HC Deb 10 February 1988 vol 127 cc407-40
Mr. Meacher

I beg to move amendment No. 19, in page 24, line 44, leave out clauses 23 to 28 (part II of the Bill).

We now come to part II of the Bill. The Opposition deliberately formulated this amendment to delete the clauses constituting part II of the Bill so as to ensure a broad debate on the Government's proposals for training for the unemployed as a whole. We would certainly agree that there has long been a need for major improvement in adult training for the unemployed, but in our view there are several fundamental objections to the way in which the Government propose to proceed.

First, it should be recognised that by restricting the scheme to the unemployed they are making it very lopsided. Enhanced training for the employed is just as important, if not more so, but under this Government it has been run down to its lowest level for decades and is still being neglected. Britain now spends only just over 0.1 per cent. of its payroll on training to improve the skills of those in work, as compared with 2 per cent. to 3 per cent. in Germany and Sweden. There is a huge gap. Having dismantled most of Britain's training programmes, the Government are still ignoring the major part of the problem.

Furthermore, there is a fundamental dilemma over funding at the heart of the proposals, which we believe will make them unworkable. It is proposed both to increase the number of participants by 50 per cent. and to upgrade substantially the quality of training, but to achieve both those considerable extra objectives within the same budget as before—£1.5 billion. Frankly, that is impossible. The aims can be reconciled only by very large cuts in the allowances payable to trainees, which will severely impair incentives and fatally damage any prospect of a voluntary scheme. Once compulsion is introduced to overcome the consequences of inadequate funding, the whole character of the proposals will alter for the worse. There is risk that the scheme will be a monumental flop like the job training scheme, and for similar reasons.

The Secretary of State for Education and Science has talked about extending freedom of choice for young people, while the Secretary of State for Employment has favoured compulsion for the youth training scheme, which will sour the whole atmosphere of the scheme. If the Secretary of State of Employment is not to do the same for adult training, he must put his money where his mouth is. That will mean a substantial lift in the current budget ceiling. If the scheme is to remain voluntary and adequate incentives are to be provided for trainees, it is sheer fantasy to talk of enhanced high quality training—as the report does and as the Secretary of State does—without any increase in funding.

Paragraph 6.12 of the Manpower Services Commission working party report proposes £16 a week for the training component. I do not know whether the Secretary of State agrees with that, but it is plainly absurd for high-quality training. Moreover, a major part of the new proposal is the increased involvement of private employers who are to be offered £25 per week per trainee—the figure proposed by the MSC. That might be enough for cheap labour, but it is certainly not enough for enhanced training. Unless the Secretary of State faces up to the Treasury better than he has in the past, there are all the signs that the latest proposals will degenerate to provide the same kind of low-quality work placements as their predecessors.

The community programme managers have already made it clear that the present training and job search content cannot even be maintained unless the current fee of £440 per place is increased. But with many more participants working full-time, more training aids needed, more space used and more heating, lighting and telephone costs incurred, anything less than a 50 per cent. increase in costs is simply not viable. So far, the Secretary of State has turned a blind eye to the basic practicalities.

The next issue is the fundamental one that participation in training schemes must he voluntary. The Secretary of State has denied the element of compulsion — it is amazing that he has done so—but the Government's approach is increasingly riddled with compulsion, as I shall show. First, clause 4 of the Social Security Bill brings compulsion into YTS; there is no question about that. Then there is clause 26 dealing with adult training programmes, in which at least the potential for compulsion is also apparent. Thirdly, there is restart, the tighter availability for work rules and claimants being referred to the claimant adviser, who certainly puts the strongest pressure on claimants to get off the register, even if not into a job.

If there is the odd individual case of abuse—and of course there always will be—the Government can use the armoury of rules that they already have to prevent abuse of the benefits system. The legal powers available are already strictly applied. Section 20 of the Social Security Act 1975 specifically penalises claimants who have refused to avail themselves of a suitable opportunity of a place on an approved training programme. They are disqualified from receiving unemployment benefit for 13 weeks.

The Government now propose to make that 26 weeks, which is a very long time to suffer a reduction of supplementary benefit from £18.75 — not itself exactly generous—by 40 per cent. down to £11.25. Anyone who has tried to live on £11.25 a week for six months knows that that is a fearsome financial penalty. If the authorities believe that a claimant is not available for work, they can withdraw benefit altogether.

The evidence of those who decline to enter YTS or leave early shows that they do not deliberately become unemployed. Let me give one figure from the Government's own case. Of those declining a place on YTS—estimated by the MSC to be between 20,000 and 30,000 each year—fewer than 700 per year—2 per cent. to 3 per cent.—have had their benefit reduced for being voluntarily unemployed. There are powers to deal with the occasional case of abuse. No one challenges those powers, but there is no justification whatever for what is proposed in the Bill—the blanket and virtually automatic removal of benefit from all 16 to 17-year-olds. That is a completely different matter and we utterly reject the proposal.

As I have said, the provisions of clause 26 will mean that the new adult training programme will be anything but voluntary. The clause means that few claimants will be able to exercise their judgment and choice about whether a training scheme is appropriate to their circumstances or whether it will lead to a better chance of finding work. We still believe that the provisions in the 1975 Act are right. Under those provisions, unemployed people did not have to enter a programme if they could establish that it would not lead to a better chance of finding appropriate work. That reasonable allowance in the scheme is now explicitly ruled out. Clause 26 means that an offer of a place on the new scheme will be unrefusable, regardless of the quality or appropriateness of the scheme.

My next point is one that we did not raise in Committee. Any suggestion that voluntary work is an acceptable exit from this scheme, as is proposed in paragraph 5.37 of the MSC report, should be immediately scotched. If it is not, some people could be forced on to the scheme by threat of the withdrawal of benefit and simply offered unpaid voluntary work as a follow-up. They will be deprived of payment if they do not join the scheme and deprived of payment afterwards if they do. That is intolerable.

That brings me to the matter of employee status. Under the Employment Protection Act 1975, a worker has the right to take an employer before an industrial tribunal if he thinks that he has been unfairly dismissed for trade union activities. After six months' employment, an employee is entitled to written responses for a dismissal, and if that statement of response is untrue or inadequate, the employee is entitled to compensation. That sort of provision should also apply to trainees. It is vital that adult trainees should enjoy not only a safe and nondiscriminatory working environment, but that they should be free to undertake trade union activities, have the right to challenge arbitrary or unfair disciplinary procedures and should be allowed to appeal against unfair dismissal. That is not the case under the Bill.

7.15 pm

Introducing trainees to workplaces inevitably leads to an element of job substitution and displacement. Those things are on a considerable scale — greater than the Government have yet admitted. A study commissioned by the MSC shows that in 1986 the YTS had a job substitution effect of 17 per cent. A subsequent study published in the Employment Gazette in October suggested that job substitution in the YTS might be considerably greater. That is the Government's own official gazette and it speaks about a job displacement rate of up to 62 per cent. in establishments with fewer than 100 employees.

In 1986, the Technical Change Centre Research Organisation found that nearly one third of the employers that it surveyed gave savings in labour costs as the motive for participating in YTS. A further 16 per cent. who did not expect to save on labour costs found that they did so. The survey also found that nearly one in five of the employers involved would have taken on employees if they had not recruited YTS trainees. That is 20 per cent. of the employers surveyed. Another 18 per cent. would have taken on extra staff at peak periods and others would have had to subcontract some work. That shows the displacement and job substitution effect of the YTS and it is very worrying.

I shall now turn to the matter of the rate for the job. Last year, a YTS study gave estimates of the YTS trainees' output. They varied from £18 a week in mechanical engineering and £21 a week in construction to £36 a week in repair of consumer goods and vehicles and £33 a week in retail distribution. Those figures show the value of what are, supposedly, trainees.

If we assume, not unreasonably, that adult trainees would produce at least as much and in some case considerably more, it can be seen that many trainees will make a net contribution to their placement employer's profits after the managing agents' charges of £4 to £8 per day have been deduced. For that reason, trainees should be paid not some flimsy little allowance but the proper rate for the job.

The MSC claims that projects operating under the community programme will be able to continue as normal under the new programme. If that is true—and it is the MSC that says it—participants will be engaged in work for the majority of their time, 60 per cent., and will spend only 40 per cent. of their time in directed training. That is less than half. Therefore, participants will be engaged in the same activities as the ones that they are now engaged in — producing goods and services of benefit to the community—but they will become trainees and will lose their rights as employees. The value of their work will be downgraded because they will not receive the rate for the job.

If, as expected, the Government accept the proposed allowance on top of benefit—£10 plus an extra £1.95 for under 25-year-olds and £1.25 for married people without children—the amount will certainly not be sufficient to provide the motivation to join the scheme or to provide motivation on the scheme. There will be wide discrepancies of payment to participants, calculated at between £38 and £90 a week or even more. That is for people doing exactly the same work.

The Government claim that payments will reflect need rather than the rate for the job. That is totally spurious because the Government have deliberately held down the community programme average wage of £67 a week. That would now be over £85 a week if it had kept up with inflation since the time the community programme was introduced.

When the idea of the benefit-plus scheme for the longterm unemployed was originally suggested by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in his 1982 Budget, the premium suggested was £15. In the discussion on the Government's manifesto proposals during the recent election campaign, the then Secretary of State for Employment also suggested that the level of the premium would be about £15 a week. Therefore, £10 is a significant reduction on what the Government previously said, apart from being a major cut in present community programme payments.

It is undeniable that the vast majority of people currently employed in the community programme will be substantially worse off than they are under the present rate-for-the-job wage. I shall give two figures to illustrate that. On average, men employed as ordinary workers on the community programme are £39 a week better off than they were on benefit. That is the difference between £28 and £67. Women workers are £35 a week better off. Those figures show just how much those people will lose because of the change to benefit-plus.

Topping up is an important matter. The proposed income support arrangements will make effective topping up of wages difficult, if not virtually impossible. It will not enable unions to negotiate the full rate for the job, because, under the social security regulations, anything that a claimant receives over the additional £10 a week will be deducted pound for pound from his benefit entitlement. Similarly, spouses' earnings are likely to be deducted from a trainee's benefit-plus income. This will discourage employers from giving overtime or from asking people to work unsocial hours for higher wages or to work on Saturdays.

