Regional Employment Premium

Oral Answers to Questions — Scotland – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 26th October 1977.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Gordon Wilson Mr Gordon Wilson , Dundee East 12:00 am, 26th October 1977

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what surveys he has carried out to assess the effects of withdrawal of regional employment premium on employment in Scotland.

Photo of Mr Gregor Mackenzie Mr Gregor Mackenzie , Rutherglen

It is not practicable to isolate precisely the effects of the withdrawal of REP, but the Government are confident that the employment-creating measures now in operation will have a greater effect in relieving the present high level of unemployment. Obviously, we keep the general employment situation in Scotland constantly under review.

Photo of Mr Gordon Wilson Mr Gordon Wilson , Dundee East

Is the Minister aware that the Government must have been playing blind man's bluff with the Scottish economy? Does he realise that the figures have been isolated by the Scottish CBI, which estimates a loss of 10,000 jobs, and that the Cambridge Institute of Applied Economics estimates a loss of about 14,000 jobs? Considering that the figures are fairly close, was it not disastrous that the regional employment premium was removed? Will the Minister ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer to restore it forthwith?

Photo of Mr Gregor Mackenzie Mr Gregor Mackenzie , Rutherglen

We have all seen many estimates about this, but many of them are "guesstimates". We took the decision that we should employ this money in better ways on the temporary employment subsidy, the job creation programme and the sectoral schemes for industry. Scotland in now benefiting considerably from that.

Photo of Mr James Craigen Mr James Craigen , Glasgow Maryhill

Does the Minister know to what extent the temporary employment subsidy has been used by firms to offset the loss of regional employment premium? As for the number of unemployed young people, now that the Scottish Office has taken over special responsibilities for the Manpower Services Commission will the Government have urgent talks with those involved with apprenticeship schemes with a view to trying to prevent the decline in apprenticeship opportunities in the Clyde-side area?

Photo of Mr Gregor Mackenzie Mr Gregor Mackenzie , Rutherglen

We have taken over responsibility for the Manpower Services Commission in Scotland. I met the Careers Advisory Council on Monday and the matter was discussed then. The temporary employment subsidy is a matter for the Secretary of State for Employ- ment, but there certainly have been cases in Scotland, when appropriate, in which this has been taken up.

Photo of Mr George Younger Mr George Younger , Ayr

Have the Government learnt the lesson that the most objectionable thing about the withdrawal of REP was the lack of notice given to industry? Have they learnt that no business can run in that way, and will they see that it does not happen again?

Photo of Mr Gregor Mackenzie Mr Gregor Mackenzie , Rutherglen

The hon. Gentleman has a terrible nerve to ask questions about REP from his side of the House. If the Conservatives had had their way, there would have been no REP at all.