Orders of the Day — Manpower Services Commission

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 21st June 1979.

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Photo of Mr George Thomas Mr George Thomas , Cardiff West 12:00 am, 21st June 1979

Before I call the right hon. Member for Chesterfield (Mr. Varley) I should remind the House that the debate will conclude at seven o'clock. Therefore, brief speeches are the order of the day. I should like new hon. Members to know that, when I keep the register of the length of hon. Members' speeches, I do not count speeches that are eight minutes or under in length.

4.38 p.m.

Photo of Mr Eric Varley Mr Eric Varley , Chesterfield

I beg to move, That this House is opposed to the decision of the Government to reduce the budget of the Manpower Services Commission which will injure the prospects of jobs for the long-term unemployed, and will adversely affect the opportunities of employment for young people at a time when the Government's stated economic policy will substantially increase unemployment. For my part, Mr. Speaker, I shall observe your request for short speeches I know that several of my hon. Friends wish to take part in the truncated debate. The cuts on which we are seeking to censure the Government today were announced in the Budget. Therefore, it is against the background of the Budget that the cuts should be examined. The Budget will put many more workers out of a job. How many workers we do not know because the Government are coy about revealing the forecasts which they undoubtedly possess.

We know that the increase in the minimum lending rate and the cuts in local government expenditure will put more people on the dole. The Prime Minister made clear on Tuesday that her incomes policy—and she has an incomes policy—will also put more people on the dole. There will be bankruptcies—some say bankruptcies galore—in the private sector and jobs in the public sector will be squeezed, as Government Ministers have said, by the tightening of cash limits.

The relaxation of the restriction on the export of capital will export many jobs that survive the Government's anti-employment measures. It is no wonder that the Secretary of State for Employment was compelled to admit to the House on Tuesday that unemployment, which was steadily falling month by month under the previous Government, is bound to go up.

It is against that background that we have to examine the mean-minded and damaging cuts in the Labour Government's employment schemes. Whenever we watch a war film on television we know that there will always be one good German in it. It is the same with the Secretary of State for Employment. He made his reputation by being the nice guy among the Tory "bower boys" and "bovver girls".

The right hon. Gentleman was able to get away with that in Opposition because he did not have the responsibility. We used to have soothing words from him, but now we have to judge him by his actions and we believe that his actions so far are damaging. Some would say that they are worse than those that will be imposed by the Secretary of State for Industry in his line of country.

Either the Secretary of State for Employment fought in Cabinet and lost or he did not bother to fight. Even worse, he probably offered these miserable cuts because he actually believes in them. After all, we are informed by the press that the Prime Minister told her Cabinet colleagues that their virility will be judged by the spending cuts that they offer voluntarily.

Unless the explanation for the cuts is convincing, the Secretary of State is about to lose his halo and take his place in the Tory rogues' gallery. I am looking forward to his explanation. Whatever else the right hon. Gentleman was thought to be, we were always given to understand that he was a great consulter. Did he consult the TUC or even the CBI before making the cuts? I do not think that he did.

Even more serious from our point of view is the question whether the right hon. Gentleman consulted the Manpower Services Commission itself. The budget and programmes of the MSC are lacerated by the cuts. I suspect that he did not consult the Commission, but if he cares to tell me now that he did—and by "consult" I mean real consultation in advance and not calling in representatives of the MSC just before the Budget—I shall be glad to give way. The right hon. Gentleman is not seeking to intervene. Clearly he did not consult the MSC. No doubt he said that these were budgetary matters and he probably called in the MSC representatives a few hours before the Budget to inform them that the cuts were to be imposed.

It may be that some Conservative Members regard the MSC as what has come to be described in Tory vocabulary as a quango, but the Secretary of State knows that it is not a quango. It is a fully representative body and was set up by the previous Tory Government who extracted it from the Department of Employment machinery and turned it into the organisation that it is today. Did the Secretary of State give his own party's creation the brush-off? I suspect that he did. I suspect that he did not consult the Commission.

It is suggested that the right hon. Gentleman had his first meeting with the full Commission yesterday. Will he tell us what came out of that meeting? More important, what did the right hon. Gentleman tell the Commission? Was he told that the Commission found the cuts acceptable or that they would damage the MSC programmes? Did the Commission tell the right hon. Gentleman that it could absorb the cuts painlessly or that they could be implemented only by undermining some of its programmes?

The Minister of State, Civil Service Department told the House yesterday that the Government are anxious to provide us with the maximum possible amount of information. The Secretary of State will therefore presumably welcome the opportunity of answering my questions. They are quite simple questions and I suspect that they were put to him at his meeting with the MSC yesterday.

Was he told at that meeting that the cuts would so damage the MSC programmes that it would not be possible to continue some of them? I shall be grateful if the right hon. Gentleman will also clarify the press notice issued by his Department on Budget day. Perhaps we may also have the clarification of definitions in the departmental dictionary, because the press notice said: All of the existing special employment measures will continue … some of them will in future be concentrated on the areas where unemployment is highest and the need for special assistance greatest. What does the word "concentrated" mean in that context? Does it mean that, although some of the measures will be removed from what the Secretary of State believes to be less deserving areas, the amount of finance will be increased in what he regards as the more deserving areas? If so, will he tell us how much and where?

The right hon. Gentleman would do better to confess that the use of the word "concentrated" in that press notice is misleading to the point of being fraudulent. Will he admit that support under the schemes will not be "concentrated" in certain areas, but will be confined to certain areas? The use of the word "concentrated" covers up the fact that the cut in the special temporary employment programme of £42 million is a 50 per cent. cut and will deny employment over the next nine months to more than 20,000 long-term unemployed people.

It is easy to go through the list of schemes to catologue the iniquities perpetrated upon them. I do not want to take too much time, so I shall just go through the list briefly. The community industry scheme will be seriously affected. The Department's press release refers distortedly to an expansion of the programme. In fact, the planned expansion by the Labour Government is being cut back by 1,000 places out of 7,000 places.

The Government are cutting back on the small firms employment subsidy. The Department has the nerve to claim in its press notice, as Treasury Ministers have claimed, that the Government have the interests of small firms at heart, but there is to be a cut in the small firms employment subsidy.

When the Secretary of State was in Opposition, he made a practice of issuing statements lamenting the impact of unemployment on school leavers. Yet now he proposes a deplorable cut in the youth opportunities programme. My hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Mr. Golding), who is to wind up for the Opposition, will have more to say about that.

All the cuts are damaging, and no doubt my hon. Friends who take part in the debate will outline the impact on their constituencies. In addition to the STEP programme reductions, there are two cuts that I find particularly distressing. They are the cuts in the temporary short-time working compensation scheme and the MSC training programmes.

The short-time working compensation scheme was the previous Government's machinery to replace the temporary employment subsidy which was highly valued by hon. Members on both sides of the House. Reducing the period for which the short-time working scheme is available from a year to six months may cripple it beyond repair. Our intention in this financial year was to use the scheme to save 55,000 jobs in vulnerable areas and industries where there was likely to be high unemployment. Slashing that safety net in half will render it useless. Even worse, I understand that there is a question mark over the scheme as a whole. The right hon. Gentleman usually gives straight answers and we want them today.

What is to be the future of the scheme, truncated as it is? Will the right hon. Gentleman put it on a statutory basis, as we hoped to do, or will he make sure that it is buried or got rid of secretly? I hope that that will not prove to be the case and that the right hon. Gentleman will have second thoughts about it.

But, of course, the Secretary of State may say that this scheme—perhaps all the schemes, for all I know—simply perpetuate what the Prime Minister is pleased to call phoney jobs. We utterly reject that view. We believe that at least the Government are under an obligation to tell us how they intend to create what they describe as real jobs. Even if all the mythical entrepreneurs are galvanised by the Budget into creating dynamic technologically advanced industries, those industries will have to be manned, and they cannot be manned if men and women are not available with the necessary skills. So the £32 million cut in the MSC's training programme is an act of wanton folly even according to the Government's own criteria.

Although questions have been put to the Government, even the Treasury is as yet unable to quantify how great the tax handouts in the Budget will be for those with the highest incomes. The right hon. Gentleman is entitled to correct me if I am wrong, but I reckon that the total will be near £1 billion in a full year. The estimate depends on where one starts, of course, but the sum is certainly over £500 million. Let us compare that huge sum with the miserable cut of £170 million which we regard as petty and spiteful.

The right hon. Gentleman is in charge of planting the seed corn. Instead, by accepting the savage cuts in these various schemes, he is scattering the seed corn to the winds. It will not even mean a saving of Government expenditure, because these petty economies will inevitably lead to far greater sums being paid out to those who will go on the dole.

At Question Time on Tuesday, Tory Member after Tory Member bobbed up and asked for special favours for his constituency. The Secretary of State and his colleagues foisted a new bit of Tory jargon upon us. It seems that vulnerable areas and groups have to be "resilient". That is the new vogue word.

So, in this package of cuts, those who could have been given temporary employment will have to be resilient; unemployed young people, 16 to 18, will have to be resilient; disadvantaged young people will have to be resilient; workers whose factories face temporary restructuring will have to be resilient; workers for small firms in industry and commerce will have to be resilient; those who would have benefited from training which will now be denied them will have to be resilient.

That is a lot of resilience. The Secretary of State will not reveal his own forecast to the House, but he freely admits that unemployment is going to go up; indeed, there is no doubt that over the next 12 months unemployment will rise. The right hon. Gentleman should live up to the standards he sought to proclaim in Opposition. He should take back this miserable ragbag of cuts. If he does not, we shall divide the House at seven o'clock.

4.54 p.m.

Photo of Mr James Prior Mr James Prior , Lowestoft

The right hon. Member for Chesterfield (Mr. Varley) has been in characteristic form, and I hope that we shall have longer to debate these vital and important matters of employment policy as the years go by. I admire his courage in moving the motion. After all, the record of the Labour Government over unemployment suggests that it would have been better for the Opposition to take a period of enforced silence before talking to us about unemployment.

The right hon. Gentleman said that the Government were coy about revealing their forecasts. It may help him if I read what the right hon. Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey) said as Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1976: The fact is that no one can predict with any hope of accuracy the path of unemployment over the next few years. As the hon. Member for Oswestry said the other day:'It simply does not lie within the capability of Government to give employment targets.'"—[Official Report, 21 December 1976; Vol. 923, c. 499.] It is quite obvious that the right hon. Member for Leeds, East fully agreed at that time that it was impossible to give accurate forecasts.

I have said that I believe that unemployment is likely to go up over the next vear or so, and perhaps the right hon. Member for Chesterfield would like to consult the right hon. Member for Leeds, East and ask him what were the Treasury forecasts which were given to him before the general election. If he asks that question, he may get an answer that he will understand, but it will be one that he will not readily wish to accept.

I believe that the present state of Britain and the state of world trade will make unemployment very dfficult to keep down over the next few years, and I want to address my remarks to what I believe is the difference in philosophy and economic policy between the two sides of the House. I say at once that, although there is strong disagreement about the means of curing unemployment or of keeping it at a reasonable level, I do not believe that anything separates us about ends.