The final issue that concerns us involves trade unions and local advisory bodies. At present, trade unions, local authorities, local businesses and others exercise a monitoring role in the delivery of MSC programmes to the area manpower boards. However, the MSC is now proposing to replace the area manpower boards with a new structure of local advisory bodies, involving major changes, which have the Government's agreement.

One directly related change is that individual trade unions will lose their powers to scrutinise and to withhold approval from existing community programme schemes. Under the new programme, trade unions will merely have the right to be consulted where they are recognised and appropriate, and any difficulty arising in establishing a programme shall be referred to the MSC area manager who, if necessary, will invite one employer and one trade union member of the local board to assist him or her in resolving the disagreement. Only where the area manager agrees that jobs are threatened, the project should not be implemented. The size and composition of the new boards will, of course, reflect the changes in the commission itself, which has been deliberately biased by the Government in favour of the employers to humiliate and marginalise the trade unions. The boards are likely to be much smaller, with no more than 12 or 15 members. Again, employers will be in a majority, with the remainder of board members drawn from local authorities, trade unions, the education service and voluntary organisations. Significantly, the membership will be determined by the chairman, and who appoints the chairman? The Secretary of State. [Interruption.] Yes, no doubt it will be the Prime Minister, who is well known for spending much of her time, when she has some time to spare in the evening, looking through the patronage lists of the good and the great.

The MSC working party report proposes that local action plans involve only employers, and not the unions. That is another attempt by the Government to push aside any contribution from the unions. I should point out that trade unions have an obvious and necessary input into all training matters. Trying to oust them for reasons of political dogma will simply scupper the whole project—as happened, and rightly so, in the case of the job training scheme.

In conclusion, the co-operation of all sides — the trade unions, local authorities, voluntary organisations, and the area management boards as well as the employers—is essential if sufficient places are to be provided on schemes for long-term unemployed people. Such cooperation will be given if the Government adhere to the principles that I have outlined and, as a result, the scheme can be clearly demonstrated to be fair, effective and good for participants without damaging public service provision and employment. The principles that we have outlined—and nothing less than all those principles—should be the bedrock on which an improved training scheme can be built.

The Secretary of State for Employment (Mr. Norman Fowler)

Part II, which the hon. Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Meacher) seeks to remove, brings up to date the Employment and Training Act 1973, which created the Manpower Services Commission. The Bill brings that Act up to date because, in the 15 years since it reached the statute book, there have been considerable changes in the nature of our labour market, but at no time have the changes been as marked as they are now.

The unprecedented growth in output of the past six years has resulted in the creation of nearly 1.5 million new jobs. Unemployment is falling. In fact, it is undergoing the largest sustained fall on record. The seasonally adjusted December figure was the lowest for five and a half years. Youth unemployment is falling. It is down by one third over the past 12 months. There were fewer unemployed school leavers last September than in any September since 1974.

Those factors have highlighted the need to develop fresh approaches to people and work, and they have given us the opportunity to do so. It is this opportunity to respond to the needs of the new labour market which the Opposition are now attempting to block.

It is important to remind the House of the major change which took place last October—the establishment of an integrated employment service. Indeed, one of the most important aspects of part II is that it gives the Department of Employment the powers to operate the service for the longer term.

The new service seeks to bring together the work of the jobcentres and the unemployment benefit offices. Its main priority is to tackle the problem of long-term unemployment and to make sure that the unemployed get their fair share of the new jobs that the economy is creating. People who have been out of work for a long time clearly find it particularly difficult to get back into a job. They need special, individual help. However, under the previous system there was a risk that people attending only one of the two offices—either the unemployment benefit office or the jobcentre—could miss out on some of the services on offer. The new arrangements are designed to close that gap.

The new employment service is already, through the work of restart counsellors, implementing our commitment to provide counselling for the long-term unemployed to help them into a job or training. People who have been unemployed for more than six months are now being given this assistance at six-monthly intervals. It is proving to be an effective form of assistance. In the 18 months that the programme has been operating nationally, about 3 million people have been interviewed and over 85 per cent. have received a positive offer in the form of a place on a community programme, in a job club or on a job training scheme, and the like.

A second source of help provided by the employment service is the work of the claimant advisers. They can help to ensure that the person involved receives the right benefit. They can also show people with high benefit entitlement that it pays to work—[Interruption.] Well, the fact is—I think that we will be able to establish this even to the satisfaction of the hon. Member for Birmingham, Ladywood (Ms. Short)—that many of the people who currently turn down jobs are doing so in the mistaken belief that they will be better off on benefit. The new family credit which replaces the family income supplement in April means that virtually no one will be better off on benefit.

Ms. Short


Mr. Fowler

I shall give way in a moment.

I hope that, by re-integrating the jobcentres within the Department, we will clear the way for the new role of the Manpower Services Commission, which will now be called the Training Commission and which will provide a focus for our training efforts and will be directly responsible—

Ms. Short


Mr. Fowler

If the hon. Lady will wait a moment.

It will be directly responsible for training provision which is financed by public funds, and it will have a wider remit to encourage training by employers for their own employees.

Ms. Short

I am grateful to the Secretary of State for giving way. However, it is not good enough to misdescribe the changes that his Government have made through the availability for work tests and the claimant advisers, because unemployed people throughout the country know that those individuals exist to threaten and frighten them into taking up places on schemes that they do not find attractive. For the Secretary of State to stand at the Dispatch Box and say that those people are there to help is an insult to the experience of unemployed people in this country.

Mr. Fowler

What the hon. Lady has just said is wholly untrue and wholly without foundation. She should be thoroughly ashamed of herself for putting forward that view. The fact is that one job of a claimant adviser is to seek to explain to people—surely there cannot be any conflict among us that the social security system is sometimes difficult to understand—what the benefits are, not just out of work but in work. The hon. Lady has just revealed the destructiveness of her attitude, which was exhibited throughout the whole Committee stage.

The Training Commission will provide a focus for our training efforts. It will be directly responsible for training provision which is financed by public funds. I agree with the hon. Member for Oldham, West that there should be a responsibility on employers, which is why we are giving such a wide remit to encourage training by employers for their employees. I agree with the hon. Gentleman's first remarks that training for the unemployed is only one part of the issue; training for the employed must also be encompassed.

7.30 pm

The theme of the work of the Training Commission must be and will be training through life. The aim will be to fit people for a labour market which will change substantially during their working lives.

Of the clauses that the Opposition seek to remove, clause 23 enables me to appoint up to six additional employers to the commission. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why?"] Clearly employers are the major providers of training and employment. We cannot have an effective training strategy without industry, nor can we have an effective industry without training. My aim will be to appoint members from some of the areas of major employment growth—for example financial services, tourism and small firms. They will come not necessarily entirely from those areas, but from areas of that type where new jobs are being created.

Clause 24 adjusts the powers of the commission to take account of its new training function and the establishment of the employment service. Together with the largely technical provisions of the clause is the new power to pay a YTS bridging allowance.

Mr. Foot

The right hon. Gentleman says that when he enlarges the commission he will appoint some employers who represent new developments or industries. Why does he not appoint trade unionists from those industries in an equivalent number? The MSC was founded on the basis of that equality. It worked for a considerable time and, according to the right hon. Gentleman, it worked well. Now he is unbalancing the whole arrangement and he has not given any excuse for it. Trade unionists are as interested as employers or anybody else in developing these new industries.

Mr. Fowler

We set out these proposals clearly when we went to the country. We want to extend the representation on the commission because we believe that, in addition to its present members and make-up, there are others who can make a contribution in terms of their experience in job creation. Small firms are a classic area where there has been one of the greatest expansions in jobs. We should like to have someone from that area on the commission. There will still be trade union members on the commission. We have made no secret of the fact that we are not aiming for an equality of representation; we are trying to get the maximum amount of experience around the commission table for the creation of jobs.

Mr. Foot

If the Bill goes through, naturally we shall want the Training Commission to be successful. Indeed, the whole future of our industry depends on the new training system, however it may be devised, being successful. If the Secretary of State is so determined about its success, why does he not preserve one element of the old system which proved so successful and give some proper recognition to the trade union contribution? He talks as though trade unions cannot make a contribution equivalent to that of employers, but of course they can. He has weighted the commission in favour of employers without any excuse, and some half-sentence in a manifesto is not a proper excuse. He should give the House the reason why he will undermine the MSC which for many years worked on the basis of equivalence.

Mr. Fowler

The right hon. Gentleman may not accept my arguments, but I have given the reasons which he seeks. We are not doing what he accuses us of doing. We are not for a moment saying that trade unions do not have a contribution to make. That would be absurd. We are saying that others from outside not only the TUC but the CBI, have a greater contribution to make. They have experience of providing jobs in particular areas where over the past few years job creation has been most successful.

Clause 24 provides a new power to pay a YTS bridging allowance. The new guarantee to all 16 and 17-year-olds of a suitable YTS place is crucial. The vocational training leading to a recognised qualification will now be the norm, not the exception. It will be a universal opportunity—not, as so often in the past, a privilege for the lucky few. We shall seek to give the options of full-time education, training or employment. One effect of the hon. Gentleman's proposals would be to prevent our offering young people the short-term allowance to ease the transfer from one YTS job to another.

The provision of training for adults, both employed and unemployed, is not yet a match for our training of young people. Clearly, that is the most practical issue that the commission will have to address. A key aspect of its strategy will be the development of a new comprehensive training programme for the adult unemployed.

I shall seek to make a statement to the House on that new adult training programme shortly and, clearly, hon. Members will be able to ask questions. The House will not expect me to go into intricate detail now, but I shall make a couple of comments about it.

Broadly speaking, the new programme, for which the Government will be making available more than £1.4 billion, will have two objectives. It will aim to equip the unemployed, particularly the long-term unemployed, with the skills they need to re-enter and make the fullest possible contribution to the new labour market by providing a mixture of directed and practical training and by placing as much reliance as possible on training with employers. That is the best way to ensure that training meets the needs of industry. From the trainees' point of view, it is also the best way to help them get a job at the end of the programme.

Mr. Meacher

Could the Secretary of State get away from his gramophone record speech and perhaps answer one or two of my specific questions? How is it possible in the same budget to increase the number of participants by 50 per cent. and to produce enhanced high quality training without so cutting back the level of trainee allowances as to reduce the motivation for people to join the scheme, leading to compulsion to ensure that the places are taken up, which will sour the scheme?

