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Job Training Scheme

Volume 124: debated on Tuesday 15 December 1987

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To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will make it his policy to arrange for people on the job training scheme to have their fares refunded; and if he will make a statement.

Participants on the new job training scheme may claim reimbursement of all travel expenses associated with their training.

I thank the hon. Gentleman for that reply. However, is he aware that although the trainees do not have to pay their fares now—that is an innovation, as they had to pay them under the youth training scheme —many still have considerable expenses as they have to pay for their lunch and other expenses out of the very small amount that they receive? Will the Minister consider some way of reimbursing them so that they get the small amount to which they art entitled in total? Many trainees, particularly in my constituency, have to contribute to the budget at home because their parents are unemployed.

As the hon. Lady probably knows, we are reviewing the job training scheme and developing it along with the community programme. These matters are under consideration by the Manpower Services Commission at the moment.

Will the Minister confirm that the DHSS recognises the cost of going to work as being £7 a week —being the cost of fares, the high cost of food away from home, and the cost of protective clothing, which will apply to the job training scheme? Under the new "Benefit Plus" scheme, if the "plus" were £15 a week, it would be only £8 a week in real terms.

I recognise the hon. Gentleman's point and, as I said, the matter is under consideration.

Does my hon. Friend agree that JTS has played an important part in the Government's adult training programme and that one of its biggest problems has been the way in which some unions and Left-wing Labour councils have undermined and boycotted it?

I agree with both parts of my hon. Friend's remarks. The job training scheme is playing an important role, but it could play a more important role if more people would co-operate in it.