The scourge of unemployment, particularly where it is synonymous with poverty, crime and bad conditions, is totally unacceptable to all Members and to the nation as a whole. I put it in those terms because, as I have said, we may by 10, 15 or 20 years' time have adopted a different attitude to unemployment from the one we have today. But for the moment at any rate it is a scourge and one that we have to deal with as being totally unacceptable.

The Conservative Party's record on unemployment compares more than favourably with that of the Labour Party. In the five years of Labour rule from 1974 to 1979, the numbers of unemployed more than doubled to 1·3 million, and youth unemployment, of which the right hon. Gentleman made so much, went up in 1978 compared with 1973 by six times.

Mrs. Elaine Kellett Bowman:

Is my right hon. Friend aware that during the period of Labour rule the figures trebled in my consituency?

Photo of Mr James Prior Mr James Prior , Lowestoft

I think that they trebled in a large number of cases. Since the war, every Labour Government have left more people out of work than were unemployed when they came to office. That is an inescapable fact of political life. It would therefore come better from the Opposition if they approached this debate—which they initiated—with some humility, and perhaps questioned their own policies and tried to understand why they simply did not work.

Listening to the right hon. Gentleman and reading the motion, the impression is that we should continue with the same policies, subsidising more here and more somewhere else, and paying for those policies by high taxation and a balance between the private and public sector which has discouraged manufacturing investment and production. I could put the issue in these words: Our public expenditure has grown faster than our rate of economic growth could sustain. I also believe that this has been an important reason for our generally poor industrial performance, for it has meant that the public sector—that is both central and local government—has pre-empted financial and manpower resources at the expense of manufacturing industries. That position has to be reversed. It will be both painful and difficult. That is what the former Chief Secretary to the Treasury, the right hon. Member for Heywood and Royton (Mr. Barnett), was saying in November 1976. It was true then and it is true today. One can look at the figures alone. In December 1973, there were 7,799,000 people employed in manufacturing industry. In December 1978, the figure was 7,167,000—a decline of 632,000 people. During that period, manufacturing output declined by 4 per cent.: we were actually producing 4 per cent. less goods from our factories in 1978 than we produced in 1973. In 1978, perhaps the only year in the last five years when living standards in Britain increased and there was more real spending power in the economy, the import of manufactured goods increased by 13½ per cent.

What we have to face as a country, let alone as a House of Commons, is that we are busy importing other people's unemployment. We are importing it in the car industry and in all the consumer durable industries. We are importing it in a whole range of manufactured goods. Those are goods that we should be making for ourselves but which we are not making. Instead, we are importing them. It is a sorry picture for our country.

In a debate in the last Parliament, I quoted the figure for cars. In 1960, we in Britain built 1,345,000 cars. In that same year, the French built just over 1 million cars. By 1977, we were building 1,300,000 cars, rather fewer than we had built in 1960, while French car production had gone up to over 3 million. That is one of the reasons why our unemployment has risen. It is one of the reasons why our prosperity, relative to other countries, has declined. It is one of the reasons why we have become a country with high unemployment. As our unemployment has risen, we have looked for other means of trying to keep numbers of people off the register and in some sort of work.

As well as those problems, we face world economic factors which will make our task even harder. Given the experience of the last few years, we are not likely to get out of our difficulties by pursuing the same policies that have been pursued for the past five years. If the Opposition consider that these support policies were the answer to our unemployment problems and all that was necessary was to continue expanding them, I would only say that the number of people being helped by the policies and the schemes that the right hon. Gentleman mentioned are running at about 70,000 less than a year ago. Despite my belief that these schemes are only part of the answer, which is why we have cut the budget by £172 million, they will still be assisting next spring 50,000 more people than they were assisting this spring.

Even with this cut of £172 million, for which I make no apology, because it is essential to try a new approach, we have kept the schemes in operation, although restricted more to the special development areas and the development areas so that we achieve a real difference between areas of high unemployment and other areas.

We are talking mostly about cuts in forecasts—I shall return to this later in my speech—rather than cuts in the programme as a whole. If the right hon. Member for Chesterfield believes that I have to sustain my virility within the Government and the Cabinet by accepting bigger cuts than might otherwise have been pushed upon me, he has not followed carefully my progress, or lack of progress, in the House in the last 10 years.

We are fulfilling our clear election commitment to reduce public expenditure but to concentrate aid. My definition of "concentrate" is that we are keeping the same degree of aid almost untouched in the special development areas and in the development areas and cutting aid from certain other parts, which will enable greater aid to be given to areas of high unemployment. That is what we said we would do. We said that we would concentrate aid on the areas and the groups of people where the need was greatest.

There has been a period of very rapid expansion, and there is a need for consolidation. In five years, the expenditure at outturn prices of the Manpower Services Commission has gone up from £120 million to £514 million. As with all rapidly growing organisations, the time has come, in any case, for some tightening up of the schemes and perhaps an improvement in administration, to make those who run them and those who take part recognise their costs and their value.

Scare stories were put about at the general election that we would destroy all these schemes. We had to fight hard to stop people believing that we intended to destroy the schemes, including the Manpower Services Commission, overnight. The idea put out during the campaign that we would destroy the Manpower Services Commission came ill from a party that knew that we had set up the Commission.

We were told that our aim was to destroy the scheme and to create deserts of unemployment in the North-West and other areas. The former Prime Minister went to Glasgow and announced that we were determined to produce deserts of unemployment in Glasgow and other parts of the country. I do not know what he had been doing over the previous years when his Government were creating unemployment. All the scare stories put out by the Labour Party that we would cut back these schemes seem to have had precisely the opposite effect in the minds of the electorate to what the Labour Party hoped.

Photo of Mr Eric Varley Mr Eric Varley , Chesterfield

I have no recollection of my party officially putting out scare stories that the Manpower Services Commission would be wrecked or abolished. Will the right hon. Gentleman say whether he has seen the Manpower Services Commission and whether it accepts the cuts that he has announced?

Photo of Mr James Prior Mr James Prior , Lowestoft

There were plenty of stories going around that we would abolish the Manpower Services Commission. Everyone on this side of the House heard them time and again.

It is true that I did not consult the whole of the MSC before the cuts were made, although I asked the chairman to carry out what consultations he could at short notice. I was told, quite properly, that what we were asking for was something that the chairman had to take on his own shoulders as there was not sufficient time to consult all the commissioners in full. I have asked him, and I asked the MSC yesterday when I met all the commissioners, to look in full now at our proposals for the years 1979–80 and 1980–81.

I did not make specific proposals either to the chairman or to the Commission, a month ago or yesterday. I have asked the Commission what it thinks it would be best to cut, given the need to make these schemes as effective as possible and to conform to the Government's public expenditure programme. Therefore, I have tried, so far as is humanly possible, to consult it in advance on a decision which needed to be taken quickly and which involved a certain budgetary content.

I am not saying that the MSC would have wanted any cuts, but I think that its members will agree that, bearing in mind the facts that cuts were required, they had a reasonable opportunity to decide among themselves where the cuts should fall, and they will have an even greater opportunity of coming to decisions for future years.

The electorate had the clearest choice that they have had for many years. They knew precisely what we were going to do about the expansion of these programmes. Having had that carefully explained to them, they voted in large numbers for the policy that we are now adopting.

In this matter one should not consider just the schemes of cash aid. The policy of the previous Government and their legislation over the previous five years have had a debilitating effect—the Employment Protection Act, the Dock Work Regulation Act, the failure to support small businesses and the effect of the Employment Protection Act on small business confidence—as Mr. Harold Lever used to say, somewhat disloyally, when he was sitting on this Bench. The previous Government had a dogged persistence in the belief that everything they did was right, when even their own supporters were telling them that they were wrong.

We are entitled to ask what they would have done. Are they saying, as the right hon. Member for Chesterfield seemed to imply today, that they would have kept entirely to their public expenditure plans for the coming year? If so, what they are really saying is that they would have to find an extra £2 billion from direct taxation, from an increase in VAT or perhaps from a tax of which they were very fond—the employers' insurance surcharge.

They raised that surcharge twice before. The jobs lost as a result totalled far more than the jobs that they saved by paying out under their job creation schemes the money they had taken from employers.

Photo of Mrs Elaine Kellett Mrs Elaine Kellett , Lancaster

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the previous Government put their poll tax on employment at precisely the time when the other countries of Europe were reducing the tax on employment for firms in difficulties, such as the textile industry, thus putting us at a further disadvantage?

Photo of Mr James Prior Mr James Prior , Lowestoft

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. That has added to our unit costs of production. The result of that and of keeping our VAT rates low is another reason why we have been sucking in so many imports. Not only have one or two other countries in Europe stopped piling extra costs on employers by way of social insurance, and so on, but Sweden, for example, has started to reduce those costs a little—though, granted, from a higher level than ours.

This is the question that Labour Members must answer: from where were they going to get the money to provide the extra schemes that they accuse us of cutting? Would they have done it through the employers' insurance surcharge, by VAT increases, by further cuts in public expenditure or even by increased direct taxation? All that has been tried before and it has failed. The failure is plain for everyone to see.

It is not just the unemployment that we have now which is important, but the trade figures, the import of manufactured goods, the uncompetitiveness of so much of the British economy and the holding back over the past few months before the election of a number of decisions on steel and shipbuilding, which the right hon. Gentleman knows had to be made and should have been made earlier.

All those are part and parcel of the previous Government's policies which failed. It is no answer for the Opposition to put down a motion on unemployment and this Government's policy on cuts when their policies of the past five years have so abjectly failed. Memories in politics are short—perhaps that is a good thing—but I hope that the Opposition will allow a decent period to elapse before they again show the hypocrisy that they have shown by putting down this motion. I ask the House to reject it.

5.17 p.m.

Photo of Dr David Clark Dr David Clark , South Shields

I am pleased to be back in the House after an enforced gap of five years. I should like to pay a brief tribute, with which I am sure hon. Members will want to be associated, to my predecessor, Arthur Blenkinsop. He was in the House for almost 30 years. We knew him as an assiduous and conscientious constituency Member. But, more than that, he had a national reputation in matters of recreation, the arts, amenities and the Health Service. That reputation not only was well-founded but commanded much respect.

I have inherited from Arthur Blenkinsop a constituency with many problems—problems which will be made much worse by the Government's policy of cutting the budget of the Manpower Services Commission. I know that the Minister has been to the North-East and seen some of the problems at first hand, but I want to explain how my constituency's problems will be compounded by the Government's measures.

A DHSS report in 1976 described my constituency as one of the 10 most deprived constituencies in the country. The Northern region strategical team reported in 1977 that South Tyneside was the most deprived district in a region not noted for affluence. Underpinning all this poverty and difficulty is the tremendous problem of unemployment. As the Minister said, unemployment was an issue in the election campaign. In fact it was the issue in my constituency, where 2,000 more people voted Labour than in 1974. That shows that they had more confidence in the previous Administration in this respect than in the present one.

