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the reasons given by other hon. Members, and for the reasons that I have outlined, I for one will vote against the Bill.

9.15 pm

Dr. Norman A. Godman (Greenock and Port Glasgow) : I promise that I shall be brief. I have been here during the whole debate, as you know. I am not sure that it has been a worthwhile exercise. We have listened to fair- minded criticisms of the Bill, and if I thought for one moment that the Government would take some of them on board by way of reasonable amendments, I should have a lot more faith in this Parliament. However, the reverse will be the case. Ministers hate honestly awkward critics on the Opposition Benches and they despise honestly awkward critics on the Conservative Benches, not that any of them are present now.

I despair about the passage of the Bill. If it were amended along the lines suggested by Opposition Members, including suggestions from the Liberal party and the Scottish National party--the hon. Member for Banff and Buchan (Mr. Salmond) is not present--I should be more hopeful.

I should like the Minister to answer a specific question on clause 3(3), which says :

"In exercising its functions, Scottish Enterprise shall have regard to the requirements of agriculture and efficient land management" It goes on to mention the desirability of safeguarding the environment. In the Minister's view, is fish farming an element of agriculture? Another important indigenous industry is the fishing industry. Will it, too, benefit from Scottish Enterprise having regard to the requirements of its employees? Training for fishermen is important, especially on safety.

We know that the local enterprise companies will be dominated by the private sector, with two thirds of their members coming from business and the remaining third from elsewhere. Apparently, the idea is that business men and women will give up their time to run the local boards. The Secretary of State said in the Scottish Grand Committee :

"They will be the non-executive directors of the local agencies. It may require a few hours a week--less in some areas and a little more in others."--[ Official Report, Scottish Grand Committee, 20 March 1989 ; c. 9.]

That is an appallingly complacent attitude on the part of the Secretary of State. I have witnessed the failure of the Inverclyde initiative, a privately led initiative to deal with the serious problems of unemployment in my constituency and part of the constituency of my hon. Friend the Member for Renfrew, West and Inverclyde (Mr. Graham). I think that my hon. Friend will agree with me that that privately led initiative has, to a considerable extent, been a failure.

I view the proposals outlined this evening with despair. 9.21 pm

Mr. Tony Worthington (Clydebank and Milngavie) : I am grateful to my hon. Friends for their speeches and continued attendance. One could not make a similar comment in respect of Conservative Members. The Secretary of State said that the whole country was behind Scottish Enterprise. That was because the question that had been asked was whether the country was in favour of stronger links between economic development and training. Everybody is in favour of that. It is like asking

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whether one is in favour of truth and beauty. Of course one is in favour of better links between economic development and training. No one can possibly imagine anyone voting against that.

The Opposition are concerned about the muddle that lies behind the Bill. We are faced with a conundrum. The private sector is to lead us into the promised land. After 10 years of free enterprise and a market-led economy, we apparently need a new flagship Bill. That immediately poses the problem, "Why has the private sector not already reached the promised land?" Why are we in the House--the centre point of the public sector--preparing to take a great deal of parliamentary time to let the private sector take the lead? Surely the private sector can just get on with it. Why do we need to pass a Bill when the private sector has been given all that it needs. Look at what the Confederation of British Industry demanded in the early 1980s. The CBI said, "We want the removal of price and dividend restrictions, growth in profitability, restrictions on trade unions and cuts in income tax and corporation tax." All that has been granted to the private sector, yet we are still a long way behind our major competitors.

"If the relative growth of output per worker were maintained at its 1983-87 levels, it would take us about 10 years to catch up with the present levels in France and West Germany, and the United States and Japan are even further ahead".

Who said that? The CBI, in its latest training document. The truth is that the Bill quite inadequately attempts to create an optical illusion to try to persuade us that we are talking about a private sector initiative when all that is happening is the laundering of £0.5 billion of public money, which is to be handed over to business people. It is being made to look like a private sector initiative.