Mr. Fowler

I come precisely to that matter. The first point to make in response to what the hon. Gentleman said is that he is under a misconception about what the £1.4 billion refers to. There are 500,000 people under training, not the 400,000 that he has been quoting. The 400,000 refers to a previous year of training.

The second aim of the new programme is to ensure that all unemployed people have an incentive to participate in it, which is why we are seeking to move from the present system of payment to an allowance based on benefit entitlement plus a premium. I accept entirely the hon. Gentleman's point that the success of the new programme will depend on its ability to deliver high-quality training.

First, we will convert the £1 billion a year spent on temporary work projects in the community programme to money to be spent on training. That is an enormous turnaround. Secondly, the new programme will bring together more than 30 schemes that the MSC runs. As a result, we will be able to do away with wasteful divisions and complexities in the current arrangements and instead will have a simpler, more efficient and more flexible arrangement, ensuring better use of resources.

Thirdly, the new programme will have the substantial budget of about £1.4 billion a year, which will enable 600,000 people to be trained each year. On top of that budget, the proposals of the MSC envisage employers contributing £150 million a year towards training costs. Almost all the contributions from employers will be new money and will therefore provide a further means of enabling training quality to be enhanced.

Fourthly, I have said many times that the proposals of the MSC — I accept what the right hon. Member for Blaenau Gwent (Mr. Foot) said about the MSC—are its unanimous recommendations for training 600,000 people a year with £1.4 billion from the Government.

Ms. Short


Mr. Fowler

If I could go on.

The MSC's proposals are not for a cheapskate scheme but for a programme delivering high-quality training. The MSC has proposed built-in measures to ensure that the quality standards are achieved and maintained. Approved status against set criteria will be required of all training agents and training managers. Inspections will be made by the training standards advisory service, and recognised qualifications will be offered wherever possible. The MSC would not have put forward its report unless it considered that all this could be done within the resources available. Therefore, I have no fears about the quality of the new programme.

Ms. Short

I am sure that the Secretary of State would not wish to mislead the House. He set down parameters; he wrote to the Manpower Services Commission and said, "For this £1.4 billion you have to get 600,000 people through the scheme." The commission has come up with the best possible deal that can be got within those parameters. The Secretary of State knows, as I and many others know, that many trade union representatives on the commission have agonised about whether they are right to endorse that deal. They feel that perhaps they should stay in because they have got a few more pounds for the unemployed than would have been available without those trade union negotiators, but all of them are deeply unhappy about the proposed scheme. That is the truth.

Mr. Fowler

I do not accept what the hon. Lady says. She again seeks, as she does in all her contributions on training, to destroy any consensus on it. It can hardly be denied that the MSC has made a unanimous report on the scheme. Whatever concerns there may be in the background, that is the most important point to grasp. The hon. Lady referred to the attitude of trade unionists, but it seems to me that their attitude is a darn sight more constructive to the proposals than is the attitude that she has shown in these proceedings.

7.45 pm
Mr. Henry McLeish (Fife, Central)

The Secretary of State sent a letter to the commission on 18 September outlining the framework for the proposals. Did that framework include the sum of money and number of places he envisaged?

Mr. Fowler

The framework included, from memory, the budget which was there; that is broadly correct. Of course, that was our proposition to the Manpower Services Commission, but it has had the opportunity of considering it and responding to it.

I want there to be no mistake about this. I have endorsed the commission's recommendation that the new programme should be voluntary. I have no plans to designate it approved training for the purpose of benefit sanctions under section 20 of the Social Security Act 1975. The quality of the new programme and the guaranteed lead over benefit will provide a more than adequate incenitive to those who genuinely want to work. I agree with what the hon. Gentleman said; the vast majority of people want to work.

Mr. Meacher

That is a very important point. Does the Secretary of State believe that a £10 lead over benefit, from which we have to deduct the £5 cost of work expenses that will not be covered—so it is a £5 lead over benefit—will offer a real incentive to hundreds of thousands of people, when the community programme allowance has not been increased in line with inflation and is some £20 or £30 higher than the level of benefit? Will not that constitute a huge disincentive to getting the numbers that the right hon. Gentleman wants and will it not lead remorselessly to compulsion?

Mr. Fowler

It will not lead remorselessly to compulsion. I have made it clear that I have endorsed the commission's recommendation that the new programme should be voluntary, so I hope that that is understood.

I shall refer to the details of the payment when I make my statement to the House. I am sure that the hon. Gentleman would not expect me to make a statement on that now. It must be common ground—I am not the only one to have observed this; organisations such as Youth Aid have observed it—that the present structure of payment for community programmes leaves out many married people with children simply because it does not attract the average of £67. In the end, the community programme is a part-time scheme, predominantly for young people. It leaves out many long-term unemployed people who are married and have families. We will seek to expand on those points in the White Paper and my statement on it.

Ms. Short

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Fowler

I will not give way again, but I will listen to what the hon. Lady has said. I want to underline the fact that the new programme is to be voluntary. I hope that that message, if no other, comes from this debate.

Part II of the Bill, which the Opposition are trying to remove, provides the foundation of our strategy for employment and training. That strategy takes account of, and builds on, the many developments in the labour markets that have already taken place. That strategy looks forward to the labour market of the 1990s and, above all, to the skills that working people will need then. Trying to remove the provisions in part H is an attempt to turn the clock back to the early 1970s. That is a futile objective and I resist the amendment.

Mr. McLeish

You will forgive me, Madam Deputy Speaker, for not giving the same account of part II as that given by the Secretary of State for Employment. Many of my hon. Friends and I believe that part II is so important and so bad that we want to delete—not amend — a whole section of a major Bill. That speaks volumes for our general concerns.

Each clause in part II is significant and far-reaching, for the unemployed and for society in general. However, my hon. Friends are worried that part II is much more than the sum of its individual clauses. The debate is timely because, as the Secretary of State said, a White Paper on the new adult programme will be presented soon. Clearly, this legislation paves the way for the introduction of that programme.

The Opposition stress that in the past nine years, training has become a devalued concept in the public's eyes because of the abuse heaped on it by the Government. Training has been discussed in great detail, hut, considering the serious or effective training in the United Kingdom, many people would doubt the validity of this Government using the training concept.

Part II provides a fascinating insight into Government thinking about the unemployed. It marks a watershed in the consensus that has existed over the past few years in our ability to identify problems and, one hopes, come up with constructive measures to tackle them. I also believe that part II represents a fundamental shift in the attitude of Governments since the war to those problems. Clearly it identifies a positive merging for the first time of the social security benefit system with the provision of temporary work and temporary training programmes.

To use an ugly word, it is workfare. That concept has been imported from the United States. It is alien to the unemployed — I notice that the Secretary of State is shaking his head. I understand that he will be visiting the United States at Easter to study what is happening in more detail, and many of his colleagues have already been to the United States. For the first time, the unemployed will be subjected to social security payments and poor-quality training.

While Ministers stand at the Dispatch Box and speak very plausibly about the needs of the unemployed and the sincerity of the Government's approach, they have adopted a sinister, pathological approach to the unemployed. The Government are not concerned about problems with the economy. The Government's proposals have nothing to do with the fact that there are still 2–6 million people on the dole, 500,000 young people forced into YTS and another 600,000 people about to embark on the new adult programme. The Government are not concerned with economic policies. They are telling the unemployed, "Look, we are helping you out because your deficiencies have created your position." That smacks of the old Poor Law mentality that some of my older colleagues may recall—although perhaps that is before their time.

This is a fundamental shift in the Government's approach to unemployment and training — — [Interruption.] The Secretary of State is obviously enjoying my contribution, so I will probably speak for at least three hours longer than I had originally envisaged.

Why are we suggesting that the whole of part II should be deleted? Let us consider part II in detail. Not many Conservative Members present today were in Committee. For their benefit, I will explain that clause 23 suggests that the Manpower Services Commission should become the Training Commission. That is fine. There is no problem about that. However, as my hon. Friend the Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Meacher) has said, that Training Commission will be packed with employers' or quasi-employers' representatives. No justification has been given for that. Those changes undermine the MSC's status and they are an attempt to smash the tripartite arrangements and the consensus that existed for many years about those specific problems.

Clause 24 is interesting. It introduces the bridging allowance concept. The Government are guaranteeing every young person a place on the new programme. However, they have come up with the idea of an eight-week allowance at £15 a head in case young people do not get a place as quickly as the Government guarantee. That is obviously necessary because of the outrageous proposal contained in clause 4 of the Social Security Bill, which intends to withdraw the general entitlement to benefit from 16 and 17-year-olds. The Government create one mess and put forward another in its place as a sop to young people who, when they leave a programme or a job, find difficulty getting another.

Clause 25 is sinister. It allows the Secretary of State to take dramatic powers to control the destiny of young people and adults in any designated training programme. It affects conditions and pay and it means that unprecedented decisions can be taken by the Department. There will be no decentralisation, but the Secretary of State will designate groups, and his power will mean that young people's status, conditions and pay will be affected, as my hon. Friend the Member for Oldham, West said earlier.

Clause 26 deals with the compulsory element with the amendments to the Social Security Act 1975. It is outrageous for the Secretary of State to suggest that this measure is all about sweetness and light and the willing hand of Government seeking to help people in difficulties. While the plausibility may be accepted by people who understand nothing about training, the young kids at the sharp end in Scotland, Liverpool, Birmingham and London will feel very sour when they hear those comments as the reality is more difficult than the Secretary of State is willing or able to accept.

What is the real reason for the Opposition voting to support amendment No. 19? We will vote for it because of this sequence of events. Part II seeks to emasculate the MSC. It builds on the withdrawal of the genuine entitlement to benefit of 16 and 17-year-olds. That age group is isolated, vulnerable and prey to the sort of policies and programmes envisaged in the Bill. I have already referred to the Secretary of State's remarkable power to intervene on the status of young people. I believe that all the powers in part II mean a dramatic intensification of the states power to meddle, interfere and coerce and to make compulsory many things that people believe should be voluntary because they are all related to personal choice.

I am a new Member. I have been involved in training and was a member of a manpower area board. I carried out consultancy work with young people and I have a passionate interest in education. However, as a result of the Secretary of State's delivery at the Dispatch Box and the contributions in Committee, I am fundamentally worried that we are returning to a Poor Law philosophy on the back of workfare. The Government have adopted a punitive approach to people who do not fit into this expanding economy that we hear so much about. I have already referred to the individualistic approach — blaming those who do not fit in and no one else.

