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Mr. Nicholls : Training and enterprise councils will be required to submit an income and expenditure account for each programme funded by my Department at the end of every four-week accounting period. In addition, TECs will be required to submit a balance sheet showing their financial position at the end of each accounting period.
53. Dame Janet Fookes : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what progress is being made in establishing training and enterprise councils in the west country ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Nicholls : My right hon. Friend has been very encouraged by the excellent response from employers in the west country and throughout the country to our invitation to form training and enterprise councils.
Some 40 groups of senior employers from around the country have applied for development funding, of which four are from employer groups in the Training Agency's south-west region.
48. Mr. Tom Clarke : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how he intends to ensure that training and enterprise councils provide a uniform quality of training provision throughout the United Kingdom.
Mr. Nicholls : In England and Wales, training and enterprise councils will arrange training provision within a broad national framework, to suit local circumstances. The TECs will be required to set out their strategy for
Column 156delivering quality training in their corporate and business plans. In Scotland, local enterprise companies will have similar arrangements for ensuring quality training.
58. Mr. Brandon-Bravo : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what progress is being made in establishing training and enterprise councils in the east midlands ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Nicholls : My right hon. Friend has been very encouraged by the excellent response from employers in the east midlands and throughout the country to our invitation to form training and enterprise councils.
Some 40 groups of senior employers from around the country have applied for development funding, of which three are from employer groups in the Training Agency's east midlands and eastern region.
A total of 40 groups of senior employers in England and Wales have applied for development funding, of which 31 have been approved ; the table lists the areas from which we have had applications and indicates their status.
List of training and enterprise councils that have applied for development funding at 23 October |Status ------------------------------------------------------------------ South East Milton Keynes |Approved Hertfordshire |Approved Essex |Approved Hampshire |Approved Isle of Wight |Approved Thames Valley |Approved Kingston/Merton London East |Under consideration South West Devon/Cornwall |Approved Dorset |Approved Somerset |Approved Avon |Under consideration West Midlands Birmingham |Approved Walsall |Approved Staffordshire |Approved Coventry/Warwickshire |Under consideration Dudley |Under consideration East Midlands and Eastern North Nottinghamshire |Approved Norfolk/Waveney |Approved Suffolk |Under consideration Yorkshire and Humberside Sheffield |Approved Calderdale/Kirklees |Approved North Yorkshire |Approved Rotherham |Approved North West Cumbria |Approved East Lancashire |Approved Rochdale |Approved Oldham |Approved South and East Cheshire |Approved Wigan |Approved Manchester |Under consideration Stockport/High Peak |Under consideration Northern Teeside |Approved Tyneside |Approved Wearside |Approved County Durham |Under consideration Northumberland |Under consideration Wales Mid Glamorgan |Approved North East Wales |Approved West Wales |Approved
Mr. Nicholls : Training and enterprise councils will be expected to undertake a comprehensive assessment of local market needs to enable them to draw up their corporate and business plans. Consultation with a range of organisations and individuals, including employers of all sizes and voluntary organisations, will be vital to this assessment.
Mr. Nicholls : My right hon. Friend has been very encouraged by the excellent response from employers in East Anglia and throughout the country to our invitation to form training and enterprise councils. A total of 40 groups of senior employers in England and Wales have applied for development funding, of which three are from the East Anglia area.
Mr. Nicholls : Training and enterprise councils will be directly responsible for the major current programmes which help small firms and promote self-employment. These include the enterprise allowance scheme, business growth training, enterprise in employment training and counselling for small firms in England. Some training and enterprise councils are also being invited to run elements of the Department of Trade and Industry's enterprise initiative. The councils will also be able to use their local initiative fund to strengthen and expand existing programmes and services or to finance new initiatives to support business growth and enterprise.
69. Mr. Richard Shepherd : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment whether he has received any representations about the effect on employment of the European Commission's proposed social charter.
89. Mr. Irvine : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment whether he plans to have further discussions with his European counterparts concerning the proposed European social charter ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Eggar : I will next meet my counterparts in the European Community at the meeting of Labour and Social Affairs Ministers on 30 November. The European Commission's proposal for a social charter is not presently on the agenda of that meeting.