Another muddle that lies behind the Bill is that we have been told for 10 years that the business sector needs incentives to operate effectively. If it does not have carrots, it does not work hard. That is why we have the so -called enterprise culture--tax cuts, and high, even exorbitant, salaries for business leaders. Yet here we have a Bill that offers no profit or wages, just, in the words of the Secretary of State, an opportunity to serve the local community--to do good rather than make money. It seems strange that the Government should now believe that this will work. There could be a strong inducement for the wrong kind of business man to become involved because local enterprise companies will have access to privileged information. The point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh, Central (Mr. Darling) about the potential for corruption has not been tackled at all. It is difficult to believe that top business men will devote much time to LECs. If an entrepreneur gives his or her time to LECs it cannot be anything other than damaging to their own company.

This is an enabling Bill. Regrettably, there is little detail in it--we must look at White Papers and the handbook on the subject. The Opposition's major fear is that the Government are deeply muddled about the SDA, which they do not ideologically back but which has been proved to be successful. It is an interventionist Socialist body and the Government are embarrassed by its success because they do not believe that it should be necessary--the SDA should be able to do it all. Opposition Members believe that there will always be an essential place for an SDA, and most successful economies would agree with us.

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However, the Government are setting up Scottish Enterprise, expecting it to go out of business. That is stated in the section on the financial consequences of the Bill. The ultimate objective is the creation of a dynamic, self-sustaining Scottish economy in which investment and training are private sector led and financed. In other words, the Government regard financing the body as regrettable and as a sum to be reduced and then removed from the public sector. They regard the present £500 million as a reducing budget.

Opposition Members regard training and economic development as woefully resourced. What is the Government's attitude to funding? For example, if, for demographic or other reasons, numbers for the youth training scheme or employment training fall what will happen to funding of the training budget? The Government seem to claim that if the number of people out of work falls, we will need to spend less on training. What nonsense, as the right hon. Member for Old Bexley and Sidcup (Mr. Heath) said in the debate on the Queen's Speech. The major problem with training is that we need to train better those who are already in jobs, the right hon. Member for Ayr (Mr. Younger) seems not to realise that there is no money in the budget for those who already have jobs.

How well funded is the SDA at present? Its budget last year was about £150 million, of which 60 per cent. was grant in aid and 40 per cent. was income earned by the SDA. About £90 million was directly spent on the SDA. For what else do the Government pay that sort of money? They correctly spent £150 million on compensation for the third or fourth- rate Barlow Clowes investment company. They have been spending £140 million in subsidies to Network SouthEast. It costs £4.5 million to train a Tornado pilot. For the SDA, £90 million would buy 20 Tornado pilots. The Government will spend £200 million on 1, 800 metres of road in Limehouse in Docklands. On that criterion, one could get 800 yards of London road for the SDA. The Government want to reduce that sum.

The Government believe that the economy has been transformed during their years in office. So it has been. In July 1979, there were 141, 000 unemployed. In July 1989, there were 233,000 unemployed. One third of all manufacturing jobs in Scotland have been lost--in Strathclyde the figure was one half. According to a European Community report a fortnight ago, the number of people in poverty in Britain has doubled since the mid-1970s. Britain's inflation rate is well over the rates of France, Germany and Japan. We are running a £20 billion deficit, and 53 per cent. of Scotland's exports are dependent on whisky and office technology.

Using the acid test of whether people want to live in Scotland--net inward and outward migration--in1978-79, we lost 7,000 people. In 1987-88 we lost 17,000 people, while in contrast Wales--as always--gained 18,000 people, which was three times as many as in 1978-89. We have had a transformation but not one about which to boast.

There is no reference in the Bill to the links between the central Scottish Enterprise and the local enterprise company. The Government are asking that at least two thirds of the directors must be senior figures from the private sector. Will those people turn up and stick at it or

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will they be anything other than names on the top of the notepaper? It is absurd to think that one can gather a dozen senior figures from private enterprise at a table and expect them to work together in partnership.

The Government frequently pay tribute to the enterprise trust movement. I compliment those organisations that have done much good--but how much? How good are they and how many front-rank business leaders have been involved? Are they not really private sector fronts for public sector money? Who supports and runs them?

