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Mr. Cope : This information is not available. Once young people leave full-time education they are not required to tell the local authority career service what they are doing. There are a number of options open to 16 and 17-year-olds. Those who chose other options will not, of course, be offered a YTS place. However there are more than sufficient YTS places available in all areas of the country for all who apply.
Mr. Cope : YTS has been a resounding success for young people and employers alike, providing good quality structured vocational training in the foundation skills which young people need at the start of their working lives.
Mr. Cope : The scheme continues to play a major role in meeting the training needs of young people and employers. Over 2 million young people have been in YTS since its inception and around three quarters of trainees currently find employment or go into further education or training. We shall continue the drive for positive outcomes through YTS, in particular nationally recognised vocational qualifications for all trainees and employment on completion of their training.
As the Government made clear in the recent White Paper "Employment for the 1990s", YTS has been a resounding success. The task now is to increase still further the contribution which YTS can make to meeting the needs of the changing labour market.
Mr. Cope : Health and safety remain of paramount importance in YTS. There is a contractual requirement on all managing agents to secure the health, safety and welfare of trainees both in work placements and in off- the-job training. In addition, a positive commitment to health and safety is one of the criteria which have to be fulfilled by managing agents as a condition of approved training organisation status.
We constantly try to improve health and safety and we have in hand improved training materials for both young people and trainers.
Mr. Nicholls : Ministers and officials in the Department of Employment continue to receive letters from employers and employees describing difficulties that they have experienced as a result of the operation of pre-entry closed shops. As announced in our recent White Paper, "Employment for the 1990s", the operation of the
Column 176pre-entry closed shop will be examined over the coming months and we will take any further legislative steps that are needed on this or any other aspects of industrial relations which constitute a barrier to employment.
Mr. Cope : I met Mr. John Nash, chairman of the British Venture Capital Association when I opened the BVCA financial forum on 1 December. I have no immediate plans to meet representatives from the BVCA again in the near future but I do have regular contact with the association.
Consideration is being given to the possibility of including in the report in future material covering a wider range of small firm's matters. Reports and discussions on various aspects of small businesses appear in the Employment Gazette.
Mr. Cope : I refer my hon. Friend to the training section of the White Paper "Employment for the 1990s", published last month. Some 100 training and enterprise councils are to be established with this as one of their prime goals. The business growth through training programme also announced in the recent White Paper will help employers to develop strategies for the training and development of their staff in line with business objectives.
The Training Agency plays a strategic role in helping employers to plan and take action to develop occupationally specific skills. It seeks to develop young people and to help to reskill unemployed adults with
Column 177programmes to meet labour market needs. Both YTS and employment training are delivered in close collaboration with local industry and commerce.
Mr. Lee : In the period from 1 January to 20 December 1988, 100,435 people joined the enterprise allowance scheme. Since the scheme began early in 1982, more than 400,000 unemployed people have been helped to start their own business.
Mr. Nicholls : Responsibility for ensuring the health and safety of people at work is laid upon employers by the Health and Safety at Work, Act 1974. The efforts of the Health and Safety Commission and Executive in promoting compliance with the Act are targeted on those areas of work where people are at the greatest risk, regardless of whether the activity is simple and routine or complex and varied. For 1988-89 the Government increased provision to the commission by £6.7 million gross above the level previously planned. In 1989-90, planned provision will be enhanced by a further £8.8 million gross, allowing for gross expenditure of £118.3 million. The planned provision for 1989-90 allows for real growth in HSE's activities over the next three years. This will enable the executive to increase the number of inspectors and the amount of inspection planned to promote and secure compliance with the law in order to help prevent occupational fatalities, injuries and diseases.
Mr. Nicholls : Comprehensive information on the number of disabled people on employment training is not yet available. Early indications suggest that about 6 per cent. of those joining the programme have disabilities.
44. Mrs. Fyfe : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what action he intends to take in response to the recent report published by the Health and Safety Executive's accident prevention advisory unit.
Mr. Cope : The Health and Safety Commission has recently published two booklets aimed at improving safety management in the construction industry and in future HSE inspectors will be paying special attention to the quality of site managment and its ability to manage health and safety.
New regulations are also being prepared which provide for the management and co-ordination of health and safety on multi-contractor sites, increase the number of safety supervisors in smaller companies and amend the site notification procedure to identify sites where there are high-risk activities. It is intended to introduce soon regulations which would make the wearing of safety helmets compulsory on construction sites.