72. Mr. Teddy Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if the Commission of the EEC has yet notified member states as to whether it intends to present social charter directives to be determined by majority vote ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Eggar : The European Commission has indicated its intention to present an action programme of social measures to the Council of Ministers before the end of the year. The Commission has not yet notified member states of the voting arrangements of any directives which they may bring forward.
Mr. Eggar : Representations have been received from a variety of organisations. The Government are reviewing the law on industrial action. Proposals made in the Green Paper "Unofficial Action and the Law" aim to discourage "wildcat" action in public and private sectors alike.
Mr. Nicholls : The Government are reviewing the law on industrial action. Proposals made in the Green Paper "Unofficial Action and the Law" aim to discourage "wildcat" action in public and private sectors alike.
Mr. Nicholls : It is estimated that 239,000 people had left employment training by the end of September 1989, the latest date for which information is available. We cannot say at present how many of these people had completed their planned training.
The opportunity to undertake training is already available to all young people eligible for YTS. As the number of school leavers diminishes those seeking jobs will be looking for jobs with training. Now is the right time for all employers recruiting young people to take advantage of YTS and give a real commitment to training.
Mr. Nicholls : Many employers in manufacturing participate in YTS for training young people, including apprentices. The Government will continue to encourage employers to make quality, vocational training available to all young people as the best way of meeting the skill needs of the modern economy.
Mr. Nicholls : Responsibility for training for employed people rests primarily with employers and individuals. Training and enterprise councils will have a key role to play in encouraging employers to train the whole of their work force throughout working life. The business growth training programme and other measures taken by my Department to raise employers' awareness of the importance of training will help in this. My Department will continue to develop employment training as a quality training programme which is available to people aged 25 and over who are eligible.
Column 160Britain's training effort into the 1990s. They will increase employer commitment to training and will use private and public resources. In particular they will support employers through business growth training.
26. Mr. Ken Hargreaves : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment in which regions of the United Kingdom the unemployment rate has fallen most rapidly over the last 12 months ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Nicholls : In the 12 months to September 1989 the region which experienced the largest fall in the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was west midlands which fell by 2.5 percentage points to 6 per cent. followed by the north and Wales which both fell by 2.4 percentage points to 9.3 and 7.2 per cent. respectively. This compares with a fall of 1.8 percentage points in the United Kingdom in the last 12 months to 6 per cent.
54. Mr. Speller : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will detail the unemployment figures for the Barnstaple and Ilfracombe travel-to-work area for August 1979, August 1984 and August 1989, respectively.
Mr. Nicholls : The table shows the number of unemployed claimants in the Barnstaple and Ilfracombe travel-to-work area in August 1989 and August 1984, along with the number of unemployed registrants in the Barnstaple and Ilfracombe jobcentre-based travel-to-work areas in August 1979. The figures are affected by the changes in the boundaries of travel-to-work areas as well as the changes in the coverage of the unemployment count.
Barnstaple and Ilfracombe Travel to Work Area Unemployed Claimants |Total |Rate<1> ------------------------------------ August 1984 |2,906 |12.4 August 1989 |1,517 |6.0
Barnstaple and Ilfracombe Jobcentre Travel-to-work Area Unemployed Registrants-August 1979 |Total |Rate<1> ----------------------------------------------------- Barnstaple |1,178 |5.3 Ilfracombe |242 |5.6 And for these areas together |1,420 |5.3 <1> Unemployed expressed as a percentage of employees-in-employment and the unemployed. Workforce based unemployment rates for small areas are not available prior to 1983.
62. Mr. Burt : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what has been the average monthly fall in the number of long-term unemployed aged under 25 in the last five years ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Nicholls : Unemployment figures by age and duration are calculated on a quarterly basis. Between July 1984 and July 1989, the number of unemployed claimants aged 18 to 24 years in the United Kingdom who had been unemployed for one year or more fell by an average of 11,142 per quarter. This comparison is affected by the change in compilation of the count in March 1986 to reduce over-recording and by the change in benefit regulations for under 18-year-olds in September 1988.