The Secretary of State said much about the expansion in the number of jobs and the labour market. However, there are more part-time jobs in that labour market. People receive less pay in that labour market than they did three or four years ago. I accept that the labour market is changing, but many young people will not be too willing to enter the labour market that has been created by this Government.

I want to make a serious point about the Government's attack on the unemployed. We have been told that there must be co-operation for the new adult scheme to work. As my hon. Friend the Member for Oldham, West said, many groups including voluntary organisations and local authorities are among the most important providers. The Secretary of State said that, if employers are providing enough training, the providers must be considered and the MSC area boards will be packed to allow that to happen.

If the Secretary of State cannot get the co-operation of voluntary organisations and local authorities, the new programme is dead. Over 90 per cent. of places are provided by these two sponsors. If the Secretary of State treats with contempt the representations they have made, there will be a sad outcome for the unemployed. It is not the Labour party which will suffer but the Government, who are so arrogant and so devoid of sanity that they are willing to jeopardise a £1.5 billion programme because of the dogma and prejudice enshrined in part II of the Bill.

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It is regrettable that we have reached this stage in relation to a group of people who need a radical, imaginative and innovative programme. People are apprehensive. If the Bill is enacted, their apprehensions will be reinforced. If the White Paper which the Secretary is to present contains some of the proposals which we suspect it will, I fear for the future of the new programme.

The Secretary of State has talked about the new labour market. We have heard about a refreshing change and policies designed to complement what is happening in society. In reality, Britain is fast becoming a country where quantity is overtaking quality. Germany, France, Denmark and Sweden are all approaching the problem positively, with policies to tackle the industrial needs of those in work and those out of work. In Committee, my hon. Friend the Member for Ashfield (Mr. Haynes) was always talking about the Secretary of State's visit to Sweden.

My hon. Friend the Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Meacher) has said that we have the worst trained work force in Europe. In comparison to the OECD countries, our record is even worse. Some countries whose industrial performance we might laugh at have more effective industrial training policies. That is the economy which Government Members ask us to contemplate. If we are serious about training for adults and for young people, in work or out of work, we must start learning a lesson from countries which provide dramatic examples of what can be done.

When we have discussions about training, we should remember the regional imbalances. It is fine for the Secretary of State to say in this Chamber in London that all the young people in Westminster can find jobs as soon as they leave school. Young people in my constituency do not have that luxury. Parents are desperate to find work for their children. It is the same in Wales and in the regions. We will be viewed with suspicion if we spout in this Chamber about conditions in London when things are so different when one drives 20 or 30 miles from here.

As for sex, race and disability, many fine words have been spoken about equal opportunities. I hope that, when the Secretary of State presents his White Paper, he will cover those points.

If the Government are as serious about training as we are, they should say so. We want the Government to regard training not as an alternative to the dole queue but as important in itself. Any self-respecting industrial nation wants to invest resources in training. When the Secretary of State replies to the debate, I want him to say that the Government are taking training seriously, but not as a sop to the dole queue. If there is one thing a young person or an adult does not like it is being made to feel that he is being used, with no end product as a result.

I ask the Secretary of State to accept the simple proposition emerging from the Manpower Services Commission, from the Labour party and from other groups which could not be classified as political. When will we get out of the rut of producing narrow-based, high-volume programmes for kids, young people and adults? Has the Secretary of State any self-respect when he says that we can spend £1.5 billion on 600,000 people and then talk about real quality? I cannot believe that that is a reality. If we are serious about wanting people to have respect for what the Government are doing, that is not how to do it.

"Freedom", "independence" and "choice" are words that trip off the tongues of Ministers on every subject. What freedom, what independence and what choice are there for many young people and adults who are victims of economic policies beyond their responsibility? It cannot be right to talk about a choice for kids when the Government are withdrawing university places and treating further education provision with contempt, and when they have smashed apprenticeships and job opportunities for many years. Some people may regard that as choice, but I do not believe it is. That is why there is cynicism and great disrespect for the Government's provisions.

Mr. Geoffrey Dickens (Littleborough and Saddleworth)

I came into the Chamber to listen and not to speak, but I think that there are important things to be said from the Government Benches to Opposition Members who in many cases are rehearsing arguments which they have gone over in Committee.

I have been saddened by some of the contributions. We have heard talk of cheap labour, of insufficient benefit and of trade unions not having enough say. Opposition Members should remember that the Government have no money; it is the taxpayers' money, which has to be used sensibly. The greatest motivation for a person is not how much money he will be paid while he is training but what the prospects will be at the end of the training, when he has gained new skills which one hopes will lead to a permanent job so that he may marry, have a family and perhaps purchase his own home. These are the things that motivate people towards getting proper permanent jobs rather than false jobs.

It is not so long since the Opposition were always reminding us that training schemes were a way of disguising the unemployment figures. We do not hear much of that now, because our Action for Jobs programme happens to be working very well. The Conservative Government have come up with schemes that were beyond the wildest imagination of the Opposition. In the Labour party manifesto at the general election, we did not see much evidence of what it would do. The Conservative Government, with their Action for Jobs, are getting people back to work and are training for the needs of industry.

Hon. Members should realise that industry in this country is taking off faster than in the rest of Europe. If we do not have training schemes, we will not have people with sufficient skill in the right industry to take up the positions that will be on offer. Let us make no mistake: the hon. Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Meacher) gave me the impression that he would rather pay people a large benefit to sit at home doing nothing. Yet Action for Jobs provides all sorts of options.

Taxpayers should not be expected to support someone who is not prepared to help himself by taking up the option of training. Opposition Members talk about availability for work. I suppose they have all heard of the black market. The black market means that someone is claiming benefit and working at the same time. They are squeezing the taxpayer in two ways. First, they are not paying taxes and, secondly, they are drawing benefit that the taxpayers are paying for.

We are putting forward sensible and helpful solutions. We hear all this nonsense about pouring in money in order to motivate people to go on training schemes, and we hear nonsense about the level of benefit paid during the time spent on those schemes. The motivation that people under training need is the prospect that their new and extra skills may lead to a permanent job. That is what the Conservative Government stand for, and that is what they are doing.

Mr. Ron Leighton (Newham, North-East)

The hon. Member for Littleborough and Saddleworth (Mr. Dickens) obviously approaches these matters in a deeply philosophical way, which leads me on to the few comments I want to make.

Part II uproots and mutilates the MSC. I do not think that that is an excessive way of putting it. It takes 11,000 officials from the MSC and puts them in the Department of Employment. It also takes considerably more than £500 million from the MSC and transfers it to the Department of Employment. Therefore, it is not excessive to say that the MSC is being uprooted and mutilated. That must be the result of the new philosophy and new approach to these matters.

The Secretary of State referred to the debate in 1973. The other evening I could not sleep very well so I read the Hansard for 1973 which contains the debate in which the MSC was set up. I find a completely different atmosphere in the Chamber now. The Secretary of State was then Maurice Macmillan. He explained the new idea of a labour market organisation that would not be controlled by the Government. He said that it would be independent. It would be an organisation of the partners in the labour market — the employers, the trade unions, the local authorities and the education authorities. The Government were to have a hands-off approach. That was the novel concept adumbrated by Maurice Macmillan.

If hon. Members read that debate — I recommend them to do so— they will see that there was one Conservative Back Bencher, the present Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and a predecessor of the current Secretary of State for Employment, who could not understand the new concept. He could not understand how we could set up a body that was not controlled by the Government. It was not an easy concept, but Maurice Macmillan sought to explain how it would be possible. My right hon. Friend the Member for Doncaster, Central (Mr. Walker), now a Deputy Speaker, spoke from the Labour Front Bench. I will not mention the other Labour Front Bench spokesman of the time.

There was a consensus in the House. It was a bipartisan issue. Everybody agreed with what we were trying to do in those days. How different it is today. Look at the atmosphere in the House today. This is the new approach, the new Conservative party. It is completely different.

We are adding six extra employers to the MSC. I am all in favour of the employers, but no one has explained to me why there will be six extra employers and not six extra trade unionists. After all, as the MSC has explained, it does not proceed by voting. If we have to decide by voting, we might as well not have an MSC. It does not do things that way.

The only time I know that the MSC had a vote was when the skill centres were axed. The proposition was carried by one vote. The representative of the education interests who originally supported it was a Scotsman. He later said he had made a mistake and wanted to change his vote. However, it was too late. The MSC does not proceed by voting. Perhaps it is like the Cabinet. There are bodies that do not proceed by means of votes, because if they did the whole thing would break down.

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Since then, the Government have increasingly changed the nature of the MSC and leaned on it in a way that is pushing it to destruction and into something completely different. My hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Ladywood (Ms. Short) talked about the agonies of some trade unionists on the MSC. They have been put under great stress. The Government have been giving instructions to the MSC. For example, the youth training scheme was set up after an instruction from the Government. They did not consult the MSC and ask whether it thought that the scheme would be a good idea. I do not blame the present Secretary of State for that, but that is how it happened.

The MSC do not like what the Government are doing to it. As the Secretary of State knows, the MSC wrote to him on 23 July. I have seen the letter and I hope that I will receive a copy of his reply to the MSC, which said: We are saddened by your intention and you would not expect us to be otherwise. The letter was written by Sir Bryan Nicholson. He has gone now. He went rather sadly and is now doing something else. The letter went on: From the very earliest days of the Commission we have set great store on establishing and maintaining an attractive public Employment Service". It has tried to set up an "attractive" service, not a compulsory one. It has not said, "If you do not go on this scheme or take this job, you will not receive any benefit."

The letter goes on to say that the MSC wants to offer a service that provides employers, not least small firms, with an efficient service offering them the best value for money… treats individual job seekers and job changers"— that is good— in a way they have a right to expect in a modern society. They are not to be treated as criminals, convicts, recalcitrants, spongers or scoundrels, but, to use the words of the MSC, as they have a right to expect in a modern society. The letter also mentions the disabled and says that the MSC wants to provide an attractive gateway to other opportunities. The sense of that letter is that the MSC does not trust the Government to do that. It does not trust the Government to provide an "attractive" employment service. We will have to see. It may be a little coded, but that is what the MSC is saying. The letter says: we urge you to pay the closest possible attention to the following matters which could be at risk in what will inevitably be a protracted and difficult organsiational transition. I will not read too much of the letter, but I shall mention two things. The MSC says that it is worried that, if the service is too closely identified with benefit payments and benefit claimants, employers might not wish to use the service in the future. The employers might not like it if it is based on benefits, compulsion and other such aspects.