Mr. Nicholls : We have received several representations from industrial training boards and interested organisations about the future of ITBs since the publication of our White Paper "Employment for the 1990s". The Government believe that the voluntary commitment of employers to independent sectoral bodies will yield better results than regulation based on statutory powers. Independent industry-level training organisations have an important role to play in setting standards and forecasting skill needs for their industries. We shall, therefore, be consulting each industrial training board and the appropriate employers' organisations with a view to drawing up a timetabled programme for each board to become an independent non-statutory body.
46. Mr. Janman : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many representations he has received on the future of wages councils following the publication of his White Paper, "Employment in the 1990s" ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Nicholls : Fifteen such representations have been received up to 10 January. Final decisions on the future of wages councils will be taken in the light of responses to the 1988 consultation document on wages councils, published with the White Paper, which invites comments by 3 February.
Mr. Cope : My Department makes a substantial contribution to inner city regeneration through its employment. Training and enterprise programmes which bring an estimated expenditure of £1.1 billion to the 57 urban programme authorities. Our aim is to ensure that inner city residents share in the growing prosperity of their cities and, in particular, to help them acquire the self-confidence, training and motivation to enable them to compete on equal terms in the jobs market, or in setting up and running their own businesses. In addition to existing programmes we have, as part of the action for cities programme, committed £3.25 million this year towards the development of 30 schools/industry compacts which guarantee jobs or training to school-leavers. We have opened six new inner city offices of the small firms service and appointed specialist inner city business advisers.
We have established a £600,000 loan fund to support projects by local enterprise agencies in inner cities and extended the guarantee on Government loans to small firms in task force areas to 85 per cent. We have provided extra training and advice for enterprise allowance scheme participants and given special help to unemployed people with language, literacy and numeracy difficulties. We continue to improve access to information on jobs and training opportunities and on my Department's programmes.
Mr. Lee : Productivity in manufacturing, as measured by output per person employed, was 7.3 per cent. greater in 1987 than in 1986. Figures for the first 10 months of 1988 show an increase of 7.2 per cent. over the corresponding period of 1987. Productivity for the economy as a whole was 2.8 per cent. higher in 1987 than in 1986. Figures for the first half of 1988 show a 3.4 per cent. increase over the first half of 1987.
computer-assisted local labour market information system.
Mr. Cope : The computer-assisted local labour market information system is based in each of the Training Agency's 57 area offices, and holds information on local employers and their skills and training needs. It is used in planning training and vocational education provision, to help ensure that local labour market needs are met effectively.
CALLMI was introduced in 1986. A database of, on average, about 1, 000 employers per area office has been built up and the labour market analyses produced have made an important contribution to the planning of work- related further education, YTS and employment training. Further developments will focus mainly on exploring the most effective means of co- operation with other collectors and users of local labour market information, such as chambers of commerce and local authorities. It is
Column 180expected that training and enterprise councils, as they are set up, will take over responsibility for local aspects of LMI including CALLMI.
Mr. Cope : In 1987, the latest year for which figures have been published, the estimated number of new registrations for value added tax was 205,000. The net increase in the number of VAT-registered businesses in 1987 was 45,000, or nearly 900 a week on average. The indications are that the rate of increase during 1988 has been faster.
93. Mr. Wallace : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what is the current level of wage increases ; what was the figure for the same month in 1988 ; and if he will make a statement on his Department's policy in relation to the level of wage increases.
Mr. Nicholls : Latest available figures show that the underlying increase in average earnings in the 12 months to October 1988 was 9 per cent. over the economy as a whole. This compares with 8 per cent. in the 12 months to October 1987. The average earnings index reflects all movements in pay, including those related to output and productivity, as well as basic pay settlements.
The Department's approach to pay is set out in chapter 3 of the White Paper "Employment in the 1990s", a copy of which has been placed in the Library.
Mr. Nigel Griffiths : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will update the information on establishments underpaying and prosecutions for underpayment given in his answer of 2 December, Official Report, columns 431-32.
