§ 4.45 p.m.
§ LORD CHAMPION
My Lords, I wonder whether I may put a question. I understood that we were to have a Statement in this House, following one made in the other place, on the Manpower Services Commission. I gather that, owing to some error, this is not to be done. I regard the Statement as a very important one, and I think it is one that ought to be printed in Hansard. Can I prevail upon the Government to ensure that this Statement is in fact printed in Hansard, so that it will be available to all Members of this House who do not normally read the Commons Hansard? I raise the matter because this Statement very much follows what we were urging in the debate that we had some time ago on training for the future. A large number of Members of this House participated in that debate, which obviously aroused very great interest. If the Minister can see that this Statement is printed in Hansard—and I imagine that this could be done under the arrangement which was made some little time ago—I am sure the House will be grateful.
§ LORD ABERDARE
My Lords, I am afraid I was not aware of this matter. I have been sitting here answering the previous debate. I gather that there may have been a misunderstanding in this matter, and if we have made an error of some kind I apologise for it. I will certainly see that, if it is possible, the Statement is repeated in the House of Lords Hansard.
§ Following is the Statement referred to, which had been given in the House of Commons by the Secretary of State for Employment:
§ "With permission, Mr. Speaker, I wish to make a Statement on my proposals for establishing a Manpower Services Commission.
§ "In my statement on August 8 I said that I proposed to have further talks with the T.U.C. and the C.B.I. before coming to any final conclusion on the ultimate form of organisation of the employment and training services, with the purpose of co-ordinating these services and of involving employers and employees in both activities.
§ "I must retain general responsibility for manpower policy, but I am proposing to set up a Manpower Services Commission representative of employers, trade unions and other interests which would have direct responsibility to me for the employment and training services. The T.U.C. and C.B.I. agree with this proposal.
§ "The Commission would take over responsibility for the Employment Service Agency we have set up within my Department and the Training Services Agency we are setting up now. Its main functions would be: planning, developing and operating the public employment services; carrying out the broad range of functions set out for the proposed National Training Agency in Training for the Future; and advising me on manpower questions.
§ "The Commission and the Agencies would be a source of manpower intelligence and statistics and would join in governmental discussion of manpower issues as appropriate. They would have close relations with the Education Departments and the education service, and would consult with other interested Departments and bodies as necessary.
§ "The Commission would operate within such broad policy objectives as were set out in the legislation and in any general guidance given to them by the Government from time to time. With the assistance of the Agencies, the Commission would prepare a five-year rolling programme, and a detailed annual programme of work and budget, for submission to me. When these had been approved the Commission and the Agencies would be responsible for operating within them. They would be financed by grant-in-aid from my Department. I would remain responsible to Parliament for the general level of resources made available but the Commission would be responsible to me for their efficient use. I would retain power to direct the Commission to take action which the Government considered urgently necessary in the manpower field.
§ "If the Commission is to assume effective responsibility—as I fully intend—it must be kept small. I think it should consist of no more than about 10 members, mostly part-time. In appointing members I should wish to secure representation of local authority and education interests, though the majority would be drawn from the T.U.C. and C.B.I. The T.U.C. and 996 C.B.I. have welcomed the proposal for a Commission and have agreed to co-operate in it.
§ "The implementation of these proposals as announced in the gracious Speech, will require legislation.
§ "This Statement gives an outline of the new arrangements: many important questions will need further discussion—the Commission's relationships with the industrial training boards, relations with the education service, their part in providing services to disabled people, the position of the staff of the Agencies, and many others. My colleagues and I will be conducting urgent consultations with all those concerned."