The annual report of the enterprise trust movement shows that the Ayrshire enterprise trust comprises of four district councils, the Strathclyde reegional council, the Irvine Development Company, the Department of Employment and some local employers. That, apparently, is a private sector- led enterprise. The north-west Fife rural initiative is a partnership between the SDA, Scottish agricultural colleges, Fife regional council, North-East Fife district council and the north-east Fife enterprise trust. That hardly sounds like a private sector-led initiative. Glasgow Opportunities had some private people. The Glasgow Easterhouse partnership is all public--the Department of Employment, the SDA, Strathclyde regional council, the Training Agency and the Drumchapel initiative. That is the enterprise trust in that area.

Some 60 per cent. of funding for the whole of the enterprise trusts in Scotland is public sector finance. If public money was withdrawn from the enterprise trusts, they would all collapse, but if private sector involvement was withdrawn, they would still operate, even if at a reduced level. I have grave doubts whether those bodies dominated by private sector -- [Hon. Members :-- "It is the cavalry".] At last my groupie, the hon. Member for Lancaster (Dame E. Kellett-Bowman) has arrived.

Even if the private sector was serious and was committed to training and economic development, disillusionment would soon set in when it found that it was overwhelmingly expected simply to administer the United Kingdom-wide youth training and employment training schemes. That is what it is being asked to do. How can that be a Scottish answer to Scottish problems? The Secretary of State has lost out. He was in conflict with the Department of Employment because he would have liked Scotland to control its employment training and YTS but the Department of Employment would not give that control.

It is important that we have compatible training schemes throughout the United Kingdom, but that does not mean identical schemes. Nothing would be lost if employment training was scrapped and the money used for proper serious training on a Scottish basis. The CBI said that the YTS has only reached the embryo stage of a training system. What will business people say when they find that they will have to administer the appalling employment training scheme? What will they say to two of my constituents who have successfully completed the employment training scheme? One wanted training as a typist but never saw a typewriter and the other was promised training as a barman, but never saw the inside of a bar. They spent their days playing Scrabble, Cluedo, Trivial Pursuits and cards. They were asked to list the items for survival on the moon in order of importance. They sang religious songs and

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successfully completed their employment training scheme. How did that train the workers without jobs for the jobs without workers? All too frequently Ministers say that ET is the biggest scheme ever mounted. They are right, but it is also the worst. It bears as much resemblance to serious training as Zsa Zsa Gabor does to monogamy. It is designed to lower the unemployment figures. It is about the numbers game. It is the largest massage parlour ever opened. It has all the characteristics of a massage parlour--it provides only temporary relief and does nothing about the reason why the person went to the massage parlour in the first place, which in his case is to acquire serious training.

When he replies to the debate the Minister of State will have the opportunity to make quite clear what can be done in Scotland and what has to have London approval. I asked the Minister of State a simple test question in a written question recently--whether there were any proposals to alter the level of travelling expenses available on an ET scheme. The question was referred to the Department of Employment. It was a trivial issue, but it was referred. Will the Minister of State have control over the travelling expenses on ET schemes in the future? Will it be as big a control as that?

How are the local enterprise companies to exercise their training function when there is no guaranteed place or places on the board for the body which does most of the serious training in any area and which is the major preparer for careers--the local regional council's education department? The reason for their absence is the Government's continuing hostility to local authorities. Every submission wants the local authorities to be involved, but the Government continue to be hostile. When everyone else wants the boundaries between the public and private sectors to be lowered, the Government build obstacles.

There are gratuitous insults to the public sector in everything the Government do. There is the absurd pretence that the best people or the only people with enterprise are to be found in the private sector when over the past 10 years at least the truth is that the real drive for development in Scotland has come from the local authorities and the burden has been the Scottish Office.

During the Bill's passage we shall be pressing for full local authority representation as of right. The Government should also learn to work with the trade unions which would be working to promote quality training and which recognise the importance of the unemployed and the needs of those in work.