The letter states: Management and staff of the functions you propose to transfer will need to be reassured that the move is not a prelude to privatisation, to further staff cuts, or to changes in their terms and conditions". I do not know whether they have received those assurances. The Secretary of State said that he had received a unanimous response. I think that that was so. What was said in that unanimous response? The MSC says that participation in the new scheme should be voluntary and that unions should have a significant say in whether individual schemes receive approval.

Every community programme must have union approval, but will that still be the case? If not, there will be trouble with that programme. We saw what happened to the job training scheme. The TUC did not approve of that and it was a complete flop because there was no consensus. That is likely to happen again, if we rush at things in a headstrong way and if we do not have any consensus and ignore the TUC.

The MSC report to the Government states that existing schemes have failed to live up to expectations. A few days ago, I received a copy of the February issue of Personnel Management. I do not know whether other hon. Members have read it, but it is a good publication. It refers to the MSC report to the Government, which stated: All the commission's research and experience show that many of the unemployed are sceptical and hostile towards Government programmes. All of the present and past programmes have had their value and continue to do so. But, taken together or taken separately, they leave gaps or fail, in different ways, to measure up to the needs of the time or the hopes and aspirations of the long-term unemployed. The Secretary of State must not spoil the ship for a ha'p'orth of tar by skimping on the money involved. Extra people will go on to the scheme without extra money.

We do not have the same level of training as other countries, not because the Government do not put in the same amount of money as West Germany, France or the United States, but because British companies do not put in sufficient money. Every Secretary of State for Employment that I have known has lamented that fact. If the present Secretary of State needs to be convinced, he should talk to his new Parliamentary Secretary, who is an expert on this subject.

How can we encourage British employers to invest in people? Foreign companies recognise the benefits of doing that. They invest up to 5 per cent. of turnover, yet the average input in British industry is 0.3 per cent. The Government are financing schemes, but I urge them not to skimp and ruin the schemes.

The commission proposes that, in addition to the £10 a week premium, participants should be paid travel costs of over £5 a week. They should also be given any lodging expenses, as well as assistance with other necessary items, such as special clothing and tools. There would also be a payment of up to £50 per week to meet the child care costs of single parents. I accept that the Secretary of State cannot give the precise figures today, but even £10 is more than the Department was wanting to pay. The unemployed are now allowed to earn up to £4 a week.

Mr. Clay

Does my hon. Friend agree that even that is a little deceptive? Most people's travelling costs will be above £5 and will therefore have to come off the £10. The trainee will have to pay those costs himself so, in reality, the sum is not even £10.

Mr. Leighton

I do not understand how this will be done but, at present, the unemployed are allowed to earn £4 a week without losing benefit, so £10 is really £6. The Department of Health and Social Security estimated about £7 for the costs of travel, clothing and food. That should be added. Instead of driving this sum down, the Government would be well advised to be generous and to obtain full consent for these programmes. The value of the training is most important, but it will be a great mistake to screw down this payment and affront everybody.

We are all in favour of a high-quality YTS scheme. An article in the October edition of the Employment Gazette dealt with the economic effects of YTS schemes. It referred to the deadweight effect of YTS places, that replace the jobs for young people which would have existed without YTS. It also referred to jobs for older workers which were replaced by YTS trainees. It then referred to output—in other words, value added—by trainees on YTS schemes. They go to work and they produce. What is the value of what they produce?

The output of service industries—repair of consumer goods and vehicles, retail, distribution and personal services—is above the YTS rate of pay of £27.30, and the trainee produces more than £27.30. According to the article, the output of retail assistants is measured at £39 a week. If one produced £39 a week of added value and was paid only £27 one could describe that as cheap labour. A trainee could be brought in as a substitute for a worker who had been sacked. That is not a good aspect of the scheme.

According to the article, some YTS trainees are being trained for skills that are not in short supply and could be met without YTS training. That applies particularly to YTS trainees in retailing, which has 25 per cent. of all trainees. Hotels have 7 per cent. of trainees and personal services, such as hairdressing, have 6 per cent. of trainees. Clerical trainees in all sectors account for 10 per cent. of YTS trainees. Those categories account for almost 50 per cent. of YTS trainees. Fifty per cent. of those trainees are in valuable schemes, but 50 per cent. are in schemes where they are not getting proper training, or in areas which are not in short supply.

The quality of training in retail schemes is less than satisfactory. Several managers in those trades admitted that there would be little to teach second-year YTS trainees. Training for general shop assistants could be provided in a few weeks—for example, just by filling up shelves.

We want a first-class YTS scheme. We want better quality training. The training allowance should be higher. It is not right to say that we have got everything perfect. We do not want a cheapskate scheme. If we could get a decent, high-quality scheme without cheap labour, we could have a bipartisan policy. Unfortunately, we do not appear to have one at the moment.

8.30 pm
Mrs. Golding

The Bill represents yet more centralisation of power, yet more power for the Minister, and the transfer of yet more power to the Ministry. At the moment, in the MSC, employers, trade unions, local authorities and educationists work together in a practical way. They talk about things, people and places that they know. To them, they are real places, not just bits of paper in Ministry files.

For many years, I sat as a trade union member on the old North Staffordshire district manpower services committee. I had a great deal of first-hand experience and knowledge of local training and employment needs. The committee dealt with matters by bringing together employers, trade unions, local authorities and educationists. They were not civil servants. Indeed, civil servants and people from the Ministry would not have had the kind of expertise that members of the Committee had. We knew north Staffordshire's needs.

The former Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme was the Minister in the Department at that time. Many people in his Department were sceptical about the work of district manpower committees. Never one to duck an issue, the then Minister, the former Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme, said, "Right. We shall have a detailed survey of an area. We shall choose north Staffordshire." Departmental officials had relevant details. They went to all employers in the area. They went to schools and every other place that they could think of. They collected a great deal of material. When they had collated the material, they produced a little book and took it along to the committee.

All that the 20 committee members had said were north Staffordshire's needs were stated in that book. With their survey and expertise, they did not find one matter that the committee, as local people, did not know. We in north Staffordshire talk to each other, we know each other and, furthermore, we like and trust each other. That is the best way in which to deal with training and employment. We know that training and employment go hand in hand, and that they should not be isolated from each other.

Most certainly, the Department of Employment was responsible for some schemes, but look at what happened to them. The Department let them slip through its fingers. I refer to the job release scheme. Another scheme was put forward by the former hon. Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme. It was thought of by an ordinary working man who had practical experience. Perhaps the Minister should talk to more ordinary working people who have practical experience and get some better ideas for schemes. That scheme was scrapped because it was practical. It was a humane way in which to solve a problem, but it was scrapped because the Ministry is the Treasury's lapdog. It was far too practical and expensive for it.

In the MSC, employers and unions have acted together to try to solve problems. The Ministry has now decided to change the balance of trade union and employer representation on the new committee. The strength of the MSC has always been that trade unions and the Confederation of British Industry have nominated people with a fierce pride in their areas and a determination to fight for their industries, services and workers. The Minister does not want fighters; he wants lapdogs. In future, he will choose people to sit on boards. That choice will not be for unions or the CBI. Oh, no—they are not to be trusted.

The Bill will give the Minister yet more control, which is what he wants. So much for the Tory idea of local consultation. The clauses have nothing do do with good sense or industry and training needs. The Minister should withdraw them and think again.

Mr. Tony Worthington (Clydebank and Milngavie)

The hon. Member for Fife, Central (Mr. McLeish) spoke of how the Government have debased the term "training". I thought of my first job. I worked—I stress the word "work"—in a borstal, where I heard the governors's pep talk to new trainees. It was an interesting choice of words. He said, "You are not here for punishment, you are here for training." There was the loudest suppressed raspberry that I have ever heard. When we talk to youngsters, as many hon. Members and I did during the general election campaign, we use the word "training" and we know that we are using a word that has been debased.

There is great concern about the consequences of the changes. I shall talk about the changes as they affect the adult training programme. There is probably much agreement among hon. Members about the present community programme. We are not happy that it is an overwhelmingly part-time scheme.

Ms. Short

The Secretary of State would not give way on this point. My hon. Friend will remember that, when the Government introduced the community programme, which replaced the old community enterprise programme, they deliberately introduced much part-time work to keep the wage rate down to an average of £67. They are now using the excuse that, because part-time work produces low wages and therefore cannot attract people with dependants to the benefit-plus system, the solution is to provide full-time places within the scheme. They have manufactured a problem which they have solved by giving people, in effect, £5 on top of their benefit.

Mr. Worthington

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for covering the next two pages of my speech. Her point should be made many times.

Due to its design, the scheme became overwhelmingly part-time. Due to its design, older workers find the present scheme unattractive. There are faults in the scheme. Frequently, the community programme relates to work that is more properly done by local social and health services people. We would all agree that it was a major folly to introduce the community programme without an adequate training component. The Government now realise that fact, but they are not putting matters right in the way they should.

Opposition Members agree that a major fault of the scheme is that wages started too low and, over time, have become proportionately lower. What do the Government do about the faults? They lower wages even further and convert the programme into a full-time programme by using DHSS money, rather than facing up to the inadequacy of funding. They then say that training should come from the same inadequate budget as before.

I particularly refer to the Government's complete indifference to the consequence of their policy changes on present users of the community programme, those who sponsor the community programme, and its clients. Frequently, its clients are among the most disadvantaged people in our society, for whom the community programme, whatever its faults, has been used by voluntary organisations and local authorities to give services to the elderly, mentally ill and handicapped. I find the Government's indifference to the consequences of these changes disturbing.

It is all very well to say that, in future, the adult training programme, the community programme with a future, should be private-sector led. Where is the private sector in my constituency? The Minister must return and tell us where these training places will come from. At present, more than 90 per cent. of the community programme places in Scotland are local authority or voluntary organisation-led. Who will come forward from the private sector in areas in which unemployment is 20 per cent. and higher, and in which there is no local economy?

Where is the private sector that will employ—that word is not a term to be used any more—people and provide these training places? I have corresponded with the Minister about this. Will supermarkets and the retail sector be the leaders, as my hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Mrs. Golding) mentioned in connection with the youth training scheme? Will supermarkets and other large stores provide training places?

