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Skill Centres

Volume 172: debated on Tuesday 15 May 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Employment when he expects to conclude negotiations to sell skill centres to Astra Training Services Ltd.; and if he will make a statement.

Pursuant to my reply of 2 May 1990, Official Report, column 544, I expect to complete the sales of the training business at Barking, Southampton and Wolverhampton skill centres (including Telford Outreach) shortly.The sale of the training business at Chesterfield skill centre will not take place because of the Labour council's refusal to make the premises available to Astra.

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list the skill centre sites sold other than to Astra Training Services Ltd., giving each purchaser and the sites acquired.

The following list includes details of training businesses sold to purchasers other than Astra.To METEL (Merseyside Education Training Enterprise Ltd.): Liverpool skill centre. The purchaser acquired the freehold of the site.To the consortium headed by Mr. C. Lakin: Cumbria, East Lancs, St. Helens and Ipswich. The consortium purchased the freehold of Cumbria skill centre, and was granted leases on the other sites.To the Training Business: Lambeth skill centre. The purchaser acquired the leasehold interest of the site.

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment whether any technical instructor grades have been offered alternative employment in the civil service before or following the sale of skill centres to private organisations; and if he will make a statement.

Fifty-one staff in instructional grades in the Skills Training Agency (STA) have transferred to alternative posts in the civil service since the Secretary of State for Employment announced his intention to transfer STA to the private sector.

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what is the total value of the freehold land sold to various companies involved in the purchase of skill centres; and if he will make a statement.

The Government appointed King and Company, surveyors, to value the Skills Training Agency (STA) estate, prior to the sale of STA to the private sector. The sale of the Government's residual property interests is not yet complete. The valuations are therefore confidential.