We recognise the valuable contribution of the voluntary organisations. One of the scandals that has been inadequately defended by the Minister was the amount of community care that callously collapsed when the community programme was converted into the employment training programme.

I am grateful to hon. Members who have spoken about the Highlands and Islands because there is a real fear that the provisions mean change for change's sake. Something much more evolutionary should have been tried. Labour Members who represent the new towns--my hon. Friends the Members for Cunninghame, South (Mr. Lambie), for Cumbernauld and Kilsyth (Mr. Hogg) and for East Kilbride (Mr. Ingram)--put their fears about the proposals on the new towns extremely well. Those dynamic public enterprise-led agencies, which have been praised by the Government, have achieved considerable

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success in inward investment. However, what will replace the new town teams when they are broken up? East Kilbride will spend £70 million on its capital programme this year--£30 million of its own money and £40 million of private money. What will replace that? Too rapid a wind-up will dissipate the force of the new town corporations. It is a fundamental right for new town corporation tenants to be able to choose to become district council tenants. We have tabled a reasoned amendment to expose the muddle at the heart of the Bill. We all want to improve this country's training system. The Bill will not do so. We all want to end the north-south divide. We all believe that unemployment and poverty are far too high in Scotland, we need new high value added jobs in manufacturing and services, and better links should exist between training, education and economic developments. That would greatly improve matters. However, the underfunded, dogmatically biased and confused way in which this measure is being introduced by the Government undermines those aims, which is why we tabled the amendment.

9.40 pm

The Minister of State, Scottish Office (Mr. Ian Lang) : As my right hon. Friend the Member for Ayr (Mr. Younger) said--[ Hon. Members :-- "Where is he?"] He has apologised to me and to Opposition Members for not being here because he has an unavoidable commitment outside the House.

The debate has revealed no major philosophical objection of principle to the proposals. Instead, a large number of Committee and niggling points have been raised by Members of the Opposition parties. I shall answer as many of them as I can in the time available and return to the rest in Committee.

The hon. Member for Clydebank and Milngavie (Mr. Worthington) made an unfortunate start to his new role as spokesman on these matters when he complained that we had rushed the Bill out in a furtive manner at the end of the previous Session. The Bill was published in a perfectly normal way and presented to the House when it was sitting. I suspect that the hon. Gentleman may have pushed off home for an early Christmas. He made matters worse by reading the Bill over Christmas and making a number of assertions, such as that local business men would have the power compulsorily to purchase land, and be able to avoid local planning permission and to obtain confidential information on planning matters--a point that he repeated in his speech tonight. He tossed in a gratuitous insult to the entire Scottish business community by talking about the potential for corruption and insider dealing. He was wrong on all counts, and if he looks at clause 17(2)(a), (b), (c) and (d), he will find those points covered, and I dare say that we shall return to them in Committee. I fear that, as so often when legislation is going through the House, the Labour party will pursue its usual policy of raising scares and alarms that have nothing to do with the reality of our proposals. The Labour party is friendless in its opposition to the Bill, if we discount its satellites in the Scottish National party and the Social and Liberal Democrats. It is out of tune, just as it was out of tune over the sale of council houses and with the mood of Scotland over the setting up of school boards.

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As has been said, when organisations such as Scottish Business in the Community, COSLA, the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, the Scottish Trades Union Congress and the Church of Scotland Committee on Church and Nation all support the principle of the Bill, we can see how isolated the Opposition are. The Opposition do not like the Bill because they do not like, trust or understand enterprise. Above all, they dislike and distrust decentralisation, which is one of the keys to the concept of Scottish Enterprise. Our policy is one of devolution, which the hon. Member for Glasgow, Garscadden (Mr. Dewar) said that he wants. However, our devolution is that from the centre to the rest of Scotland, from the Government to the people, whereas the Opposition parties' idea of devolution is to set up another centralised body, imposing a still larger burden of taxation on the Scottish people. Nothing could be more ruinous to the future of enterprise in Scotland. Ten years ago Scottish Enterprise would have been inconceivable because of the state to which the Labour party had brought the Scottish economy when in government. Successive bouts of Socialism in the 1960s and 1970s had undermined and weakened the economy.