I might be wrong about that, but I remind the House that I am talking about unemployment, on the latest figures, of 12·8 per cent.—two and a half times the national figure, and almost twice the figure for the Northern region. Male unemployment is 15·7 per cent.; almost one man in six in my constituency does not have a job. I note, too, the Government's policies and reflect that the two big employers in my constituency are shipbuilding and local government—both subject to restrictions, or impending restrictions, by the Government. The decision announced yesterday that the Shell-Esso vessel is to be built in Finland does not augur well for the shipbuilding areas.

I hate to prophesy, but I fear the events of the next 12 months. I pray that I may be wrong. I cannot see male unemployment being less than 20 per cent. in the South Tyneside area. Hon. Members will understand my concern. I do not accuse the Secretary of State of callousness. I believe that he is genuinely shocked by what he has seen in some of the regions. I do not say this carpingly, but I believe that some of his hon. Friends would do well to see the problems that exist in some of the deprived parts of the country. I did not appreciate them until I went there. Those problems are reflected in the savage and tragic unemployment among young people.

During the election campaign I was, in a sense, heartened to meet many youngsters who were employed under the youth opportunities programme, often in social services, sometimes in industry. I went out of my way to talk to the young people. They all said that they would much prefer to do a job than to be on the dole. The success of this programme was such that in South Shields I met only two people at the time of the election who had been on a youth opportunities scheme and had not been fixed up with a job. That shows the value of such a scheme. However, we still have 750 young people unemployed in South Shields.

I have listened with care to what the Minister said, and I welcome the fact that cutbacks are not to be made in areas such as South Shields. I note that in the press release issued by the Department it was said that there will be some shift to wards cheaper schemes and some curtailment of the duration of programmes. This will reduce the quality of the various schemes. We feel that in areas such as mine this will have an effect on the services offered by the Manpower Services Commission. We deeply deplore and fear such cuts.

We also fear the effect of the Buudget. I give notice to the Government that I intend to be a thorn in their side on this issue and intend to prick their consciences. We are talking about one in five of the males being out of work in areas such as mine. It was 50 years ago when the hon. Member who at that time represented the constituency next to mine—Jarrow—led a march to London. I hope that I shall not have to take such measures. We are not asking for the earth. We are not greedy people. All that we want is to have a share in the affluence that we see in certain parts of the country. What we seek can be best summed up in the words of a pitman-poet from South Shields, a man who later was to grace these Benches for 20 years, Joe Batey. He wrote in a poem at the turn of the century: We do not ask the earth; only that portion of its plenty that is ours. That is what we want in areas such as South Shields.

5.25 p.m.

Photo of Mr John Butcher Mr John Butcher , Coventry South West

I compliment the hon. Member for South Shields (Dr. Clark) on his return to the House and on his speech on an issue about which he feels strongly. I share his concern. I hope that we shall be discussing similar issues across the Floor of the House on many occasions in the coming years. Unemployment is inevitably an emotive issue, and hon. Members differ strongly on the methods by which it may be reduced or its effects ameliorated.

I have been fortunate enough to catch your eye this afternoon, Mr. Deputy Speaker, and I am sure that if the previous hon. Member for Coventry, South-West were present she would be anxiously trying to catch your eye, too. She cared deeply for the plight of the unemployed. I refer to my predecessor, Mrs. Audrey Wise. Her views on society were totally different from mine. Some of her methods were different from those which I shall pursue. However, in this House an hon. Member is always respected for having the courage of his or her convictions. She worked hard for all those constituents who needed help, and she was assiduous in her attendance here and in her duties in this place. During the election campaign Mrs. Wise and I shared a platform on three occasions. She debated the issues, including unemployment, without rancour.

Coventry, South-West is not a constituency which can be described as average or typical in any sense. It contains an above average proportion of skilled industrial workers. It has above average owner-occupation and an above average percentage of trade union members. Most of the university of Warwick is within its boundaries. It is good for the political soul of a new hon. Member to have a large group of young idealists on his doorstep.

On the university campus there are many fringe groups which I can only describe under the collective umbrella of the "Enid Blyton Left." In the mainstream there are the Federation of Conservative Students and the Young Socialists—the Labour club. I am bound to report that the Labour club has a football team called Workers United. I am further bound to report that Workers United beat FCS 6-0 last year and 4-0 this year. This represents a swing of 17 per cent. to the Conservatives.

The recent history of the city of Coventry is also different from that of most of our cities. When the city centre was destroyed overnight by bombing, Coventrians started afresh. They built a new and beautiful shopping centre and so rejuvenated the local economy that it was nicknamed "The Klondyke" in the 1950s. Today 186,000 people are employed in the area, together producing export goods to the value of £250 million per annum. That is £1,344 of exports per head of the working population. If that figure had been repeated nationally we would be debating here the happy issues associated with economic success rather than, as is, sadly, frequently the case, our recurring economic crises.

There are clouds on the horizon. Coventry's strengths are also her weaknesses. I refer to the unusually high proportion of the work force which is directly employed in manufacturing. There is an over-dependence on a small number of large employers, and there are the possible effects of the silicon chip revolution on a city which, more than any other in this country, is dependent on the repetitive assembly of engineering and automotive products.

That brings me to the terms of today's debate, the role of the Manpower Services Commission and other public agencies in dealing with the now rapidly accelerating changes in the pattern of employment. There is now a national acceptance that public expenditure deliberately boosted to increase employment suffers from its own law of diminishing returns. The revenue-raising implications of a job artificially created may cause a job to be lost in a hitherto profitable company. Ameliorative measures are precisely that. They do not solve long-term problems or provide long-term jobs.

The Manpower Services Commission has an important role to play in keeping unemployed youngsters "job-fit", as we call it, and in keeping its training and placement programmes responsive to the needs of local employers. Value for money also is essential, and I am delighted to report to the House that this is precisely what is being provided by the MSC in Coventry.

Compared with last year, we shall lose 100 places on the STEP schemes, which is unfortunate, but the youth opportunities programme will be expanded. There were 3,000 starts on YOP projects last year. There will be 4,500 starts this year. It must be remembered also that last year's budget for the MSC was based on a higher level of occupancy than has so far been achieved.

On behalf of the young people of Coventry I thank my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Employment for recognising their problems in the most tangible way possible, and I am sure that they will respond with enthusiasm and dedication.

There are 11,916 unemployed people on Coventry's register, yet there are still great shortages of labour, particularly of skilled workers. The engineering employers require technicians of all kinds, and there are vacancies for draughtsmen, designers, work study engineers and process planners. Measures have therefore been taken to increase co-operation between the local education authority and the Coventry engineering employers' association on the means by which education can become more sensitive to the needs of local industry. In responding to the changing patterns of employment, further education departments of local authorities will have an increasing role to play, and it may be that within education budgets a shift of resources into further and adult education will become inevitable. As training and retraining become more important, a blurring of the lines of responsibility between Departments of Government at both national and local level may take place.

I am not arguing today for a reallocation of resources between Departments, but I hope that the recently announced changes in the MSC budget mark the beginning of a rationalisation and a fresh national approach which will take advantage of existing skills within the Department of Employment and the Department of Education and Science, to the benefit of all those seeking work.

It used to be said on Birmingham city council that there were three main political parties—the Labour Party, the Conservative Party, and members of the education committee. For six years I was a member of that council and took a special interest in further education. For nine years I have worked in the computer industry, and I hope that the House will therefore understand why I cannot let today's debate pass without a brief mention of the effects that the silicon chip will have on future employment patterns and life styles.

In Coventry and the West Midlands microprocessors are of special interest because the very nature of our industries will dictate their utilisation if we are to remain competitive, but this will not take place without our taking cognisance of our new social responsibilities.

Every 16-year-old leaving school this summer will probably need complete retraining on three or four occasions in his working life on his way to retirement at the age of 50. Changes in policy on redundancy payments may be necessary to encourage the investment of those payments in new ventures. If spectacular increases in efficiency are achieved, we may have to rewrite the economic textbooks, particularly those sections dealing with surplus wealth. If there is to be surplus wealth sloshing around the economy, it could be used to assist future Governments in promoting cheap money policies for borrowers. We may be able to look forward to the day when there is one highly paid wage earner per family, a day when we may remember the latchkey children as an anti-social phenomenon of the 1960s and 1970s.

If a man or woman is working a four-day week, leisure pursuits will take on a larger significance in our lives. With more leisure and more time to make buying decisions, society could become more acquisitive—not just in the sense of acquiring consumer goods but in the sense of acquiring compassion. A family with more time together and more money can also afford to care for the aged, the disabled and the disadvantaged. I hope that we shall see an acceleration of the trend to family-based care, reinforced by Government policies, and a continued change in the direction of resource allocation away from institutionalised care towards home-based provision.

I am aware that for centuries Members of Parliament have seized on a single technical breakthrough to project and predict earth-shattering economic changes. In many instances it just has not happened. That may be the case with the silicon chip, but I doubt it. The revolution is already under way, and its effects will be as profound as those of the coming of the railway age in the last century. There is a danger that its advent will polarise economic opinions. For example, surplus wealth may be the catalyst which permits large numbers of people to become self-employed, or, alternatively, it may be used to generate an increase in the number of workers' co-operatives.

The driving force for wealth creation must continue to be capitalism. The economic atmosphere must be one of enterprise and value for money from State agencies. In this way, and through a mixed economy, the quality of life can be truly enhanced for all sections of the community.

I have a rough idea that this is the sixty-third maiden speech to which the House has listened in the past few weeks. I thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, for your indulgence, and I thank the House for its customary courtesy on this occasion.

5.38 p.m.

Photo of Mr David Alton Mr David Alton , Liverpool Edge Hill

I congratulate the hon. Member for Coventry, South-West (Mr. Butcher) on his maiden speech. He remarked that there were three parties on the Birmingham city council. I am glad to assure him that there are three parties in this place, and in congratulating the hon. Gentleman and making my contribution to the debate I am happy to speak from the Liberal Bench. The hon. Gentleman's speech, I thought, proved that even in the computer industry there is feeling and heart, for his words demonstrated concern for the genuine plight of the unemployed and his anxiety to remedy the problems of his constituents. I am sure that the House will hear many more speeches from the hon. Gentleman, and, if they are of the quality of the one which he has just delivered, it will not tire of hearing from him.

I wish now to refer to the situation on Merseyside in discussing both the subject raised today by the Opposition and the state of affairs created by the Budget. Hon. Members may well have seen the report in The Observer last weekend which said: Treasury forecasts that unemployment will rise to 2 million and that inflation could reach 20 per cent. next year have been suppressed because of their acute political sensitivity. Sensitivity is required when we talk about unemployment, and any Budget which allows the growth of unemployment is for that reason unacceptable. It is probably more important to talk about the massive scale of unemployment in terms of the Budget presented last week than in terms of the continuation of the Manpower Services Commission, important though that body may have been.

