My officers are in close touch with the boards on all training matters, including the co-ordination of their activities and those of the Government training centres.
I thank the hon. Member for his reply, which suggests that the arrangements are somewhat of an ad hoc nature, but does he agree that there should be provision for permanent and comprehensive co-ordination between these two bodies?
The arrangements certainly exist. Assessors from my Ministry are in constant and formal touch with each board and are able to facilitate the passage of the information that the hon. Member rightly says is necessary.
The need for retraining is examined as part of a board's assessment of the future manpower and training requirements of its industry. Some of the longer-established boards are now carrying out studies and they will be assisted by the work of the Ministry's Manpower Research Unit in this field.
Can the hon. Gentleman give an assurance that in carrying out this constant examination and reexamination consideration will be given to the need for transferable skills as between one industry and another?
I can certainly give that assurance. The sort of advice that the Ministry's Manpower Research Unit will give to each board, as to the way in which these inquiries should be carried out, is aimed to cover this sort of point.
At national level I have the co-operation of all the unions concerned in the acceptance of men trained at Government training centres. There are long-standing difficulties over some trades in Manchester, on Tyneside and in Scotland. Temporary difficulties occasionally arise in other areas.
Can the right hon. Gentleman say that he has the full co-operation of all the printing unions? If so, I shall be glad to hear it. Does not he think that the time has come to abandon persuasion and pious hopes and give publicity to areas which are not co-operating so that the country can judge whether these unions are acting in the national interest?
As the hon. Gentleman knows, I have given publicity to the worst spot in the country. It has not had much effect. I am not so sure that a lot of wider publicity will have a greater effect. The hon. Gentleman will understand that my powers are very limited in this matter. Once I have passed from the stage of exhortation and rowing and cursing them, there is not much left that I can do.
Would my right hon. Friend agree that it might be more helpful to give more publicity to the much greater number of areas in which full cooperation has been obtained? Is he aware that when I have contacted the Ministry of Labour officers in my constituency I have been assured of full co-operation and full placing of these men?
I welcome my hon. Friend's comment. It is true that cooperation has been forthcoming over the vast areas of British industry. But it would be very helpful to me if the other areas would have a look at the whole situation.