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Mr. Joseph Ashton (Bassetlaw) : Will the right hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Cope : There is little time, and the hon. Member for Barking (Ms. Richardson) did not give way.

We have heard conditional support for this clause from the hon. Member for Barking, and I welcome that--it was more than we managed to get from the hon. Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Meacher). Of course, all the usual conditions will apply, especially to the health and safety side--

Mr. Ashton rose--

Mr. Cope : Clause 7 and its attendant schedule 2 are not only about mines. They also give greater freedom--

Mr. Ashton : Will the right hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Cope : I shall not. I have a lot to say and little time in which to say it.

Clause 7 and schedule 2 also give greater freedom to women in cement and pottery works, in tin plate and textile factories and elsewhere. The Bill also removes anomalous restrictions on the employment of young people. There is a large and complex body of old legislation, and that is ineffective. It places an unnecessary administrative burden on employers and authorities alike. It hampers flexibility in business, not so much because of what it says but because people do not want to unravel it all to see what they can do. It inhibits jobs even when it does not affect the hours. Ninety per cent. of young people work fewer than 44 hours at present and will be totally unaffected. Of course, they could be required to work 48 hours and, as the House will know, in some cases they could be required to work up to 60 hours.

In view of what has been said in the debate I must emphasise what we are not doing. We are not removing or relaxing in any way the restrictions on the employment of children under the age of 16. We are retaining protection for young people by preventing them from working in betting shops, selling alcohol or working with dangerous machinery. We are not removing any of the provisions regarding health and safety which protect 16 to 18-year-olds and which the Health and Safety Commission said needed to be kept.

The hon. Member for Sheffield, Brightside (Mr. Blunkett) and some other hon. Members spoke about the tragic case of Derek Cain and the recent court case. As the hon. Member for Brightside said, the Department of Employment took over the legal responsibility from the Manpower Services Commission and became joined in the case. We are presently awaiting the written court judgment and I promise the House that we shall carefully review everything that arises from it. The safety regime in the YTS is quite different from the regime that existed in the YOP six years ago when that tragic case occurred. Mr. Nellist rose --

Mr. Cope : I shall not give way because I want to finish. Since 1983 the regulations for trainees have had the full protection of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. It is an absolute requirement now, but it was not in 1983, that before a contract is signed the managing agents must satisfy us on health and safety conditions. We have staff in every training agency region and an expert adviser, often an ex-factory inspector and two officers with qualifications

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from the Institute of Occupational Health. Every accident is reported and every fatal accident is immediately reported personally to Ministers.

Mr. Nellist rose--

Mr. Cope : No, I shall not give way because I have much to deal with.

The hon. Member for Brightside and others seem to think that the possible conversion of the training agency into what is known as a next-step executive agency weakens control. Ministerial control now is more direct than it was when the Manpower Services Commission existed. A next-step agency, if that is what happens to the training agency, will remain in the public sector, and its resources and policy framework will be set by us. It will still be accountable for its actions to Ministers and, through them, to Parliament. I know that it is possible to misread the figures of YTS accidents. Independent research corroborates that YTS trainees do not have more accidents than other young people employed in the same type of job. Ninety-nine per cent. of trainees do not have an accident. Of course, we have tightened the definition of a major injury to include wrist and ankle fractures which were previously classified as minor injuries. That affects the figures. We also know that, because of the tighter control of YTS, there is a higher standard of accident reporting. I repeat that independent research has shown that young people on YTS are as safe as other young people.

I can tell the right hon. Member for Blaenau Gwent (Mr. Foot) that in the public expenditure White Paper the Health and Safety Commission has been given the resources that it asked for and that the number of inspectors is being increased. Of course every accident, whether on YTS or elsewhere, is one too many and we shall continue to do all that we can to prevent accidents. Many hon. Members have spoken about training, and I shall come to that in a moment. Among several runners for the most misunderstood clause, clause 16--about deposits before industrial tribunal proceedings-- appears to be the most misunderstood. In response to the point raised by the hon. Member for Barking (Ms. Richardson), I should point out that it is on a quite different basis from the £25 proposal. We are not talking, as some hon. Members appear to be, about a deposit being ordered for every case that goes to an industrial tribunal. In fact, the reverse is true ; we expect deposits to be the exception and not the rule. Tribunals will have adequate powers to deal with the minority of people who abuse the system by bringing ill-founded claims.

Either party will be liable to pay a deposit if it appears to the tribunal chairman to be bringing or defending the case vexatiously, frivolously or otherwise unreasonably. The sum of £150 is the maximum deposit that may be ordered. In most cases, the level of the deposit, even when it is required, will be considerably below that.

Mr. Cryer : Will the Minister give way?

Mr. Cope : I must get on.

We have been accused in the debate of neglecting our

responsibilities for training. In fact, total Government expenditure on training has increased from less than £500 million per year in 1979 to £3,000 million per year now. That is a tremendous increase on any basis. Employers

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have also been attacked, but we know that they spend £18 billion a year on training. Of course we want to increase their commitment to training.

There is only one small clause and some technical pages in the schedule which relate to training. Clause 18 provides a kind of legal epilogue to the work of the Manpower Services Commission, renamed the Training Commission under last year's Act. It had some excellent work to its credit, but as the House knows, it became impossible to continue with an arrangement for decision making when one of the parties concerned, the TUC, became mandated to oppose the commission's largest programme.

Hon. Members can try, as they have done this evening, to rewrite the history of the end of the Training Commission, but despite the last-minute pleas of the Leader of the Opposition and

others--excluding the hon. Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Meacher)--the congress voted massively against ET, knowing the likely and, as my hon. Friend the member for Cambridgeshire, South-East (Mr. Paice) said, inevitable consequences of that vote.

