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Training Schemes

Volume 205: debated on Tuesday 10 March 1992

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To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many unemployed people are currently engaged in training schemes.

There are currently some 300,000 young people on youth training, and around 150,000 people on employment training in Great Britain. Last financial year, some 740,000 people entered Government training programmes, compared with 110,000 in 1978–79—a sevenfold increase.

Is not it a fact that during the 13 years of this Government, 25 methods have been found to try to prove that unemployment is massively smaller than it is? Is not it also a fact that the unemployed are generally on useless training schemes and that, therefore, unemployment and the slump are far more massive than the Government care to admit?

The hon. Gentleman is talking characteristic nonsense. More than 80 per cent. of those on youth training gain a qualification or a job, or enter a further education course. We are the only country in Europe to guarantee a two-year training course leading to a qualification for 16 and 17-year-old unemployed young people. That is what the hon. Gentleman should recognise.

Does my right hon. and learned Friend agree that since 1979 the Government have introduced more training places and a wider range of training courses both in width and in depth, in a way that has never been attempted before? We have spent far more money. Therefore it is nonsense for the Opposition to claim that we have done nothing at all about the problems of retraining.

My hon. Friend is right. We are spending two and a half times as much, after taking account of inflation, as was spent by the last Labour Government on training. That is because this is the only Government who understand training and care about training, and are determined to make sure that our people have high-quality training.