It is not a matter of people saying that they will not work. They cannot get work. They cannot work. I deplore the attempts made from time to time to suggest that people, particularly on Merseyside, are workshy. That has never been my experience, and the 100,000 people out of work on Merseyside, some 11 per cent. of the population, will deny that that is so.

In parts of my constituency of Edge Hill, there are about 30 per cent. of people out of work—an amazing figure when set alongside the national average of 5·2 per cent., about 1,238,000 in all. It demonstrates the difference between North and South and the difference between the hardbitten industrial centres and the more well-endowed areas of the South-East.

I am worried by the growing number who are unemployed for long periods. Over 955,000 have been unemployed for periods longer than four weeks. Many of those remain unemployed for periods far longer than that. They have more and more difficulty in obtaining employment as the years go by.

Against the background of such largescale and long-term unemployment, we must consider with a certain amount of scepticism the schemes provided through the Manpower Services Commission. At the end of April it was estimated that 63,000 had been assisted by temporary employment subsidy schemes. There were 11,200 assisted by the short-time working compensation scheme, 370 by the temporary short-term working compensation scheme, 27,600 by the small firms employment subsidy, 22,900 by the job release scheme, 870 by the adult employment subsidy scheme, 190 by the job introduction scheme, 70,000 by the youth employment scheme, 5,200 by the community industry scheme and 14,500 by the special temporary employment programme, 26,000 by the training places supported in industry scheme, a total of 242,000. That is only a drop in the ocean when taken in the context of 1,238,000 unemployed.

We all deplore the cuts made in the Budget introduced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer last week. I will give three examples. The youth opportunities programme has been cut by £52 million from £200 million. The STEP programme has been reduced to £42 million from £80 million and the TOPS programme by £22 million from £200 million. That is something with which we are all concerned. Even though the schemes have sometimes been merely palliatives, and even though we have been putting only poultices on the problems, nevertheless the schemes have made some contribution to the problems of the unemployed.

We should embark on ways of resuscitating the economy. Instead of creating quangos like the MSC as we did in 1973, expanding bureaucracy, coming close to setting up alternative education systems and getting into competition with already bureaucracy-filled local govenment, it would be far better to return the functions of the MSC to local government and let it get on with the job. The Association of Metropolitan Authorities proposed that action a few days ago. We would do well to listen to it.

We must consider carefully the effects of the Budget in terms of real employment within local government. I do not mean temporary employment schemes where people are given a short-term stay of execution. Many unemployed are taken off the dole queue only to be placed back on that scrap heap within a very short period. With certain schemes once a person has been employed for one year he is thrown back on the scrap heap without the opportunity of remaining in employment via that scheme.

That is not true of local government where many jobs are under threat because of the cuts announced by the Government in rate support grant, and because the previous Government failed to operate a proper prices and incomes policy. The result has been that local authorities are nowhere near the 5 per cent. targets laid down by the previous Secretary of State for the Environment.

In Liverpool, for example, there is a £5·4 million deficit to meet within the current financial year. That has been totally occasioned by wage increases and a failure by the previous Government to comply with their own pay guidelines.

Local government is expected by the present Government to remedy that. This Government have told local government to prune its expenditure. In Liverpool alone the effect of that policy this year will be to make necessary 1,841 redundancies within the local government structure, and next year a further 743 redundancies.

That is totally unacceptable. What choice will local government have if the rate support grant is not reviewed to take into account the terrific wage settlements that have been reached? The manual workers' award from 30 October this year—building workers, for instance—is an increase of 14·8 per cent. instead of the suggested 5 per cent. Social workers have received a 22 per cent. award. From 1 April teachers averaged a rise of 10·7 per cent. Comparability awards for manual workers have resulted in increases of about 5 per cent. and there will be further increases later in the year.

The effect of that is that the Liverpool city council has to find an additional £13 million. There are grant-aided subsidies that will reduce this amount, and by savings that can be made within the authority the total amount of the deficit will be about £5½ million.

The real effect on the employment of local government workers will be disastrous. It will mean that many more will end up in the unemployment queues.

No one can suggest that a superficial debate on the MSC reaches the crux of the problem of unemployment.

All hon. Members accept that unemployment is a problem that affects not only Merseyside and the country as a whole. It is a crisis that the whole of the Western world will have to face. The hon. Member for Coventry, South-West was right to refer to the problems posed by new technology, the advent of the micro-chip. There will be major problems.

More thought must be given to work-sharing schemes and a fairer system in our industries that will result in the creation of more jobs. Until we give proper incentives through profit-sharing schemes, we shall not see the creation of more jobs within industry. Why should employees bother to work harder if that merely means putting more money in the employer's pocket? That is especially true if the employer is the person who will gain most from the tax reductions introduced in the Budget. If proper incentives had been provided for workers at the lower end of the scale, the Budget might have been greeted with less acrimony by many workers.

We are in a position where, without a proper prices and incomes policy, we shall embark on something close to free collective chaos. That will result in the loss of more and more jobs.

The Budget is a recipe for more unemployment. It will hit areas such as Merseyside even harder. It will sabotage the work that has been done by organisations representing small business men. Last year alone the Council for Small Industries in Rural Areas advanced loans of £3·46 million, creating 1,700 permanent new jobs. That is far more beneficial in the long term than any number of manpower services commissions, job creation programmes, or any other palliative.

It is important that the Government pay proper attention and care to the creation of long-term jobs and do something about reducing massive unemployment that will only be accentuated as a result of the disgraceful cuts made in rate support grant and the way that they will hit local authorities.

5.50 p.m.

Photo of Mr Mark Wolfson Mr Mark Wolfson , Sevenoaks

As I rise with trepidation to make my maiden speech I am reminded of my first speech-making efforts when I worked for the Industrial Society. I spoke to an interested industrial group at a university. I was given a good dinner. I spoke to those present. We had a discussion, which was open and full. I hope that I answered their questions reasonably well, as most of us do at the conclusion of such evenings. When I left, the young lady treasurer said to me "Mr. Wolfson, what is the fee that we should settle?" I said "There is no fee. The Industrial Society happily pays for this." She said "What about expenses?" I said "There are none of those either." She said "We have been lucky this year. None of our speakers asked for fees or expenses." I remarked that the society's balance sheet must be looking healthy. She replied "Yes." I said "What will happen to the surplus?" She said "Next year we shall offer far higher fees and obtain the services of much better speakers."

Fortunately or unfortunately, there is neither bonus nor fee involved here. There is a flat rate for the job. In spite of today's news, the rate is still far too flat. We shall all be running to stand still. The Boyle recommendation of a salary of £12,000 for Members of Parliament is fair but not over-generous. Its implementation should have been more rapid. The present basic pay of under £7,000 per year for this job is derisory. It is time that Britain, which rightly expects much from its Members of Parliament, came more into line with our European neighbours. The time to do so will never be sufficiently propitious. It will take the courage of all Members of Parliament. We shall have only ourselves to blame if the proper rate is not paid for a proper job. Perhaps, in view of the Government's emphasis on productivity-based deals in wage negotiations elsewhere, we should apply the same criterion here. As a newcomer, my mind boggles at the possible consequences. Paid on the basis of words delivered in the Chamber, how many more Government supporters would gladly pop up to intervene, to question, or make speeches? How many members of the Opposition would follow the example of their hon. Friends sitting below the Gangway and wield a sledgehammer to serve a double winner? We should be here night and day and every weekend.

I wish to refer now to my predecessor who, for nearly 30 years, represented Sevenoaks. In his maiden speech Sir John Rodgers spoke in detail and from a background of much knowledge about the problems of newsprint supply in postwar Britain. The then President of the Board of Trade replied. Sir John's speech cast an interesting light on Britain 30 years ago. Our newspapers consisted of six pages. In France they consisted of between 12 and 18 pages, and in Belgium of between 12 and 16 pages. Indeed, Sir John said that all the countries in Europe, except Germany behind the Iron Curtain, were better off than ourselves in that matter. Comparisons like that have a familiar ring in many other cases today. I have a feeling of dèjàvu. That speech marked the start of a long and worthwhile career in this House. Sir John Rodgers will always be remembered as one of the pioneers of the European ideal, to which he gave much time and energy. As his successor in this house, I salute him.

The constituency of Sevenoaks is more varied than hon. Members might at first suppose. It has some urban pressures. It has much lovely countryside. My constituents travel by train and car to London, but many work locally in new and growing industries. Community life in the villages and towns is markedly active. Voluntary work by busy working people is much in evidence. I look forward to working here on my constituents' behalf.

Sevenoaks possesses two historic houses, Chartwell and Knowle, which are both owned by the National Trust. There is also Penshurst Place, which is still in the hands of Lord De L'Isle. That is a family trusteeship held from Elizabethan times. I shall speak out in favour of retaining our national heritage in the continuing trusteeship of those families who own and love their homes. Once such houses are open to the public, everyone gains from the care, attention and individuality that such ownership brings to this show of living history. Nationalisation and municipalisation provide no benefit except dull uniformity and higher cost. Partnership between Government and owner, the nation and the public, is the best way of ensuring that we in the present and those of the future benefit most from those who have gone and who worked before.

Now to the business of this debate. Already I have learned the value of hearing in this Chamber about the specific problems of other hon. Members' constituencies and how legislation has affected—or, they fear, may affect—their situation.

The planned reductions in the budget of the Manpower Services Commission are opposed by members of the Opposition because they argue that they will be detrimental to the prospect of jobs for the long-term unemployed and young people. I speak from some experience of work with young people. For some years I was warden of Brathay Hall, a training centre in the Lake District providing development courses for young men and women from industry and commerce. I remain a trustee of that worthwhile operation. Brathay Hall has benefited in kind from the job creation scheme, in the form of a restored Lakeland barn, now providing additional training facilities. That was opened two years ago by the right hon. Member for Barrow-in-Furness (Mr. Booth) when he was Secretary of State for Employment. Later I worked with the Industrial Society in running its campaign to improve the development and training opportunities for young people at work. As a practising personnel director I am much involved in the practical decisions of business on whether to create new jobs. My point is that it is at the practical working level, the sharp end in business, that the decisions on the retention or otherwise of present jobs and decisions on the creation or not of new jobs will always be made.

The Government, except in a totally controlled Socialist society, can only set the scene. If real, long-lasting and secure jobs are to be created, and it is crucial that they are, business men must have the confidence to create them. The whole strategy of the Budget is based on providing a backdrop against which that confidence can grow. The Budget measures are the first step. Some changes to the Employment Protection Act will be the second, changes to trade union law the third, and the cutting of other controls and red tape imposed on industry is the fourth. That is the kind of package that those who run businesses, those who will have to make decisions about expansion and new jobs, have been looking for.