We already know that the Government pay the wages of much of the private sector through job substitution on the youth training scheme. The people of this country subsidise private industry by paying the wages of those firms. That will happen under the adult training programme, too. The workers in retailing, the members of the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers, are alarmed that, in an industry in which jobs are increasingly low-paid and part-time, they will be squeezed out by the adult training programme.

The private sector does not exist in my area. The combination of job scarcity and social deprivation in my constituency means that community benefit projects are especially valuable.

I come now to the consequences of the Bill for the clients of community programmes. In the Clydebank part of my constituency, the MSC has, unbelievably, been the largest single employer. At one stage more than 1,000 workers were employed on community programme schemes in that area. I shall quickly list some of them. The first is a security project, sponsored by the local authorities and voluntary organisations in the area, which greatly improves the quality of life for the elderly and disabled by giving them security in their homes. Crucial to the success of that scheme is the quality of its management and the motivation of its workers, as people are being allowed into private homes. What will the proposals do to the quality of such a scheme?

What about the care of gardens schemes which are mounted by local councils for the elderly and the disabled, who take pride in their gardens but cannot manage them themselves? For there to be an adequate contract between the people who receive and the people who run that service, the people on the scheme must be well motivated so that the project is well managed. In my area there is a small converted doctor's surgery, which local people have run as a day centre. It is called "The Wee Hub" and it has been established by local people with MSC funds as a day centre for the elderly. They struggle to make it run—they have to keep on changing the staff—but the staff that they find are well motivated and are not induced to be there by the pittance that comes in.

What about the link schemes in the Glasgow area, where 35 workers provide a service for literally thousands of people who have been mentally ill? Once again, the quality of the scheme is crucial. If I had had my way the community programme would never have been allowed near such schemes. It is fundamentally unsuited to them, lacking, as it does, trained workers, and receiving annual funding, but the voluntary organisations have made the scheme work.

Above all, what about the Crossroads care attendance scheme — 23 MSC-funded projects that provide assistance to those who care for the elderly and the handicapped? The scheme brings in £1.5 million from the MSC each year. Workers go into homes and look after people's nearest and dearest. What will happen to the quality of that scheme? The Government's response is one of total indifference.

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The impact of MSC expenditure in Scotland is considerable—£140 million a year. That compares with the Scottish Development Agency budget of £95 million a year. What is done with that money matters a great deal to the economy. The voluntary sector in Scotland is underpinned by £48 million-worth of MSC funds. Those resources are on a scale that the voluntary sector has never had before. That sector has enormously assisted the Government to make their community programme work; now, under these proposals, it will be kicked in the teeth for its co-operation.

Mr. Clay

Before my hon. Friend moves on, does he agree that there is another angle to his important point about the effect on existing community programme schemes? It reveals the key to the Government's deception over this matter.

I listened with interest to the list of projects that my hon. Friend gave; I can think of very similar ones in my area, where thousands of people are on such schemes. Some of those schemes—this is not to their detriment—now have nothing to do with training. Dial-a-ride and services for the disabled are two such schemes. The Government are trying to deceive us that the new schemes are about training—that is their excuse for workfare-plus and for cutting the rates of pay. The Government are telling the truth to the extent that the existing community programme schemes will go altogether. They have nothing to do with training. So it is not only a matter of the disappearance of the quality of some of the present schemes: they will disappear altogether if the Government stick to their pretence that they will all be about training from now on.

Mr. Worthington

I am grateful for that point, and I shall take it further. The Government lack evenhandedness about training. A massive amount of training is needed in the caring industry, in which there would be employment in the Health Service, the social services and in social work. But that sort of work is ignored for training purposes. I emphasise that on the end of these valuable schemes are exceedingly vulnerable groups of people who have come to value their day centres and the people who visit their homes. The schemes have been introduced with no idea of caring for such people.

I could understand it if the Department of Employment agreed that it needed to change the direction of the community programme and give it another focus in future, saying that it would safeguard people who are benefiting from the present schemes. Such schemes may not make sense as employment training, but as health and social work they make good sense.

These schemes may or not survive, but even if they do, it will be with a chain gang of pressed personnel — people whose motivation may not be of the highest. They will not be paid properly for the job and they will not be given the status of workers undergoing training. The Government have shown a total lack of credibility on the quality of that training and that means that the sensitivity of the schemes is attacked.

Many of the schemes will not survive. The voluntary organisations will pull out, sometimes causing the collapse of the voluntary organisation itself. As is already occurring, civil servants from the Department of Employment will be obliged to write sick letters to the schemes, regretting that the schemes no longer meet the criteria and telling them that they should seek alternative funding from the NHS—they must be joking—or the local social work department, which suffers from the clawback arrangement whereby if it spends £1 it loses £3, or from the urban aid scheme, and when a scheme does so it is told it is not eligible because it is not a new project.

Is the Minister aware of the sheer misery which the changes will cause? Even if the Department of Employment should not be picking up the schemes the Government have a collective responsibility. In Scotland, if the schemes do not survive, we are talking about £48 million in social services cuts.

Where will the money come from to fund projects that are of immense value to the local community? I am pleased to speak in support of the Opposition's amendment which seeks to delete these clauses because of the damage that they will cause to these particular schemes.

Ms. Short

We have had a useful debate and some important points have been made about the effects of part II. A number of contributions from the Opposition Benches have shown what a dishonest—I use the word advisedly—account of the changes the Secretary of State gave the House today.

The Secretary of State pretended that there would be some great improvement in the employment services. He went on to describe changes that have already been made — the Department of Employment has taken direct responsibility for the jobcentres and so on, and restart and the rules on availability for work have been introduced—and then suggested that somehow the Bill was necessary to authorise those changes. That is false. The changes that the right hon. Gentleman has described have already taken place, so that is not a true account of part II.

Let us look at what part II really does. It centralises power and control over training schemes in the hands of the Secretary of State and it takes away the power to be consulted that the Manpower Services Commission — the tripartite body that has been described — had. Secondly, it deliberately takes new powers to compel unemployed people to participate in low-paid schemes and then the Bill dishonestly calls work experience schemes "training". That is what part II is all about, and that is why we reject it.

The Secretary of State is taking the power to appoint six extra commissioners. At the moment, three commissioners are appointed after consultation with the trade union movement, three after consultation with employers, two after consultation with local education authorities, and the chair is the personal appointment of the Secretary of State.

That will no longer do. That must be changed. The Secretary of State wants power, so he takes the power to appoint six extra people and they will be appointed to stuff the commission and ensure that it will be his lapdog.

In Committee, at the request of several organisations representing disabled people, we asked that at least one of those six extra people should be a representative of disabled people. But no, that was not acceptable and the Secretary of State threw out our request.

Not content with having taken control of the commission by stuffing it with his personal appointees, the Secretary of State has to take away powers that the Commission previously had. Under the Employment and Training Act 1973, the commission was asked to submit proposals to the Secretary of State on training and assistance for the unemployed. It was asked to submit the proposals to ensure that the activities of the commission were in accordance with proposals approved by the Secretary of State and to give effect to the Secretary of State's directions as repeated in this legislation. Therefore, under the 1973 Act, the Secretary of State had considerable powers. The commission could submit proposals, but he had to approve them, and if he wanted to, he could give directions.

But the Secretary of State was not content with that. Having stuffed the commission, he takes all these powers to himself and away from the commission so that he holds the powers and can give directions to the commission about what it must do, or he can use some other body.

The House should ask why we should have a commission at all. We know that when the right hon. Member for Chingford (Mr. Tebbit) was Secretary of State for Employment he made it clear that he did not like the MSC. It was widely thought that that might be because trade unions were represented on the commission and his intolerance and dislike of trade unions is clear to everyone. That is reflected in the earlier part of the Bill. He wanted to abolish the commission.

My view is that the Government are, in effect, abolishing the commission and are retaining a fig leaf for as long as the trade unions will go along with that so that they can force through any scheme or structures that they want. As I said earlier, the trade union representatives on the commission are now constantly agonising about whether they should go because by staying they give legitimacy to schemes that are destructive and unhelpful to the unemployed, which encourage the use of the unemployed as cheap labour, substitution for other workers and the dragging down of wage levels, or whether it is better to stay and negotiate to make things a little better than would otherwise be the case.

My personal view — I stress that — is that the Secretary of State is now seeking to humiliate the trade union representatives on the MSC with the changes in the Bill. It is time for them to leave the commission to seek to represent the interests of the unemployed and those who seek training through traditional trade union measures. I stress that that is my view. It is my serious view and it is no good the Under-Secretary of State, the hon. Member for Teignbridge (Mr. Nicholls), saying that that is a disgraceful view. Trade unions exist to seek to represent the interests of working people and to get the best for them.

Mr. Fowler


Ms. Short

If the Secretary of State will wait a minute —as he always requests 0everyone else to do whenever they seek to intervene—I shall give way.

The long-term unemployed are to be compelled to take part in schemes by threats that their benefit will be removed for six months if they refuse. They have to pay the first £5 of their expenses in getting to work. Therefore, they can be forced to work full-time for £5 a week. The dominant scheme will be work experience, based so that it will inevitably displace other other workers in a way that is described in the YTS statistics that have been put before the House. I do not believe that those proposals are in the interests of the unemployed or of other workers. The trade union movement should not support such things. It is better for them to get out of the commission and seek to defend the interests of working people in other ways.

9 pm

Mr. Fowler

The hon. Lady has made a serious suggestion. When she speaks from the Dispatch Box, for whom is she speaking? Is she speaking for the Labour party? Surely that is the purpose of speaking from the Dispatch Box. What is the status of her speech?

Ms. Short

Perhaps the Secretary of State was not listening. He often does not listen to those who seek to work for the unemployed. I have made it clear that in this matter, this is a personal view. Everything else that I shall say will reflect the position of the Labour party from the Front Bench. I said before that this was my personal view, and I am entitled to put forward that view.

Mr. Fowler

Will the hon. Lady give way?

Ms. Short

I do not have to give way to the Secretary of State. He refused to give way to me.

Mr. Fowler


Madam Deputy Speaker (Miss Betty Boothroyd)

Order. The hon. Lady has made it quite clear that she is refusing to give way. I must ask the Secretary of State to resume his seat. The hon. Lady has twice made it clear that she is not giving way.