Mr. Graham : Ten years ago there were 166,000 manufacturing jobs in Strathclyde alone. They no longer exist under this Government.

Mr. Lang : Ten years ago industrial output in Scotland was 6.5 per cent. lower than it is now, even with that large number of extra employees. It is the improved competitiveness, output and productivity rate which has taken Scotland from the bottom of the productivity league to the top during the past decade and which has given us the competitiveness to enable us to bring forward our proposals. That is why employment is now at its highest for the past nine years and unemployment is at its lowest for the past nine years. That is why we see enterprise emerging through the establishment of large numbers of new company registrations--50 per cent. more than there were a decade ago--and huge increases in self-employment, up to record levels. That is the evidence of emerging enterprise in Scotland as a result of the new, stronger and broader economic base that the Government's policies have created. That is what has made Scottish Enterprise possible.

But what makes Scottish Enterprise necessary is that, despite the improvements in our competitive position and industrial base over the past few years, we face new challenges. We face the challenge of demographic change that has been referred to this evening whereby the number of school leavers will fall over the five years to 1994 by some 50 per cent. We face the challenge of the single European market and the need to be more competitive to retain our European markets and to build on them still further. We face the challenge of the opening up of the economies of eastern Europe, to which my hon. Friend the Member for Eastwood (Mr. Stewart) referred.

What we have done over that period is to build on the changes to the SDA that were introduced by my right hon. Friend the Member for Ayr when he was Secretary of State. He rightly paid tribute to the SDA, to the establishment of its regional offices, to its co-operation with the private sector and local authorities, and to its

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work in various individual initiatives around the country, particularly Glasgow. It does great discredit to the hon. Members for Cunninghame, South (Mr. Lambie) and for Greenock and Port Glasgow (Dr. Godman) to denigrate the SDA area initiatives and the work done in the Garnock valley, in Ayrshire, and in Inverclyde. Those initiatives were set up in response to pressing needs and job losses in those areas. They have cleared industrial dereliction and have provided modern industrial premises. They have created new job opportunities and have laid the foundations for future economic growth.

Just as my right hon. Friend the Member for Ayr inherited an SDA which was an instrument of Socialist policy, as the hon. Member for Clydebank and Milngavie said, acquisitive and interventionist, in danger of displacing enterprise, so it has gradually converted to a more catalytic role, an enabling role, helping companies and individuals to do things for themselves, working in partnership with the private sector. I can assure the House that all the skills and experience acquired by the SDA during those years will be reflected in the new arrangements and will be carried forward into the new Scottish Enterprise.

The hon. Member for Garscadden asked many questions, most of which he acknowledged would be best dealt with in Committee, but let me deal with one or two points that he raised. The relationship between the Scottish Office and Scottish Enterprise will reflect the present relationship with the SDA. We will set the policy framework, but it will have substantial powers and, I am sure, the initiative to operate creatively and innovatively as the SDA does now.

The Secretary of State for Employment will retain lead responsibility for training policy generally and, in consultation with my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland, will continue to set the national framework. But we shall set the policy framework for Scottish Enterprise and it will be responsible to the Secretary of State for Scotland. Scottish Enterprise and local enterprise companies will have the flexibility to develop their own training and enterprise initiatives in the light of Scottish circumstances.

Mr. Worthington : Will the Minister give way?

Mr. Lang : I am short of time. We shall never agree on this point this evening, but let us develop it in Committee.

Mr. Worthington rose --

Mr. Lang : I give way.

Mr. Worthington : During the debate I asked a simple question. In future, will it be possible in Scotland to decide the level of travelling expenses on an ET scheme?

Mr. Lang : The hon. Gentleman knows the answer because I gave it in reply to a parliamentary question the other day.

My hon. Friend the Member for Eastwood said that he welcomed the boundary decision affecting the Glasgow local enterprise company and those in Dunbartonshire and Renfrewshire. Those are difficult decisions and, to some extent, they have to be subjective, but it is right to take account of the need to ensure a viable company in Dunbartonshire and Renfrewshire, and I believe that we have got the boundaries right in those cases.