The Manpower Services Commission special employment measures have helped, and will continue to help, to plug the gap. It is important that the House and the country appreciate, first, that the cuts are made into the already planned Budget growth; secondly, that the special employment measures continue and are concentrated in those areas and on those individuals whose needs are greatest; thirdly, that the Government are as much concerned as any Opposition Member about the deeply serious effect that unemployment has on individuals and on families, be they young or old.

Unless the decision-taker, in his or her business—be it the director, manager, owner or a self-employed business man—decides to expand and takes the risk to go for a wider market, there never will be the extra jobs that this country so desperately needs and will need in the future.

All the experience I have gained from those to whom I have spoken in my constituency and from my time in employment, tells me that high personal taxation, higher employers' contributions, some aspects of the Employment Protection Act, increased form-filling and reporting procedures—all of which have increased during five years of Labour Government—have militated against that very business confidence which is the only way to achieve long-term job security and new long-term jobs.

We on the Government Benches certainly see a continuing and crucially important role for the Manpower Services Commission in retraining, helping to deal with problem areas and helping those who are specifically disadvantaged because of the changing job scene. The future prospect of changing technology in Britain need not be all gloom. There is the alternative of brighter prospects, more opportunity and a more leisurely life. Given the right challenge, which we ask them to take up, there is no reason why business men, successful, profitable and confident in the Government's long-term intention, should not do much to deal with the problem of unemployment which we are discussing.

I hope that I have stayed within tradition in talking about my constituents and my predecessor. If I have strayed a little outside tradition in making some statements that are, perhaps, controversial, I thank Opposition Members for their kindness in bearing with me. I do not expect them to bear with me so easily in the future.

6.7 p.m.

Photo of Mr George Park Mr George Park , Coventry North East

I congratulate the hon. Member for Sevenoaks (Mr. Wolfson) on his maiden speech. We look forward to his future contributions to our debates with interest, although, as he himself remarked, I doubt very much whether we shall be quite so easy on him next time. However, I regard it as a hopeful sign that in this very short debate two Members from Coventry caught your eye. Mr. Deputy Speaker.

I should also like to congratulate the new hon. Member for Coventry, South-West (Mr. Butcher). It is quite clear that he has come to grips with that constituency. I appreciated his kind remarks about my former colleague. Mrs. Audrey Wise.

I echo the hope of the Secretary of State that we will be given further opportunities to discuss this subject. At this early stage in the life of the Government it may be understandable that most of the responses we get sound as if the Government are saying "We have a mandate". Alternatively, we are given bromide answers.

Sooner or later, Ministers will have to give specific answers to matters arising out of their own policy decisions. The Government would be treading on very dangerous ground if they imagined that they had been given not only a mandate but a blank cheque. This is particularly true of their intentions towards the Manpower Services Commission. It is not sufficient, as has been said by many hon. Members on the Government Benches, not least the Prime Minister, to dismiss the activities of the MSC by saying that it is not providing real jobs.

Whatever the state of the economy, new technology will demand that training and retraining assumes even greater importance if we are to cope with the mismatch between the skills or qualities available, or capable of being developed, in the labour force and the skills which employers need and can afford. Training and retraining should be a growth industry. In this context, the reductions in the budget of the MSC can be regarded only as a retrograde step.

In Coventry specifically—and I am not as sanguine as the hon. Member for Coventry, South-West about the situation—we shall receive no help under the special temporary employment programme—STEP. We have yet to assess fully the impact of national reductions in the youth opportunities scheme, bearing in mind that £52 million will be taken out of a £200 million gross figure. If we are to assess the impact of this cut on Coventry, we need to know what is meant by the statement that provision will be shifted towards less expensive opportunities, what are the reductions in time for which young people remain in the programme, and whether it will be concentrated in designated areas. We need answers to those questions because we are told that those are the ways in which the reduction is to be achieved.

In April 1979, 1,100 young people in Coventry were engaged on programmes funded by the MSC, out of 2,900 unemployed aged between 16 and 18. The situation that will face 4,000 children who are expected to leave school this summer will be made even more difficult. It is important to stress that Coventry may once have been known as the Klondyke, but that is very much in the past tense now.

Nationally, we are expected to believe that community industry can have a reduction of £1 million and still expand. Nor have we been told as yet what is the estimated effect of taking £22·3 million out of the £200 million in the training opportunities scheme, or nearly £10 million from the industrial training boards.

Even in the small firms area, which the Government say they support, this subsidy will no longer be available in Coventry. I do not know what we have done. We are in Coventry. We cannot be sent to Coventry. We are there. But we suffer this effect all the time when it comes to Government support.

For those who doubt the value of the schemes sponsored by the MSC, let me give just one example. Of 160 youngsters who have taken part in work experience schemes at GEC Telecommunications, 90 are now working full-time for the company and a further 20 have been placed in full-time jobs.

Conservative Members have said time and again that uncertainty is the enemy of confidence; and confidence is essential to success in any endeavour. The Government must, therefore, remove any uncertainty as to the effects of their policy decisions on the MSC and, in particular, its Coventry context.

I realise that it does not come within the responsibilities of the Secretary of State for Employment, but the uncertainty about the future of the National Enterprise Board adds to the anxiety in Coventry, where one-fifth of the manufacturing work force are employed in companies funded by the NEB.

The fact is that since 1975 more than 78,000 people have been helped in the West Midlands by the MSC in an attempt to counteract the decline in job opportunities in our more traditional industries. But, if the Government do not like and want to curtail the present activities of the MSC, are they prepared to sponsor and encourage jobs in new industries, to which reference has been made, or in the overstretched public services or in industrial activities which are concerned with providing for home consumption rather than exports?

Although the Secretary of State indicated at Question Time on Tuesday that the West Midlands would need to pull itself up by its own bootstraps, is he prepared, as far as it lies within his responsibility, to support the suggestion of the economic planning council to set up a West Midlands industrial centre to channel the scientific and technological resources of our universities and polytechnics into the region's industrial future?

If clear answers are not forthcoming, we can only assume that the Government are intent on returning to a nineteenth-century philosophy which ignores the fact that, politics aside, the march of technology will bring social consequences which a market economy is not geared to cope with; and their mandate will come to an end.

6.15 p.m.

Photo of Alan Haselhurst Alan Haselhurst , Saffron Walden

I am happy to be the first speaker from the Conservative Benches to compliment my hon. Friends the Members for Coventry, South-West (Mr. Butcher) and Sevenoaks (Mr. Wolfson) on their admirable maiden speeches. Both of them delivered their speeches with con- siderable effectiveness and revealed, in their individual ways, that they were speaking from deep experience of the matters we are discussing this afternoon. I have no doubt that the Government side of the House has gained greatly by their arrival here. We look forward to hearing their contributions on future occasions.

I am tempted to take up for a moment or two the remarks with which my hon. Friend the Member for Sevenoaks prefaced his speech, remarks about another subject which has been raised today, but I shall refrain from doing so, Mr. Deputy Speaker, lest I should incur your disapproval. Therefore, I turn to the substantive matter before us.

In the debate on the Gracious Speech, I said that I wondered how long it would be before the Opposition suddenly discovered something extremely iniquitous in the level of unemployment in the country. It has not taken them long. After only six weeks or so out of office, they are now able, apparently, so far to forget the period for which they were responsible that they can put down a motion which is critical of the Government over unemployment. It requires considerable audacity for Labour right hon. and hon. Members to choose this subject so early in their life as the Opposition.

In any case, I have absolutely no difficulty in rejecting the motion simply opposing the Government's decision to reduce the budget of the Manpower Services Commission which will injure the prospects of jobs for the long-term unemployed", because I do not think that this is what lies at the heart of the unemployment problem. The Opposition's fire is misdirected if they believe that the action taken by the Government will be seriously injurious to employment.

What matters most concerning employment prospects is the health of the economy and the conditions for employment generally in the country. I have no doubt that the Government are right in their approach on taxation and with respect to amendments to the Employment Protection Act to encourage employment.

We have debated on other occasions what it is that persuades employers to employ more people. There has been dispute between the two major political parties. But it still remains my clear conviction, gained from talking to many employers, that the conditions that existed under the previous Government were acting as a directly inhibiting effect on employers' taking on more people. I am now hopeful that the changes that are being made in taxation and in the Employment Protection Act will create a new climate which will enable more people to be employed without special measures being necessary.

However, I recognise that the timing is important. I would not pretend for a moment that there will not be an unemployment problem which needs attention.

Linked with the question of the unemployed is the question of those who are employed but have had no kind of contact with the education service since they left formal education or who have had no kind of training. Any approach must link the needs of the unemployed and the needs of those who are in employment but have received no training. At present, in the age range 16 to 18, about 10 per cent. are unemployed, but 37 per cent. are in work but without any kind of training. Those two matters must be examined. It is on that basis that we construct a sensible programme for dealing with the residual problem of unemployment.

I am concerned that the Opposition should concentrate their fire on action taken by the present Government with regard to the MSC. One of my worries about the proposals that came forth from the previous Government is that they proposed one idea after another as a temporary measure, without any real rationale behind it. Most of the measures that they introduced were called temporary, and there is no doubt that the Labour Government did not believe that the unemployment they faced would last for very long.

It is not necessary in showing one's concern about unemployment to defend to the last degree all the measures introduced by the previous Government. Those measures were brought out one after another and did not always link up. The programme for dealing with the unemployed or those with inadequate training was not coherent or rational. We must adopt a different approach. Shaving money from the Manpower Services Commission does not necessarily directly harm the prospects of a more positive and sensible programme for dealing with such people.

I shall consider first careers. It is difficult to speak about that subject without crossing departmental boundaries. Not enough is done to help people to choose the job for which they have the greatest aptitude and in which they would be happiest. The attention of young people is not sufficiently directed to the jobs available in their areas. It is not true that in all areas of the country there are no job prospects. It is alarming that many employers cannot fill posts. Applicants often do not have adequate qualifications for the job.

There is an antipathetic feeling towards industry which has not sufficiently been overcome. Initiatives have been taken—some by industry itself—to improve industry's image and make known to children at school the kind of jobs open to them. There are, however, insufficient links between firms and schools, and the responsibility lies with industry to try to overcome that.

Some people in the education service may be a little suspicious, but industry needs qualified people. Local companies can play a bigger part in selling themselves to young people.

When firms take on new recruits there should be a better induction programme. Often if there is such a programme the induction lasts for only a day or two. It is unsatisfactory in modern industrial conditions to expect people to acclimatise to a totally new atmosphere in such a short period. We must find a better means, through careers training and induction, to help young people seeking employment.

How is that to be done and how can it be financed? The Government are not solely responsible. I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Sevenoaks that the Government's responsibility is to set the scene. I hope that the measures taken by the Government will do just that, but the various schemes produced under the special programmes of the Manpower Services Commission do not add up to a suitably coherent programme.

It is disappointing that the Commission's schemes—and in particular the youth opportunities programme—lack educational or training content. The majority of places are allocated to on-the-job training courses. The amount of educational training is small.