Mr. Nicholls : In the 12 months to September 1989 the level of unemployment, seasonally adjusted, in the north fell by 35,000 or 28.9 per cent., on a consistent basis. Unemployment in the north is now at its lowest level for nearly nine years, as it is in the country as a whole.
81. Mr. Roger King : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what is the level of job vacancies currently notified to his Department in the Birmingham travel-to-work area ; and what was the figure 12 months ago.
Mr. Nicholls : In September 1989 the number of notified vacancies at jobcentres in the Birmingham travel-to-work area was 6,021 compared to 4,689 12 months ago. Vacancies at jobcentres do not represent the total number of vacancies in the economy. Research shows that nationally only about one third of vacancies are notified to jobcentres ; however a recent survey covering part of the west midlands region shows that the stock of vacancies held at jobcentres in this area is about one quarter of the total.
Mr. Nicholls : A total of 4,568,000 working days were lost through stoppages of work due to industrial disputes in the most recent 12-month period ending in August 1989. In 1978, a total of 9,405,000 working days were lost.
Mr. Nicholls [holding answer 26 October 1989] : In September 1989 the number of unemployed claimants in Derbyshire was 25,859. This compares to a total of 38,275 in September 1988, a fall of 32.4 per cent.
These unadjusted unemployment figures are slightly affected by the change in benefit regulations for under 18-year-olds in September 1988.
Mr. Nicholls : Since the beginning of 1989, my right hon. Friend has had representations about the staffing of the Health and Safety Executive from the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC), the Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians (UCATT), and the Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering Unions (CSEU).
Mr. Nicholls : On 1 October 1989, a total of 1,204.5 inspectors were in post in the Health and Safety Executive. The executive plans to increase the total number of inspectors employed to 1,277 by 1 April 1990.
Mr. Andrew F. Bennett : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many members of the Health and Safety Executive's management board possess (a) professional management or (b) professional accounting qualifications.
1 Grade 7
5 Senior Press Officers (SIO Grade)
2 Press Officers (IO Grade)
1 Executive Officer
1 Administrative Officer
1 Administrative Assistant
1 Personal Secretary
1 Part-time Personal Secretary
Mr. Nicholls : On 29 September my right hon. Friend announced his intention to replace a member of the commission, who had indicated that he was unable to continue as a commissioner, and reappoint the remaining seven commissioners for a further period of six months. In the interim, my right hon. Friend will consider reconstituting the commission, and bearing in mind the increasingly important role played by the commission, he is giving consideration to the appointment of a ninth member. My right hon. Friend will announce the new appointments early next year.
Mr. Nicholls : Under the Government's guarantee over 500,000 places are available to YTS eligible young people aged 16 and 17. Young people should consult the careers service to see which particular training place is suitable for them. If there are particular difficulties in individual cases careers officers have been asked to approach the Training Agency for assistance as necessary.
Mr. Nicholls : I am introducing a more vigorous description of health and safety arrangements as part of the YTS contract, and also an improved approach to monitoring which reflects assessment of the degree of risk. I have also set up two exercises to assist with further policy development. An independent study of the YTS accident statistics has been set up which will be published in the spring of next year, and a review of general YTS health and safety arrangements by the Training Agency and HSE is now in progress.
44. Mr. McAllion : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what steps he is taking to ensure that sufficient YTS places exist throughout the United Kingdom for those aged 16 and 17 years seeking such a place.
Mr. Nicholls : Particular care is taken to ensure that there are enough YTS places to meet demand throughout the year. There are currently close to 400,000 young people in YTS. My Department has in total contracted with managing agents for over 500,000 places to be available.
Mr. Nicholls : Seven local authorities have withdrawn from employment training. These are : Barrow borough council ; Rochdale metropolitan borough council ; Wolverhampton metropolitan borough council ; Nottinghamshire county council and Cleveland county council, which withdrew because of political decisions ; and London borough of Merton and London borough of Barnet, which withdrew because of operational difficulties.