Ms. Short

The Secretary of State refused to give way to me. He has such arrogance that he thinks that it is all right for him to stand at the Dispatch Box and refuse to give way but that somehow he is entitled to intervene whenever he wishes.

Mr. Martin M. Brandon-Bravo (Nottingham, South)

The House should have an answer. If the hon. Lady was speaking from the Back Benches, the House would happily accept that her words are her own personal opinion. However, I find it difficult to listen to the hon. Lady speaking from the Dispatch Box, dismissing her party responsibilities and saying, "This is my personal opionion." We want to know from the Front Bench what is the Labour party's opinion.

Ms. Short

The hon. Gentleman has just repeated the Secretary of State's question to which I gave a clear answer. On the question whether the trade union movement continues to have representatives on the commission, I said that that is a matter for the trade union movement.

Mr. Nicholls

What is the Labour party's view?

Ms. Short

If the Under-Secretary would allow me to answer the question, everyone might be clear about it. I have already answered it once, but Conservative Members were not listening, so I will answer it a second time, and then perhaps I can move on.

Ministers and Conservative Members should understand that the representation of the trade union movement on the commission is fragile. Those in the trade union movement who sit on the commission agonise over whether they should continue to do so. I have had discussions with a number of people who hold those places. The representatives of the trade union movement have to decide whether to remain on the commission. My personal view is that the humiliation involved in part II of the Bill makes it no longer worth staying. Part II——

Mr. Brandon-Bravo

What does the Labour party say?

Ms. Short

The hon. Gentleman should stop being silly. Part II of the Bill takes power to pay a bridging allowance of £15 a week for only eight weeks to participants on the youth training scheme. That is necessary only because the Government have removed the right to supplementary benefit from 16 to 17-year-olds and have thus made the youth training scheme compulsory. We consider that a disgraceful move.

Young people have participated voluntarily in the youth training scheme in enormous numbers. My hon. Friend the Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Meacher) made it clear that only very small numbers have been penalised for refusing a place on a scheme. One of the effects of that is to remove from young people the choice about which scheme to enter and what kind of training best suits them. It removes from young people with families on low incomes the choice to remain on supplementary benefit and to study for up to 21 hours a week. Indeed, 30,000 young people a year have been doing that. They have achieved 0-levels and A-levels, and some even went on to university. That option is to be wiped out. If young people need an income, they will be forced onto the youth training scheme. That is a complete outrage.

Clause 26 takes powers to make the refusal of offers of places on low-paid training schemes—which under the new proposal, will pay £5 a week on top of benefits equivalent to the refusal of a job and to make it possible for the Department to refuse benefit for six months to people who refuse places on those schemes.

We have heard a lot of equivocation from the Secretary of State about when he expects to use those powers. The report from the Manpower Services Commission about the adult training scheme said that the scheme must be voluntary, or those who proposed it would not support it. The Secretary of State says that he broadly accepts their proposals, but he refuses to withdraw clause 26. He keeps saying that he has no plans at present to designate the new scheme as a compulsory scheme under clause 26. No one would expect him to want to designate it at the present time. One would expect him to hope to get the scheme up and running to provide enough places and then designate it. His words imply that that is his plan.

In Committee, we asked the Secretary of State to give an undertaking that he would never designate the scheme under clause 26. If the right hon. Gentleman is to respond to the recommendation of the Manpower Services Commission that the scheme must be voluntary, he should be able to give that undertaking. He has refused to do so. All he will tell us is that he has no plans, for the present time, to designate the scheme. It seems a fair assumption that he will wait until the scheme is up and running—if he ever gets it—and then designate it.

Long-term unemployed people will be forced to work for £5 a week on schemes that are basically work experience. The recommendation is merely that 40 per cent. of their time should be on directed training, but 60 per cent. of their training will be spent working, for which they will get £5 a week and no guarantee of any job at the end of it. They will have no guarantee that they will be given any skills to enhance their employment opportunities.

The whole package of proposals in part II is deeply unacceptable. It means a serious diminution in the incomes and freedom of choice of the unemployed and in the MSC's powers. It means centralisation of power in the hands of the Secretary of State. That is why I invite my hon. Friends to vote that part II be deleted.

Mr. Cope

I shall do my best to respond briefly to some of the points raised, but I make it clear that many of them concerned the new training programme for the unemployed—which is soon to be the subject of a White Paper and statement by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State—rather than the Bill.

Some hon. Members, but not all, have understood that the Bill carries forward, and to a degree rearranges, the powers under which existing schemes as well as proposed schemes such as the new training programme can be carried out. The Bill specifically provides for the MSC to carry on those programmes that it operates at the moment. It makes some changes to the commission, the aim being to raise the profile of training. There was considerable support on both sides of the House for that, although I understand that not everyone agrees with the methods that we propose. Employers are the major providers of training and the major customers for it. Employers create jobs, and they need to have a greater say in, and make a greater contribution to, training.

Of course I do not agree with everything that the hon. Member for Newham, North-East (Mr. Leighton) said in this connection, but I do agree about the fundamental importance of improving training. That must be at the top of our industrial agenda and employers must do more to invest in their work force. That is precisely why we are renaming the MSC the Training Commission and seeking greater employer involvement with the commission and its aims.

The Bill does not transfer the jobcentres, as the hon. Member for Newham, North-East seemed to suggest. That was done in October, as my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State made clear. It follows that the transfer is a separate arrangement and not a part of the Bill. I think that both sides of the House are united in wanting quality training schemes. That is extremely important. Unemployment is undergoing the largest sustained fall on record. Over the past six years, 1.5 million new jobs have been created, which gives us the opportunity, which we are anxious to seize, to help the unemployed find new jobs.

The hon. Member for Clydebank and Milngavie (Mr. Worthington) made an interesting contribution, but he was wrong to say that we are indifferent to the type of schemes under the community programme about which he was talking. On the contrary, there will be project places in the new scheme, but I must ask the hon. Gentleman to await the White Paper for more details. We are responding to many of the hon. Gentleman's criticisms of the community programme. It is said that much of the work is part-time, that it is unattractive to older workers and married people with dependants and so on.

We are responding to those criticisms and to the lack of training in the community programme to which the hon. Gentleman and his hon. Friend the Member for Sunderland, North (Mr. Clay) drew attention. I thought that the hon. Gentleman came near to saying at one stage that some of the unemployed were incapable of being trained, although I would not wish to attribute that assertion to him if he does not agree with it. We certainly do not agree with that; on the contrary, we believe in making every effort to assist all the unemployed people that we can back into work.

Mr. Worthington

I am at a loss to know which part of my speech the hon. Gentleman is referring to. I would never ever come anywhere near to saying that.

Mr. Cope

I apologise if I am misrepresenting the hon. Gentleman. He argued for the community programme, which has to a considerable extent made work for people to fill in their time, and does not supply enough training.

Other criticisms have been made of the community programme. Much attention has been devoted to the rate for the job and so on. The changes that we propose to the community programme and the benefit-plus scheme are no new ideas. I draw the attention of the House to the Youthaid report published in 1982 on what was then called the community enterprise programme, which was the precursor of the community programme: Consideration should also be given to the possibility of payment on CEP calculated on a 'Benefit plus' basis. The CEP allowance would be topped up by Social Security or Unemployment benefit. This would have the advantage of ensuring that the CEP paid each worker the same amount while those with dependants would get more as a result of the variations in the benefits. That is an important criticism, made as long ago as 1982 when, I am informed, the hon. Member for Birmingham, Ladywood (Ms. Short) was director of studies for Youthaid. I do not know whether she agreed with what Youthaid said in its report on CEP. If she did, she has obviously changed her mind.

Ms. Short

The research on the old community enterprise programme was funded by the Department of Employment. I was the director of studies and not one of the researchers. The recommendation came from the researchers. We discussed it at the time and, although it was not my view, the researchers had done the work and they were entitled to put the view forward.

Mr. Cope

There has been some confusion tonight about which are the hon. Lady's views and which are other people's, and it helps to get matters clear.

We believe that training should have a higher profile. We need to get employers more involved in training, and that is central to our proposals. We shall all learn more about the new programme from the White Paper and from my right hon. Friend's statement.

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The House divided: Ayes 206, Noes 258.

