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Volume 124: debated on Tuesday 15 December 1987

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To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what information he has as to what proportion of those people completing the YTS in the Truro constituency find full-time paid employment within the next six months.

Sixty two per cent. of young people who completed youth training schemes in the district of Carrick between April 1986 and June 1987 were in full-time jobs when surveyed several months later. A further 9 per cent. were in part-time jobs. I regret that separate figures for Truro are not available.

I am sure the Minister agrees that those figures are welcome and that the increasing quality and take-up of YTS courses in my area is a very good thing. However, given the Government's plan to force all young people to go on to YTS or face the withdrawal of benefit, is it not likely that people who are unwilling and unresponsive to the courses will be forced on to them? Not only will that not help people who do not care to make use of the scheme, but it will hurt the many other people who have a constructive attitude and wish to get the most that they can out of the scheme.

That is not necessarily correct. Already, almost everyone in that positon is offered a place on the YTS. Youth unemployment has greatly improved recently. There are now fewer unemployed 16 and 17-yearold school leavers than at any time since 1974. I do not think that our new proposals will have the effects that the hon. Gentleman suggests.

Will my hon. Friend compare the YTS to its predecessor, the youth opportunities programme, which was introduced by the Lib-Lab pact Government? Does he not agree that the youth training scheme is far superior and far more successful in giving training to young people?

Yes, it is much more successful in every respect. Well over 400,000 young people are currently being trained under it.