we have met that need by introducing YTS.