Division No. 177] [9.15 pm
Abbott, Ms Diane Graham, Thomas
Adams, Allen (Paisley N) Grant, Bernie (Tottenham)
Allen, Graham Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
Archer, Rt Hon Peter Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Armstrong, Ms Hilary Grocott, Bruce
Ashdown, Paddy Hardy, Peter
Ashley, Rt Hon Jack Healey, Rt Hon Denis
Ashton, Joe Heffer, Eric S.
Banks, Tony (Newham NW) Henderson, Douglas
Barnes, Harry (Derbyshire NE) Hinchliffe, David
Barron. Kevin Hogg, N. (C'nauld & Kilsyth)
Battle, John Holland, Stuart
Beckett, Margaret Home Robertson, John
Beith, A. J. Hood, James
Bell, Stuart Howarth, George (Knowsley N)
Benn, Rt Hon Tony Howells, Geraint
Bennett, A. F. (D'nt'n & R'dish) Hoyle, Doug
Bermingham, Gerald Hughes, John (Coventry NE)
Blair, Tony Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)
Blunkett, David Hughes, Sean (Knowsley S)
Boateng, Paul Illsley, Eric
Boyes, Roland Ingram, Adam
Bradley, Keith John, Brynmor
Bray, Dr Jeremy Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside)
Brown, Gordon (D'mline E) Jones, leuan (Ynys Môn)
Brown, Nicholas (Newcastle E) Kennedy, Charles
Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon) Kirkwood, Archy
Buchan, Norman Lamie, David
Buckley, George Lamond, James
Callaghan, Jim Leighton, Ron
Carnpbell, Ron (Blyth Valley) Lestor, Miss Joan (Eccles)
Carnpbell-Savours, D. N. Lewis, Terry
Canavan, Dennis Litherland, Robert
Carlile, Alex (Mont'g) Livsey, Richard
Clark, Dr David (S Shields) Lloyd, Tony (Stretford)
Clarke, Tom (Monklands W) Lofthouse, Geoffrey
Clay, Bob McAllion, John
Clelland, David McAvoy, Tom
Clwyd, Mrs Ann McCartney, Ian
Cohen, Harry McCrea, Rev William
Cook, Frank (Stockton N) McCusker, Harold
Corbett, Robin Macdonald, Calum
Corbyn, Jeremy McFall, John
Cousins, Jim McKay, Allen (Penistone)
Cox, Tom McKelvey, William
Crowther, Stan McLeish, Henry
Cryer, Bob McTaggart, Bob
Cummings, J. Madden, Max
Cunliffe, Lawrence Mahon, Mrs Alice
Dalyell, Tarn Marek, Dr John
Darling, Alastair Marshall, David (Shettleston)
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli) Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)
Davies, Ron (Caerphilly) Martin, Michael (Springburn)
Davis, Terry (B'ham Hodge H'I) Martlew, Eric
Dewar, Donald Maxton, John
Dixon, Don Meacher, Michael
Doran, Frank Meale, Alan
Duffy, A. E. P. Michael, Alun
Dunnachie, James Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley)
Dunwoody, Hon Mrs Gwyneth Millan, Rt Hon Bruce
Eastham, Ken Mitchell, Austin (G't Grimsby)
Ewing, Harry (Falkirk E) Molyneaux, Rt Hon James
Fearn, Ronald Moonie, Dr Lewis
Field, Frank (Birkenhead) Morgan, Rhodri
Fisher, Mark Morley, Elliott
Flannery, Martin Morris, Rt Hon A (Wshawe)
Flynn, Paul Morris, Rt Hon J (Aberavon)
Foot, Rt Hon Michael Mowlam, Marjorie
Foster, Derek Mullin, Chris
Foulkes, George Murphy, Paul
Fraser, John Nellist, Dave
Fyfe, Mrs Maria Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon
Galbraith, Samuel O'Brien, William
Galloway, George O'Neill, Martin
Garrett, John (Norwich South) Orme, Rt Hon Stanley
Garrett, Ted (Wallsend) Parry, Robert
Godman, Dr Norman A. Patchett, Terry
Gordon, Ms Mildred Pendry, Tom
Pike, Peter Spearing, Nigel
Powell, Ray (Ogmore) Steel, Rt Hon David
Prescott, John Steinberg, Gerald
Prirnarolo, Ms Dawn Stott, Roger
Quin, Ms Joyce Strang, Gavin
Rees, Rt Hon Merlyn Taylor, Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)
Reid, John Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Richardson, Ms Jo Thompson, Jack (Wansbeck)
Roberts, Allan (Bootle) Turner, Dennis
Robinson, Geoffrey Vaz, Keith
Rogers, Allan Wall, Pat
Rooker, Jeff Walley, Ms Joan
Ross, Ernie (Dundee W) Wardell, Gareth (Gower)
Ross, William (Londonderry E) Wareing, Robert N.
Rowlands, Ted Welsh, Andrew (Angus E)
Ruddock, Ms Joan Welsh, Michael (Doncaster N)
Salmond, Alex Williams, Rt Hon A. J.
Sedgemore, Brian Wilson, Brian
Sheerman, Barry Winnick, David
Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert Wise, Mrs Audrey
Shore, Rt Hon Peter Worthington, Anthony
Short, Clare Wray, James
Skinner, Dennis Young, David (Bolton SE)
Smith, Andrew (Oxford E)
Smith, C. (Isl'ton & F'bury) Tellers for the Ayes:
Snape, Peter Mrs. Llin Golding and
Soley, Clive Mr. Frank Haynes.
Aitken, Jonathan Colvin, Michael
Alison, Rt Hon Michael Conway, Derek
Amess, David Coombs, Anthony (Wyre F'rest)
Amos, Alan Coombs, Simon (Swinoon)
Arbuthnot, James Cope, John
Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham) Cormack, Patrick
Aspinwall, Jack Couchman, James
Atkins, Robert Cran, James
Atkinson, David Currie, Mrs Edwina
Baker, Nicholas (Dorset N) Curry, David
Baldry, Tony Davies, Q. (Stamf'd & Spald'g)
Batiste, Spencer Davis, David (Boothferry)
Beaumont-Dark, Anthony Day, Stephen
Bellingham, Henry Dickens, Geoffrey
Bendall, Vivian Dorrell, Stephen
Bennett, Nicholas (Pembroke) Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James
Benyon, W. Dover, Den
Bevan, David Gilroy Dunn, Bob
Biffen, Rt Hon John Dykes, Hugh
Biggs-Davison, Sir John Evennett, David
Blackburn, Dr John G. Fallon, Michael
Blaker, Rt Hon Sir Peter Farr, Sir John
Body, Sir Richard Favell, Tony
Bonsor, Sir Nicholas Fenner, Dame Peggy
Boscawen, Hon Robert Field, Barry (Isle of Wight)
Bos well, Tim Forsyth, Michael (Stirling)
Bottomley, Mrs Virginia Forth, Eric
Bowden, A (Brighton K'pto'n) Fowler, Rt Hon Norman
Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich) Fox, Sir Marcus
Bowis, John Franks, Cecil
Boyson, Rt Hon Dr Sir Rhodes French, Douglas
Braine, Rt Hon Sir Bernard Gale, Roger
Brandon-Bravo, Martin Gardiner, George
Brazier, Julian Garel-Jones, Tristan
Bright, Graham Gill, Christopher
Brittan, Rt Hon Leon Gilmour, Rt Hon Sir Ian
Bruce, Ian (Dorset South) Glyn, Dr Alan
Buck, Sir Antony Goodlad, Alastair
Budgen, Nicholas Goodson-Wickes, Dr Charles
Burns, Simon Gorst, John
Burt, Alistair Gow, Ian
Butcher, John Gower, Sir Raymond
Butler, Chris Grant, Sir Anthony (CambsSW)
Butterfill, John Greenway, Harry (Ealing N)
Carrington, Matthew Greenway, John (Rydale)
Carttiss, Michael Gregory, Conal
Cash, William Griffiths, Sir Eldon (Bury St E')
Chapman, Sydney Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N)
Chope, Christopher Grist, Ian
Clark, Hon Alan (Plym'th S'n) Ground, Patrick
Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford) Grylls, Michael
Gummer, Rt Hon John Selwyn Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth
Hamilton, Hon A. (Epsom) Porter, Barry (Wirral S)
Hanley, Jeremy Porter, David (Waveney)
Hargreaves, A. (B'ham H'll Gr') Portillo, Michael
Hargreaves, Ken (Hyndburn) Powell, William (Corby)
Harris, David Price, Sir David
Hawkins, Christopher Raffan, Keith
Hayhoe, Rt Hon Sir Barney Raison, Rt Hon Timothy
Hayward, Robert Redwood, John
Heathcoat-Amory, David Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon
Heddle, John Riddick, Graham
Hicks, Mrs Maureen (Wolv' NE) Ridsdale, Sir Julian
Hicks, Robert (Cornwall SE) Roberts, Wyn (Conwy)
Hill, James Roe, Mrs Marion
Hind, Kenneth Rowe, Andrew
Hogg, Hon Douglas (Gr'th'm) Rumbold, Mrs Angela
Holt, Richard Ryder, Richard
Hordern, Sir Peter Sayeed, Jonathan
Howard, Michael Shaw, David (Dover)
Howarth, Alan (Strat'd-on-A) Shaw, Sir Giles (Pudsey)
Howarth, G. (Cannock & B'wd) Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarb')
Howell, Rt Hon David (G'dford) Shelton, William (Streatham)
Howell, Ralph (North Norfolk) Shephard, Mrs G. (Norfolk SW)
Hughes, Robert G. (Harrow W) Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)
Hunt, David (Wirral W) Shepherd, Richard (Aldridge)
Hunt, John (Ravensbourne) Shersby, Michael
Irvine, Michael Sims, Roger
Irving, Charles Skeet, Sir Trevor
Jack, Michael Smith, Sir Dudley (Warwick)
Janman, Timothy Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)
Jessel, Toby Speed, Keith
Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N) Speller, Tony
Jones, Robert B (Herts W) Squire, Robin
Kellett-Bowman, Dame Elaine Stanbrook, Ivor
Key, Robert Steen, Anthony
Kilfedder, James Stern, Michael
King, Roger (B'ham N'thfield) Stevens, Lewis
King, Rt Hon Tom (Bridgwater) Stewart, Allan (Eastwood)
Kirkhope, Timothy Stewart, Andrew (Sherwood)
Knapman, Roger Stokes, John
Knight, Greg (Derby North) Stradling Thomas, Sir John
Knowles, Michael Sumberg, David
Knox, David Summerson, Hugo
Lang, Ian Taylor, Ian (Esher)
Latham, Michael Taylor, John M (Solihull)
Lee, John (Pendle) Taylor, Teddy (S'end E)
Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark Tebbit, Rt Hon Norman
Lester, Jim (Broxtowe) Temple-Morris, Peter
Lilley, Peter Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N)
Lloyd, Sir Ian (Havant) Thornton, Malcolm
Lloyd, Peter (Fareham) Thurnham, Peter
Macfarlane, Sir Neil Townend, John (Bridlington)
Maclean, David Tredinnick, David
McLoughlin, Patrick Trippier, David
McNair-Wilson, M. (Newbury) Trotter, Neville
Madel, David Twinn, Dr Ian
Malins, Humfrey Vaughan, Sir Gerard
Mans, Keith Viggers, Peter
Marshall, Michael (Arundel) Waddington, Rt Hon David
Martin, David (Portsmouth S) Waldegrave, Hon William
Mills, Iain Walden, George
Miscampbell, Norman Walker, Bill (T'side North)
Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling) Waller, Gary
Montgomery, Sir Fergus Wardle, C. (Bexhill)
Moore, Rt Hon John Watts, John
Morrison, Hon Sir Charles Wells, Bowen
Moss, Malcolm Wheeler, John
Neale, Gerrard Whitney, Ray
Neubert, Michael Widdecombe, Miss Ann
Newton, Rt Hon Tony Wiggin, Jerry
Nicholls, Patrick Wilshire, David
Nicholson, David (Taunton) Winterton, Mrs Ann
Nicholson, Miss E. (Devon W) Winterton, Nicholas
Onslow, Rt Hon Cranley Wolfson, Mark
Page, Richard Wood, Timothy
Paice, James Woodcock, Mike
Patnick, Irvine
Patten, Chris (Bath) Tellers for the Noes:
Patten, John (Oxford W) Mr. David Lightbown and
Pawsey, James Mr. Kenneth Carlisle.

Amendment accordingly negatived.

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