I question whether the Commission is spending money sensibly. It seems to be falling well short of providing for a well-trained work force. Many industrialists would say that there have been enough demands on industry, but it should play a bigger part in training the young people whom it will need in the future.

We must find the right connection between the education system and life at work. That is important at present. People will then be trained to do the type of job that is available and will be able to understand the environment in which they are to operate.

Industry must be brought much more into the training process, and its contribution must be increased. Not everyone will be able to work in industry because of the effects on manufacturing of such technological developments as the silicon chip. Manufacturing industry will employ fewer people in the future, although that still leaves plenty of opportunity in service industries. Not everyone can look forward to training in a skill related to manufacturing industry. We must consider how people can be trained to do the jobs that will be available and be given the skills to cope with the general problems of industrial life as adults.

The role of the voluntary organisations should be given more consideration. The Manpower Services Commission was used by the previous Government to operate a series of special programmes. It largely bypassed the bodies that existed and that might have contributed to the training. The role of those organisations should be reassessed, because many could provide courses that would be relevant to youngsters who cannot acquire skills for a career in industry. That is the direction in which the Government should be looking. The Government should not nail their flag to the Commission and say that all its work is automatically right and that any adjustment will harm the unemployed.

There must be a new approach if we are to have a well-equipped work force to deal with our future needs. I recognise that there is a problem of managing the balance between the numbers of people seeking employment—which will rise in the next few years—and the number of jobs available. To judge by the nature of the jobs that will be available, more training will be required. That may mean delaying the commencement of full-time employment until youngsters are equipped properly and effectively to do the jobs available.

If the Government base their approach on that kind of thinking, they will do the best service they can to the unemployed and untrained. It is better to adopt that line of action than simply to accept what the Government inherited and say that it is so good that it cannot be changed.

6.28 p.m.

Photo of Mr Arthur Davidson Mr Arthur Davidson , Accrington

I am concerned about the effects of the cuts to which the right hon. Gentleman has referred on an intermediate area such as North-East Lancashire. It has long been a bone of contention that North-East Lancashire has not been given development area status. It is a criticism that I have made to successive Governments.

Aid has been concentrated in development and special development areas, although measures such as temporary employment subsidies and STEP have been invaluable to North-East Lancashire in creating and maintaining jobs. Without those measures, the differential between areas such as North-East Lancashire and those with development area status would be further widened.

I believe that the Secretary of State was making a mistake—one that has been made by successive Governments—in viewing the problems of an area purely and simply on the unemployment statistics. There are certain areas, such as North-East Lancashire, which have particular problems, notably the drift away of young people, so the unemployment statistics are not a true and accurte assessment of the problems of the area.

I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will be flexible and will not concentrate aid on development areas and special development areas to the exclusion of areas such as North-East Lancashire.

6.31 p.m.

Photo of Mr John Golding Mr John Golding , Newcastle-under-Lyme

I warmly welcome back to the House my hon. Friend the Member for South Shields (Mr. Clark), who delivered his second maiden speech in a courteous manner. I was also pleased to hear the speech of the hon. Member for Liverpool, Edge Hill (Mr. Alton) and those of the hon. Members for Coventry, South-West (Mr. Butcher) and for Sevenoaks (Mr. Wolfson), who made contributions that were such that we shall listen to them with great interest in the future.

I am sorry that my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Accrington (Mr. Davidson) did not have time to develop his argument about the problems of the intermediate areas. Had he done so, he would have done credit to the subject, as did my hon. Friend the Member for Coventry. North-East (Mr. Park). I was interested to hear from the hon. Member for Saffron Walden (Mr. Haselhurst), but I wondered why he did not echo the severe criticisms that he heard the other evening from the British Youth Council. I wondered why his defence of the Government was not delivered face to face to the representatives of the council, who are in the House today. We are debating these cuts which are an act of social vandalism.

Photo of Mr John Golding Mr John Golding , Newcastle-under-Lyme

No, I shall not give way. The Government are guilty of putting the boot into the youth opportunities programme and reducing the special temporary employment programme by well over half, stealing it away from many of our constituencies. They are also slashing proposed new places in community industry and cutting support for industrial training. In addition, the cuts have led to the mutilation of both the small firms employment subsidy and the temporary short-term working compensation scheme, as well as the abandonment of the restructuring subsidy.

I feel like someone who has built something with care and then has to watch hooligans mindlessly smashing his work. That is how I have felt as I have watched the Government in their first few weeks at the Department of Employment.

Why have the Tory Government done this? Is it because the problem of unemployment will decrease? Of course not. Although it is not clear whether the Secretary of State has seen the Treasury forecast of 2 million unemployed, or whether he agrees with that figure, it is clear that he expects unemployment to rise. In these circumstances, I would have expected more and not less effort to be put in to reducing the impact of unemployment.

That was the attitude of my right hon. Friend the Member for Barrow-in-Furness (Mr. Booth). He saw the Treasury forecasts and made certain, through special measures and through schemes which are now being wrecked, that the Treasury was proved wrong. It is not because the problem of unemployment is less or because the amount of individual hardship will fall. It is not that the economic waste will disappear or that the need to support industrial training will diminish. It is not for any of these reasons that the right hon. Gentleman has succumbed to the pressure from the Prime Minister for £170 million worth of cuts in the Department of Employment group.

The choice facing the Secretary of State was either his own redundancy or the unemployment of thousands of other people. The Prime Minister, stubbornly believing that the answer to our problems is to make the rich richer still and make those not so well off pay the price, has completely undermined much of the good work done by the previous Government in co-operation with the Manpower Services Commission. This work, incidentally, was generally supported by the Secretary of State when he was in Opposition.

In pursuing the Prime Minister's policies, the Secretary of State must recognise that he is denying young people the chance that they deserve and that they would have had if Labour had won the general election. The Prime Minister's policy to inflict hardship on so many individuals and families is a savage way of treating so many very vulnerable young people. When the right hon. Gentleman receives the thanks of his rich friends for the tax cuts, may he also hear the curses of those condemned, as a consequence, to unemployment. Those curses will be echoed by the careers service which, together with the Manpower Services Commission, has worked so hard over the last two or three years to give all our young people a fair chance to work at a time of heavy recession.

I suspect that the right hon. Gentleman does not really believe in the arguments that he puts forward. From time to time he sneers about schemes that we introduced because they were not all about creating jobs. He implies that only permanent job creation is worth while. But in practice he has kept intact the job release scheme, and thank goodness for that. But the job release scheme itself does not create another job. The right hon. Gentleman keeps other schemes as well which do not create jobs, even though he has not kept them intact. I refer here to schemes such as the youth opportunities programme and the special temporary employment programme. Why does he keep them? I believe that, despite the philosophy of the Prime Minister, the Secretary of State sees value in these schemes. He knows that they train many for work and make people more acceptable to employers. He has seen that these schemes are able to restore the morale of the unemployed themselves and make them more capable of doing a hard day's work. Because he sees value in these schemes, he puts forward very half-baked arguments in favour of the cuts.

I do not believe the right hon. Gentleman can face the truth of the Government's position, which seeks to take away employment and training from the young in order to provide additional luxury for very much richer people. How can the right hon. Gentleman justify reducing the planned provision of community industry from 7,000 to 6,000 places in order to save £1 million? The Government should provide at least 7,000 places, and probably many more, to satisfy the needs expressed by local authorities in towns throughout the country for jobs for those who will always find it difficult to obtain work.

The cut in the special temporary employment programme of £42·2 million is savage. To slash the programme from 30,000 to 35,000 places to a target of 12,000 to 14,000 places and to confine it to certain special areas is to inflict great harm on many of our young unemployed—those in the 19 to 25 age group. Given the size of the problem, the Labour Government's provision was inadequate. We knew that. We had to wait to expand, however, until the Manpower Services Commission had successfully launched the youth opportunities programme for the 16- to 18-year-olds, because the MSC told us that it could not tackle both at once.

The scheme should now be expanded rather than cut, and should remain nationwide. What justification is there for taking it way from many towns and localities with high rates of youth unemployment—some very high—just because they are not in special development areas, development areas and designated inner city areas?

I suppose that the cut of £22·3 million in TOPS was, however regrettable, predictable—as was the introduction of charges for some direct training services to firms in assisted areas. The reduction of £9·8 million in funding to the industrial training boards certainly was not. How can we afford to undermine the training effort at present? Perhaps the Minister will tell the House what training grants have been affected and say how this will improve our competitive position.

In cutting over £25 million from the youth opportunities programme the Government may be making it impossible for the MSC and the careers service, which is in the front line, to meet their objective—that is, to provide an opportunity for each youngster who leaves school and indeed for every youngster, including those who have left school in earlier years who have been unemployed for a year or more.

On Tuesday the British Youth Council warned that the cut will lead to a reduction in the number in the programme at the peak and to a marked fall-off in quality. Perhaps the Minister will comment on the observations of that council. I personally warn the Government that the objectives of the youth opportunities programme will not be met by shifting provision to the cheapest possible opportunities. They can be met only when the right—not the cheapest—balance of opportunities is available. From all I have learned so far, it will be the rough and tumble youngsters throughout the country who will suffer the most. I refer to those youngsters whom employers and sponsors want the least, and the youngsters for whom we shall have to make provision, directly through the agency of the MSC, together with the careers service.

I do not think the right hon. Gentleman knows what he has done with the youth opportunities programme. I think he will find out in December, January and February of next year when youngsters are suffering very greatly and when he sees a crisis of morale in the careers service and the MSC. At that point he will see the damage he is inflicting on the programme.

I hope that the Government will have serious second thoughts about the cuts which they have imposed—not on the MSC, but on the unemployed and particularly our young unemployed. I hope that they will restore those cuts before they do too much damage.

6.45 p.m.

Photo of Mr James Lester Mr James Lester , Beeston

It is a pleasure to think that in this important debate we have had three maiden speeches, and one returned. I welcome the remarks of the hon. Member for South Shields (Mr. Clark) on behalf of his constituency. I must tell him, in the kindest possible way, that in May 1974 the unemployment rate in his constituency was 2,988 and in May 1979 it was 4,966, an increase of 60 per cent. That is why the present Government won the election and are now seeking to find other ways of curing that problem. The measures we are operating, including the youth opportunities programme, are being expanded in such areas as the hon. Gentleman's but broadly in proportion to the numbers of unemployed young people in that region. I hope to visit the region in the near future to examine some of the work that is being carried out.

We very much appreciated the excellent speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, South-West (Mr. Butcher). As a Member who also has a university interest, I appreciate his remarks about the ginger group, and particularly about football teams. This is a success that Nottingham shares with Merseyside, because when Merseyside is not winning one of the prizes, we are winning one of the other three. I appreciate his concern about unemployment problems and I thought he made an excellent contribution to the debate.

We then had a maiden speech by my hon. Friend the Member for Sevenoaks (Mr. Wolfson), a member of the Industrial Society. He is welcome to the small bank of Members of Parliament with industrial experience and I am sure that his remarks in this debate will make a useful impact on future debates, especially in the area of training relative to jobs.