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The hon. Member for Banff and Buchan (Mr. Salmond) referred to the Moray district boundary. We have made it clear that the present HIDB boundary will remain the same for Highlands and Islands Enterprise. The bid from the Moray consortium has been received and will be considered on its merits, but a local enterprise company straddling the boundary would have to resolve substantial practical difficulties.

The hon. Member for Cumbernauld and Kilsyth (Mr. Hogg) suggested that new towns were a Socialist idea, but the Reith committee was appointed in 1940 by a coalition Government, and the New Towns Act 1946 was not opposed by the then Conservative Opposition. The hon. Gentleman paid tribute to the achievements of new towns, and I join him in that. They have been a great success story in providing for the overspill from our major industrial conurbations and suitable locations for the development of indigenous investment and for attracting inward investment. However, the Government, in winding up the new towns, are not motivated by any ideology, for their winding up was always envisaged in the 1946 Act. That will not be pursued in any doctrinaire way but will be undertaken in an orderly fashion, taking account of the degree of development already reached by each new town--and phased over the next decade on that account. As to the housing waiting list in Cumbernauld, both public and private sector house building in that town remains at a high level, with 456 completions in the current year and 486 next year, including 265 houses for the development corporation. Cumbernauld has £6.9 million available in the year ahead for its housing capital programme, which will provide further accommodation. I will not be able to do justice in the time available to me to the hon. Gentleman's questions on planning in the new town corporations and on the circumstances of the staff. However, I shall not forget that he raised them, and I hope that we shall return to them in Committee.

The hon. Member for East Kilbride (Mr. Ingram) raised the issue of the role of local authorities in local development companies, but I emphasise that they are not intended as straightforward successors to the corporations. They are designed to fulfil the property development function which the corporations currently undertake and which otherwise would be lost on winding up. There will be no scope for local authority representation as such in such companies, which will essentially be commercially driven.

A number of hon. Members raised questions concerning new town housing. I emphasise the importance of choice to the tenants of new town corporations, but it must be based on an informed assessment of the alternatives. It is clear from the independent survey undertaken at the Government's request, and from the number of houses that have been purchased, that the most popular choice of all in new town areas is private ownership. More than 50 per cent. of all new town development corporation houses are privately owned, and sales doubled in the first eight months of last year. The survey confirmed that no less than 40 per cent. of tenants of houses remaining in public ownership are interested in home ownership. That interest and the need for more information were the two clearest features to emerge from the survey, which is why we are distributing an information leaflet setting out the range of choice available to new town tenants.

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Mr. Lambie : On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. During the debate, the Minister gave a guarantee that he would say whether new town tenants would be given the choice of having the district council as their new landlord. He has not answered that question.

Mr. Speaker : He has not been given an opportunity to do so.

Mr. Lang : I was about to move on to that very point.

I repeat that the desire for private ownership and the need for more information were the two strongest features to emerge from the survey, which is why we are distributing a leaflet putting the choices to tenants.

The concern over the possible transfer of houses to district councils is much stronger among the councils themselves--who seem more concerned with the acquisition of assets than with the provision of services--than it is among new town residents. I emphasise that we have not ruled out the possibility of transfers to district councils, which are specifically mentioned as one of the options that we shall consider during the wind up. However, there is no need to take a decision now--and we would narrow the choice if we were to do so. As the hon. Member for Cunninghame, South (Mr. Lambie) himself pointed out, it will be 10 years before Irvine's wind up is completed, and there would be no point in moving now from one public housing body to another.

The survey showed that, of those surveyed, less than 20 per cent. would now choose to go to a district council. The hon. Gentleman will find that in paragraph 5.9 of the report. At the time of wind up, of the four out of five people who wanted that choice only half would choose a district council and more than a third did not know what they would choose.