Of course, some unions and union leaders realise the importance of training and are prepared to act accordingly. We want to work with them but, much too often, whatever they say, unions act against training. We have seen this in the YTS, most recently in the Civil Service. We have seen it in ET and on some area manpower boards. The training of outsiders is regarded as potentially damaging to existing members, and trade unions can sometimes be as restrictive as any mediaeval guild. That is why, although we want unions interested in training to join employers on the training and enterprise councils, we will not give them an automatic place.

Labour Members have argued today both that the Bill does not go far enough and that it goes too far. I can understand the Labour party's distaste for the Bill. Labour Members like regulations ; they are wedded to regulations. The exaltation of regulations is the unwritten clause of the Labour party's constitution. It is almost the stuff of the party's constitution. In its view, regulation is the staff of life and the prop of politics.

Mr. Cryer : Will the Minister give way?

Mr. Cope : No, I will not. I can well understand the dislike of the hon. Gentleman and his colleagues for the Bill. The Bill reduces the total weight of legislation in force because regulations are the enemy of job creation. It is essential to retain safeguards on health and safety and we have done that. Every regulation that is necessary makes it more important to get rid of those that are not. That is what the Bill does and why I commend it to the House.

Mr. Nellist : On a point of order, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. David Waddington (Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury) rose in his place and claimed to move, That the Question be now put.

Question, That the Question be now put, put and agreed to. Question put accordingly, That the amendment be made : The House divided : Ayes 190, Noes 290.

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Division No. 29] [9.59 pm


Abbott, Ms Diane

Adams, Allen (Paisley N)

Allen, Graham

Alton, David

Archer, Rt Hon Peter

Armstrong, Hilary

Ashdown, Rt Hon Paddy

Ashley, Rt Hon Jack

Ashton, Joe

Banks, Tony (Newham NW)

Barnes, Harry (Derbyshire NE)

Barnes, Mrs Rosie (Greenwich)

Battle, John

Beith, A. J.

Bell, Stuart

Bennett, A. F. (D'nt'n & R'dish)

Bermingham, Gerald

Bidwell, Sydney

Blunkett, David

Boateng, Paul

Boyes, Roland

Bray, Dr Jeremy

Brown, Gordon (D'mline E)

Brown, Ron (Edinburgh Leith)

Buchan, Norman

Buckley, George J.

Caborn, Richard

Callaghan, Jim

Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE)

Campbell, Ron (Blyth Valley)

Campbell-Savours, D. N.

Canavan, Dennis

Cartwright, John

Clark, Dr David (S Shields)

Clarke, Tom (Monklands W)

Clay, Bob

Clwyd, Mrs Ann

Cohen, Harry

Coleman, Donald

Cook, Robin (Livingston)

Corbyn, Jeremy

Cox, Tom

Crowther, Stan

Cryer, Bob

Cunliffe, Lawrence

Cunningham, Dr John

Dalyell, Tam

Darling, Alistair

Davies, Ron (Caerphilly)

Davis, Terry (B'ham Hodge H'l)

Dewar, Donald

Dixon, Don

Dobson, Frank

Doran, Frank

Douglas, Dick

Dunnachie, Jimmy

Dunwoody, Hon Mrs Gwyneth

Eadie, Alexander

Eastham, Ken

Evans, John (St Helens N)

Ewing, Harry (Falkirk E)

Ewing, Mrs Margaret (Moray)

Fatchett, Derek

Faulds, Andrew

Fearn, Ronald

Field, Frank (Birkenhead)

Fields, Terry (L'pool B G'n)

Flannery, Martin

Flynn, Paul

Foot, Rt Hon Michael

Foster, Derek

Foulkes, George

Fraser, John

Fyfe, Maria

Galbraith, Sam

Galloway, George

Garrett, Ted (Wallsend)

Godman, Dr Norman A.

Golding, Mrs Llin

Gordon, Mildred

Gould, Bryan

Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)

Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)

Grocott, Bruce

Hardy, Peter

Harman, Ms Harriet

Haynes, Frank

Heffer, Eric S.

Henderson, Doug

Hinchliffe, David

Hogg, N. (C'nauld & Kilsyth)

Holland, Stuart

Home Robertson, John

Hood, Jimmy

Howells, Geraint

Hughes, John (Coventry NE)

Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)

Illsley, Eric

Ingram, Adam

Janner, Greville

Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside)

Jones, Ieuan (Ynys Mo n)

Kinnock, Rt Hon Neil

Kirkwood, Archy

Lambie, David

Lamond, James

Leighton, Ron

Lestor, Joan (Eccles)

Lewis, Terry

Litherland, Robert

Livsey, Richard

Lloyd, Tony (Stretford)

Lofthouse, Geoffrey

McAllion, John

McAvoy, Thomas

McCartney, Ian

Macdonald, Calum A.

McKay, Allen (Barnsley West)

McKelvey, William

McLeish, Henry

Maclennan, Robert

McNamara, Kevin

McTaggart, Bob

McWilliam, John

Madden, Max

Marek, Dr John

Marshall, David (Shettleston)

Martin, Michael J. (Springburn)

Martlew, Eric

Maxton, John

Meacher, Michael

Meale, Alan

Michael, Alun

Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley)

Michie, Mrs Ray (Arg'l & Bute)

Moonie, Dr Lewis

Morgan, Rhodri

Morley, Elliott

Morris, Rt Hon A. (W'shawe)

Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon)

Mowlam, Marjorie

Mullin, Chris

Murphy, Paul

Nellist, Dave

Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon

O'Brien, William

Parry, Robert

Pendry, Tom

Pike, Peter L.

Powell, Ray (Ogmore)

Quin, Ms Joyce

Radice, Giles

Rees, Rt Hon Merlyn

Reid, Dr John

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