The last maiden speech in this debate is of course my own contribution from the Government Front Bench. I wish first to confirm our general attitude to manpower programmes and the special employment measures. I wish to introduce some balance into the debate, especially following the choice of words of the hon. Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Mr. Golding). It was a Conservative Government who set up the Manpower Services Commission, and we continue to attach importance to the involvement of the TUC and the CBI, through the Commission, in the operation of manpower programmes and to the employment and training programmes operated by the Commission, especially in relation to our key objectives in reversing industrial decline. We therefore have no intention of abolishing the Commission or of radically cutting back the programe which it operates.

On the other hand, there was an exceptionally rapid expansion of the Commission's training and employment programmes under the previous Government, running alongside the new demands on the new Commission to operate large special employment programmes for the young and long-term unemployed. This called for an equally rapid expansion in the public expenditure required for the Commission's programmes. Following this, it seemed to us that a period of consolidation is required, as my hon. Friend the Member for Saffron Walden (Mr. Haselhurst) suggested. This is to ensure that the manpower programmes are developed in the most cost-effective ways and also in relation to our objective of reversing our industrial decline and creating the conditions for faster growth, which we all agree is the only way in which to achieve a lasting solution to the problems of unemployment. This point was not dealt with in any detailed way by Opposition Members.

We agree that, for example, we need to ensure that industrial training programmes are focused on the key skills that will be required in the future, and that programmes for young people are designed to ease the transition from school to work and to assist unemployed young people as quickly as possible into permanent jobs. That is a point upon which we place great importance. I welcomed particularly the speech by my hon. Friend the Member for Saffron Walden. He has great knowledge about the matter.

Therefore, the public expenditure cuts that have been made in the Manpower Services Commission do not radically change the Commission's programmes but represent some pruning and reshaping of earlier plans. For example, the modernisation of the employment services will proceed next year with the opening of a further 100 jobcentres—hardly a cutback. The training opportunities scheme will continue with broadly the same level of activity as in 1978 and 1979, with the places for the training of technicians, the main computer-related occupations and the main craft occupations in skillcentres remaining largely unaffected. There will be no reduction in disabled people's training.

We have adopted a similar approach to the special employment measures as to the MSC's employment and training programmes—that is, not to abolish, but to prune, some of the plans for the programmes. The full range of special measures will continue to operate this year, but some of them will be more sharply focused on areas of high unemployment in particular need of the assistance that the measures provide. The changes that we have made to some of the measures does not mean that unemployment will increase as the cuts relate to planned expansions. Therefore, over the year we expect the impact of the special measures programme to increase—after a year under the previous Government when the impact fell.

Photo of Mr George Park Mr George Park , Coventry North East

I appreciate that, in the short time that the Minister has at his disposal, he cannot be expected to answer specific questions in detail. However, I should like to ask him if he would be good enough to let me know—possibly by mail—the overall implications for Coventry.

Photo of Mr James Lester Mr James Lester , Beeston

I give that undertaking. I shall be delighted to write to the hon. Gentleman.

Labour Members should welcome the concentration on areas which they represent. Surely, it is right to review the results with the object of greater success in Merseyside, the North-East of England and the West Coast of Scotland. So far, solutions in those areas have eluded both Labour and Conservative Governments. The areas still face major changes in their industrial base and the technological changes yet to come. The Government wish to recreate the dynamism in those areas which originally made them what they are.

The hon. Member for Liverpool, Edge Hill (Mr. Alton) represents an area which I have visited and hope to visit again shortly. The hon. Gentleman got his figures wrong—he doubled the expenditure of the youth opportunities programme. It was rather strange for him to criticise the cuts in a body which I understood him to want to abolish. We intend to keep intact the job release scheme, as the hon. Member for New-castle-under-Lyme mentioned. We see that as creating permanent jobs for the future.

Photo of Mr John Golding Mr John Golding , Newcastle-under-Lyme

Will the Minister state what jobs are created?

Photo of Mr James Lester Mr James Lester , Beeston

If the hon. Gentleman had waited, I would have provided him with an answer to that question. If a person retires, his job will be a new one for someone coming off the unemployment list. That will create a permanent job. None of the other measures which we have been discussing will do that.

We share the concern expressed by all hon. Members about unemployment. We are all aware of the effect that it has upon individuals, families and whole areas of the country. We are also concerned about the grim outlook which we inherited from the previous Government. We might be more inclined to accept the advice of right hon. and hon. Members opposite if their policies had shown any signs of reversing our industrial decline. But we know that during the last five years, over which they presided, the decline continued and accelerated with unemployment doubling to the current level. For far too long the United Kingdom economy had been in decline in relation to other countries. If that had continued, the unemployment prospect in the years ahead would have remained gloomy indeed.

There is only one way to tackle the unemployment problem and that is to create the conditions for faster growth and improved industrial performance. That is the way to create more permanent jobs and lower levels of unemployment. Pumping more and more expenditure into manpower programmes is no substitute for the underlying improvement that we must achieve in our economic performance. That is why we need the new strategy that we have embarked on, to check and reverse our industrial decline. That is why we are determined to strengthen incentives, to enlarge freedom of choice for the individual and to reduce the role of the State, to reduce the burden of financing the public sector and to ensure, so far as possible, that those who take part in collective bargaining understand the consequences of their action.

It is in this context that we decided to find some savings in the rapidly expanding Manpower Services Commission programmes and the special employment measures, but it does not mean that we do not attach importance to those programmes. We accept that the programmes can play an important part in ensuring that workers are equipped with the skills that they and the economy will need in the years ahead and in ensuring that workers are assisted in finding suitable employment. We accept that at a time of high unemployment the special employment programmes operated by the MSC and by the Department of Employment have an important role to play in providing jobs or training opportunities for those who would otherwise be unemployed—such as unemployed young people and the long-term unemployed—and in areas of particularly high unemployment where the need is greatest.

We also see that these programmes make it easier for workers to accept technological change on which future employment prospects depend. No one can underestimate the impact of technological

change. The micro-chip has been mentioned in the debate—indeed, it is an "in" thing for hon. Members to mention micro-chips in almost all their speeches. It is as if it were "micro-chips with everything". Few of us have the opportunity to understand the impact of technological change. So many hon. Members are tied up with affairs at the House and constituency duties. Our contact with micro-chips is from reading reports and attending select conferences. Few people have yet come to terms with technological change.

In that context it is inevitable that we should have flexible policies and that we should be prepared to re-examine the sort of schemes that have been created in the special sense that the last Government created them. In the futuure we shall have to be open-minded and flexible because it is hard to assess either the impact of technological change or the changes in the world which vary day by day.

The real acid test in this country is that manpower measures in themselves, as the previous Government found, cannot provide a real or lasting solution to the underlying unemployment problem. A new approach is needed to reverse our industrial decline, which has proceeded unchecked for far too many years.

The tax changes in the Budget—a Budget produced rapidly—represent the first step in the new approach which the Government are determined to pursue. A new climate must be created in which industry and commerce can flourish. That is the way to increase our living standards and provide the extra jobs that we all seek to reduce unemployment.

Question put:—

The House divided: Ayes 244, Noes 304.