I am grateful to my right hon. Friend the Member for Ayr for welcoming the transfer of training activities to Scotland that is reflected in the proposals. I agree with him that, as a nation, we do not take training seriously enough, and I hope that the Bill will increase the recognition of the importance of training. As my right hon. Friend acknowledged, local enterprise companies will lead to that. As my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland said, training is an investment. Local enterprise companies will integrate with other economic initiatives and make the best use of local skill resources.

A recent survey carried out by the Confederation of British Industry, which appeared in yesterday's Scotsman, revealed that companies expect to invest more next year on marketing, research, product development and training. They recognise that training is essentially the responsibility of industry.

I do not believe that the hand-wringing of the hon. Member for Clydebank and Milngavie about the lack of investment and training is very persuasive when one looks back at the commitment to training schemes made by the Labour Government between 1978 and 1979 of some £471 million compared with the approximately £3 billion that we have put into such training schemes. We now spend more as a percentage of gross domestic product on training than Germany, the United States or Japan. One can see the increased priority that we are giving to training.

The youth training scheme now has a success rate of more than 80 per cent. of those who complete the course moving on to employment, further training or higher education. The employment training scheme, which the

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hon. Member for Clydebank and Milngavie so derided, is filled to the extent of some 26,000 places in Scotland, and 59 per cent. of those completing the scheme go into jobs.

An important aspect of our proposals is to involve the private sector more so that they accept their responsibilities for training. The hon. Member for Banff and Buchan was among hon. Members who made that point.

Paragraph 2 of the handbook emphasises the degree of flexibility that the local enterprise companies will be able to bring to bear on their priorities for training, maximising flexibility, shaping the balance of skills training and the geographic distribution of opportunities, determining which contractors to use and the levels of payment to sub- contractors, and in changing the design and content of programmes to meet local needs.

The Opposition dislike not just the nuts and bolts of the Bill, but the whole concept of enterprise. They do not like the idea--it is alien to them. We have not invented enterprise. It is a natural part of the human spirit--a quality or talent that is in all of us to varying degrees. The Government's contribution has been to release enterprise and provide it with a favourable, stable economic environment, free from the burdens of high taxation and the excessive regulation of centralised control and of nationalisation, and all the doctrinaire trappings of Socialism.

The independence of mind that enterprise engenders runs counter to Socialist philosophy, and that is why the Opposition see it as a threat. We see enterprise as a strength, a natural resource. The drive, energy, knowledge and commitment of individuals all over Scotland will help to build up employment and prosperity and enable people to realise the full potential of each area and to accelerate the national regeneration. That is how to spread the economic successes of recent years further and deeper. It is not what the Government do, but what they enable people to do for themselves. Enterprise is the antithesis of state control, and that is why the Labour party resists it. It is the antidote to Socialism, and that has been rejected all over eastern Europe as it is irrelevant, limited and sterile.

We see enterprise as a power for good that will allow a free and prosperous society to grow and flourish. That is the philosophy that drives the proposals in the Bill. The Bill will give a new boost to enterprise and employment growth in Scotland, and I commend it to the House.

Question put, That the amendment be made :--

The House divided : Ayes 213, Noes 253.

Division No. 31] [9.59


Abbott, Ms Diane

Adams, Allen (Paisley N)

Allen, Graham

Anderson, Donald

Archer, Rt Hon Peter

Armstrong, Hilary

Ashdown, Rt Hon Paddy

Ashley, Rt Hon Jack

Ashton, Joe

Banks, Tony (Newham NW)

Barnes, Harry (Derbyshire NE)

Barron, Kevin

Battle, John

Beckett, Margaret

Benn, Rt Hon Tony

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

Bermingham, Gerald

Bidwell, Sydney

Blair, Tony

Blunkett, David

Boateng, Paul

Boyes, Roland

Bray, Dr Jeremy

Brown, Gordon (D'mline E)

Brown, Nicholas (Newcastle E)

Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon)

Buchan, Norman

Buckley, George J.

Caborn, Richard

Callaghan, Jim

Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE)

Campbell, Ron (Blyth Valley)

Campbell-Savours, D. N.

Canavan, Dennis

Carlile, Alex (Mont'g)

Clark, Dr David (S Shields)

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