Mr. Nicholls : The information given in my answer of 2 December was incorrect in that, for the years 1979 and 1982, it included prosecutions which were not for underpayment offences. Revised figures, with those for 1988 updated to include the whole of that year, are given in the following table.
|Establishments |Prosecutions<1> |underpaying ---------------------------------------------------------------- 1979 |10,969 |9 1980 |12,154 |8 1981 |10,074 |8 1982 |9,269 |4 1983 |9,842 |2 1984 |9,461 |2 1985 |9,064 |2 1986 |8,205 |2 1987 |4,443 |4 1988 |<2>5,597 |10 <1> For failing to pay not less than the legal minimum. <2> Provisional.
67. Mr. Riddick : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he has any plans to meet the chairman of the Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service to discuss industrial relations in the private sector of British industry and commerce ; and if he will make a statement.
68. Mr. Redwood : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many qualifications have been accredited to date under the National Council for Vocational Qualifications scheme ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Cope : The National Council for Vocational Qualifications has accredited 80 qualifications to date and is making good progress towards the objectives set by the Government in 1986. The council is on target to have the first four levels of the national vocational qualification framework in place by 1991.
95. Mr. Lewis : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment when he will be in a position to publish findings of the National Council for Vocational Qualifications inquiry into vocational qualifications ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Cope : The National Council of Vocational Qualifications was established in September 1986, following the report of the review of vocational qualifications working group, to develop a national vocational qualification framework covering all occupations and to improve qualifications themselves by basing them on the standards of competence required in employment. Good progress is being made on both fronts and the council is on target to have levels 1-4 of the framework in place by 1991. A copy of the council's first annual report has been placed in the House of Commons Library.
100. Mr. Chris Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment whether he has any plans to draw up a scheme of comparable competence for vocational qualifications on completion of the European Community internal market in 1992 ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Cope : The Training Agency is already co-ordinating the United Kingdom's response to the European community's initiative to establish the comparability of vocational qualifications in the Community. It is expected that this work will continue beyond 1992 and that the results of the first qualifications to be compared will be published this year.
73. Mr. Oppenheim : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many representations he has received on his proposals to introduce the business through training programme outlined in the White Paper, "Employment for the 1990s."
Mr. Cope : Forty-six areas applied for funding to establish a compact. Partnerships of employers and education authorities in 30 of these areas are currently preparing applications for operational funding. I have been pleased by the positive response from both employers and the education service and I look forward to the establishment of the first compacts later in the spring.
78. Mr. Jack : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many representations he has received on his proposals to create training and enterprise councils contained in the White Paper, "Employment for the 1990s" ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Cope : Since the White Paper was published on 5 December over 300 individuals and organisations have written to this Department to inquire about training and enterprise councils. I am very pleased about the positive response from employers who, throughout the country, are already meeting to discuss the formation of training and enterprise councils in their local area.
76. Mr. Strang : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he has any plans to meet representatives of the Trades Union Congress to discuss the effect of his Department's policies and legislation on trade unions.
80. Mr. Leigh : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what representations he has received on his proposals to introduce the national training task force contained in his White Paper, "Employment in the 1990s" ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Lee : The national on-line manpower information system (NOMIS) is a computer system which gives fast and flexible access to a wide variety of official statistics covering topics such as population, employment and unemployment. It is run for the Employment Department : Training Agency to assist in labour market analysis and planning, but access by other Government Departments and a range of outside users is also encouraged.
Currently, about 160 organisations use NOMIS. Just under half of these are local government organisations, a third are academic institutions, and the remainder are split between Government Departments and commercial users. The House of Commons Library has had a terminal giving access to the system since 1985. Use of NOMIS is growing rapidly. During 1988 the number of registered users doubled.
Mr. Lee : The committee is currently considering the effect of the abolition of domestic rates on the construction of the retail prices index, and a report is expected on this shortly. It will then go on to consider the way in which expenditure on holidays should be taken into account in the index and to review progress on implementing longer-term recommendations made in its last report in 1986.
86. Dr. Hampson : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many applications have been made following the new incentives for loans under the loan guarantee scheme ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Cope : The rate of applications under the loan guarantee scheme has almost doubled since 1987, to over 180 a month. This follows the introduction in January 1988 of simplified administrative procedures for loans up to £15,000 and the increase in the maximum guarantee for businesses in the 16 inner city task force areas from June 1988. I have recently announced that the scheme is to be continued and that the maximum guaranteed loan will be increased from £75,000 to £100,000.