Division No. 16]AYES[7.00 p.m.
Abse, LeoBoothroyd, Miss BettyCartwright, John
Adams, AllenBottomley, Rt. Hon. Arthur (M'brough)Clark, David (South Shields)
Allaun, FrankBradley, TomCocks, Rt. Hon. Michael (Bristol S)
Alton, DavidBray, Dr. JeremyCohen, Stanley
Anderson, DonaldBrown, Hugh D. (Provan)Coleman, Donald
Archer, Rt. Hon. PeterBrown, Robert C. (Newcastle W)Concannon, Rt. Hon. J. D.
Armstrong, ErnestBrown, Ronald W. (Hackney S)Conlan, Bernard
Ashley, JackBrown, Ron (Edinburgh, Leith)Cowans, Harry
Ashton, JoeBuchan, NormanCox, Tom (Wandsworth, Tooting)
Atkinson, Norman (H'gey, Tott'ham)Callaghan, Rt. Hon. J. (Cardiff SE)Crowther, J. S.
Barnett, Guy (Greenwich)Callaghan, Jim (Middleton & P)Cryer, Bob
Barnett, Rt. Hon. Joel (Heywood)Campbell, IanCunliffe, Lawrence
Benn, Rt. Hon. Anthony WedgwoodCampbell-Savours, DaleCunningham, George (Islington S)
Bennett, Andrew (Stockport N)Canavan, DennisCunningham, Dr. John (Whitehaven)
Bidwell, SydneyCarmichael, NeilDavidson, Arthur
Booth, Rt. Hon. AlbertCarter-Jones, LewisDavies, Rt. Hon. Denzil (Llanelli)
Davies, E. Hudson (Caerphilly)Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen North)Race, Reg
Davies, Ifor (Gower)Janner, Hon. GrevilleRadice, Giles
Davis, Clinton (Hackney Central)Jay, Rt. Hon. DouglasRees, Rt. Hon. Merlyn (Leeds South)
Davis, Terry (B'rm'ham, Stechford)John, BrynmorRichardson, Miss Jo
Deakins, EricJohnson, James (Hull West)Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Dean, Joseph (Leeds West)Johnson, Walter (Derby South)Roberts, Allan (Bootle)
Dempsey, JamesJohnston, Russell (Inverness)Roberts, Ernest (Hackney North)
Dewar, DonaldJones, Alec (Rhondda)Roberts, Gwilym (Cannock)
Dixon, DonaldJones, Barry (East Flint)Robertson, George
Dobson, FrankKaufman, Rt. Hon. GeraldRobinson, Geoffrey (Coventry N. W.)
Dormand, J. D.Kerr, RussellRodgers, Rt. Hon. William
Douglas, DickKilroy-Silk, RobertRooker, J. W.
Douglas-Mann, BruceLambie, DavidRoss, Ernest (Dundee West)
Dubs, AlfredLamborn, HarryRoss, Stephen (Isle of Wight)
Duffy, A. E. P.Lamond, JamesRowlands, Ted
Dunn, James A. (Liverpool, Kirkdale)Leadbitter, TedSandelson, Neville
Dunnett, JackLeighton, RonaldSever, John
Dunwoody, Mrs. GwynethLestor, Miss Joan (Eton & Slough)Shore, Rt. Hon. Peter (Step and Pop)
Eadie, AlexLewis, Ron (Carlisle)Short, Mrs. Renée
Eastham, KenLofthouse, GeoffreySilkin, Rt. Hon. John (Deptford)
Edwards, Robert (Wolv S. E.)Lyon, Alexander (York)Silkin, Rt. Hon. S. C. (Dulwich)
Ellis, Raymond (N. E. Derbyshire)Mabon, Rt. Hon. Dr. J. DicksonSilverman, Julius
Ellis, Tom (Wrexham)McDonald, Dr. OonaghSkinner, Dennis
English, MichaelMcElhone, FrankSmith, Rt. Hon. J. (North Lanarkshire)
Ennals, Rt. Hon. DavidMcKay, Allen (Penistone)Snape, Peter
Evans, Ioan (Aberdare)McKelvey, WilliamSoley, Clive
Evans, John (Newton)MacKenzie, Rt. Hon. GregorSpearing, Nigel
Field, FrankMaclennan, RobertSpriggs, Leslie
Fitch, AlanMcMillan, Tom (Glasgow, Central)Stallard, A. W.
Fitt, GerardMcNally, ThomasStewart, Rt. Hon. Donald (W Isles)
Flannery, MartinMcWilliam, JohnStoddart, David
Fletcher, L. R. (Ilkeston)Magee, BryanStott, Roger
Marks, KennethStrang, Gavin
Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)Marshall, David (Gl'sgow, Shettles'n)Straw, Jack
Foot, Rt. Hon. MichaelMarshall, Dr. Edmund (Goole)Summerskill, Hon. Dr. Shirley
Ford, BenMarshall, Jim (Leicester South)Taylor, Mrs. Ann (Bolton West)
Forrester, JohnMartin, Michael (Gl'gow, Springb'rn)Thomas, Mike (Newcastle East)
Foster, DerekMason, Rt. Hon. RoyThomas, Dr. Roger (Carmarthen)
Foulkes, GeorgeMaxton, JohnThorne, Stan (Preston South)
Fraser, John (Lambeth, Norwood)Maynard, Miss JoanTilley, John
Freeson, Rt. Hon. ReginaldMeacher, MichaelTorney, Tom
Freud, ClementMellish, Rt. Hon. RobertVarley, Rt. Hon. Eric G.
Garrett, John (Norwich S)Mikardo, IanWainwright, Edwin (Dearne Valley)
Garrett, W. E. (Wallsend)Millan, Rt. Hon. BruceWalker, Harold (Doncaster)
George, BruceMitchell, Austin (Grimsby)Watkins, David
Gilbert, Rt. Hon. Dr. JohnMitchell, R. C. (Soton, Itchen)Weetch, Ken
Ginsburg, DavidMorris, Rt. Hon. Alfred (Wythenshawe)Wellbeloved, James
Golding, JohnMorris, Rt. Hon. Charles (Openshaw)Welsh, Michael
Gourlay, HarryMorris, Rt. Hon. John (Aberavon)White, Frank R. (Bury & Radcliffe)
Graham, TedMorton, GeorgeWhite, James (Glasgow, Pollok)
Grant, George (Morpeth)Moyle, Rt. Hon. RolandWhitlock, William
Grant, John (Islington C)Mulley, Rt. Hon. FrederickWilley, Rt. Hon. Frederick
Hamilton, James (Bothwell)Newens, StanleyWilliams, Rt. Hon. Alan (Swansea W)
Hamilton, W. W. (Central Fife)Oakes, GordonWilliams, Sir Thomas (Warrington)
Harrison, Rt. Hon. WalterOgden, EricWilson, Gordon (Dundee East)
Hattersley, Rt. Hon. RoyO'Halloran, MichaelWilson, Rt. Hon. Sir Harold (Huyton)
Haynes, DavidO'Neill, MartinWilson, William (Coventry S. E.)
Healey, Rt. Hon. DenisOrme, Rt. Hon. StanleyWinnick, David
Heffer, Eric S.Owen, Rt. Hon. Dr. DavidWoodall, Alec
Hogg, Norman (E Dunbartonshire)Palmer, ArthurWoolmer, Kenneth
Holland, Stuart (L'beth, Vauxhall)Park, GeorgeWrigglesworth, Ian
Homewood, WilliamParker, JohnWright, Miss Sheila
Hooley, FrankParry, RobertYoung, David (Bolton East)
Horam, JohnPendry, Tom
Howell, Rt. Hon. Denis (B'ham, Sm H)Powell, Raymond (Ogmore)TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Huckfield, LesPrescott, JohnMr. Hugh McCartney and
Hughes, Mark (Durham)Price, Christopher (Lewisham West)Mr. James Tinn.
NOES
Adley, RobertBerry, Hon. AnthonyBrittan, Leon
Aitken, JonathanBest, KeithBrocklebank-Fowler, Christopher
Alexander, RichardBevan, David GilroyBrooke, Hon. Peter
Alison, MichaelBiffen, Rt. Hon. JohnBrotherton, Michael
Amery, Rt. Hon. JulianBlackburn, JohnBrown, Michael (Brigg & Sc'thorpe)
Ancram, MichaelBlaker, PeterBrowne, John (Winchester)
Arnold, TomBody, RichardBruce-Gardyne, John
Aspinwall, JackBonsor, Sir NicholasBryan, Sir Paul
Atkins, Robert (Preston North)Boscawen, Hon. RobertBudgen, Nick
Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone)Bottomley, Peter (Woolwich West)Bulmer, Esmond
Baker, Nicholas (North Dorset)Bowden, AndrewBurden, F. A.
Bell, RonaldBoyson, Dr. RhodesButcher, John
Bendall, VivianBraine, Sir BernardButler, Hon. Adam
Benyon, Thomas (Abingdon)Bright, GrahamCadbury, Jocelyn
Benyon, W. (Buckingham)Brinton, TimothyCarlisle, John (Luton West)
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)Hogg, Hon. Douglas (Grantham)Osborn, John
Carlisle, Rt. Hon. Mark (Runcorn)Holland, Philip (Carlton)Page, Rt. Hon. R. Graham (Crosby)
Chalker, Mrs. LyndaHooson, TomParkinson, Cecil
Channon, PaulHordern, PeterParris, Matthew
Chapman, SydneyHowe, Rt. Hon. Sir GeoffreyPatten, Christopher (Bath)
Churchill, W. S.Howell, Rt. Hon. David (Guildford)Patten, John (Oxford)
Clark, Hon. Alan (Plymouth, Sutton)Howell, Ralph (North Norfolk)Pattie, Geoffrey
Clark, William (Croydon South)Hunt, David (Wirral)Pawsey, James
Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe)Hunt, John (Ravensbourne)Peyton, Rt. Hon. John
Clegg, WalterHurd, Hon. DouglasPink, R. Bonner
Cockeram, EricIrving, Charles (Cheltenham)Pollock, Alexander
Colvin, MichaelJenkin, Rt. Hon. PatrickPorter, George
Cope, JohnJohnson Smith, GeoffreyPrentice, Rt. Hon. Reg
Cormack, PatrickJopling, Rt. Hon. MichaelPrice, David (Eastleigh)
Corrie, JohnJoseph, Rt. Hon. Sir KeithPrior, Rt. Hon. James
Costain, A. P.Kaberry, Sir DonaldProctor, K. Harvey
Cranborne, ViscountKellett-Bowman, Mrs. ElaineRaison, Timothy
Crouch, DavidKimball, MarcusRathbone, Tim
Dean, Paul (North Somerset)King, Rt. Hon. TomRees, Peter (Dover and Deal)
Dickens, GeoffreyKitson, Sir TimothyRees-Davies, W. R.
Dodsworth, GeoffreyKnight, Mrs. JillRenton, Tim
Dorrell, StephenKnox, DavidRhodes James, Robert
Dover, DenshoreLamont, NormanRhys Williams, Sir Brandon
du Cann, Rt. Hon. EdwardLang, IanRidley, Hon. Nicholas
Dunn, Robert (Dartford)Latham, MichaelRidsdale, Julian
Durant, TonyLawrence, IvanRifkind, Malcolm
Dykes, HughLawson, NigelRippon, Rt. Hon. Geoffrey
Eden, Rt. Hon. Sir JohnLee, JohnRoberts, Michael (Cardiff NW)
Edwards, Rt. Hon. N. (Pembroke)Le Marchant, SpencerRoberts, Wyn (Conway)
Eggar, TimothyLennox-Boyd, Hon. MarkRossi, Hugh
Elliott, Sir WilliamLester, Jim (Beeston)Rost, Peter
Emery, PeterLewis, Kenneth (Rutland)Royle, Sir Anthony
Eyre, ReginaldLloyd, Ian (Havant & Waterloo)Sainsbury, Hon. Timothy
Fairbairn, NicholasLloyd, Peter (Fareham)St. John-Stevas, Rt. Hon. Norman
Faith, Mrs. SheilaLoveridge, JohnScott, Nicholas
Farr, JohnLyell, NicholasShaw, Giles (Pudsey)
Fell, AnthonyMcAdden, Sir StephenShaw, Michael (Scarborough)
Fenner, Mrs. PeggyMcCrindle, RobertShelton, William (Streatham)
Finsberg, GeoffreyMacfarlane, NeilShepherd, Colin (Hereford)
Fisher, Sir NigelMacGregor, JohnShepherd, Richard (Aldridge-Br'hills)
Fletcher, Alexander (Edinburgh N)Mackay, John (Argyll)Shersby, Michael
Fletcher-Cooke, CharlesMacmillan, Rt. Hon. M. (Farnham)Silvester, Fred
Fookes, Miss JanetMcNair-Wilson, Michael (Newbury)Sims, Roger
Forman, NigelMcNair-Wilson, Patrick (New Forest)Skeet, T. H. H.
Fowler, Rt. Hon. NormanMcQuarrie, AlbertSmith, Dudley (War. and Leam'ton)
Fox, MarcusMadel, DavidSpeed, Keith
Fraser, Rt. Hon. H. (Stafford & St)Major, JohnSpeller, Tony
Marland, PaulSpence, John
Fraser, Peter (South Angus)Marlow, AntonySpicer, Jim (West Dorset)
Fry, PeterMarshall, Michael (Arundel)Spicer, Michael (S Worcestershire)
Galbraith, Hon. T. G. D.Marten, Neil (Banbury)Sproat, Iain
Gardiner, George (Reigate)Mates, MichaelSquire, Robin
Gardner, Edward (South Fylde)Mather, CarolStanbrook, Ivor
Garel-Jones, TristanMaude, Rt. Hon. AngusStanley, John
Gilmour, Rt. Hon. Sir IanMawby, RaySteen, Anthony
Glyn, Dr. AlanMawhinney, Dr. BrianStevens, Martin
Goodhew, VictorMaxwell-Hyslop, RobinStewart, Ian (Hitchin)
Goodlad, AlastairMayhew, PatrickStewart, John (East Renfrewshire)
Gorst, JohnMellor, DavidStokes, John
Gow, IanMeyer, Sir AnthonyStradling Thomas, J.
Gower, Sir RaymondMiller, Hal (Bromsgrove & Redditch)Tapsell, Peter
Gray, HamishMills, Iain (Meriden)Taylor, Robert (Croydon NW)
Greenway, HarryMills, Peter (West Devon)Tebbit, Norman
Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St Edmunds)Miscampbell, NormanTemple-Morris, Peter
Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N)Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)Thomas, Rt. Hon. Peter (Hendon S)
Grist, IanMonro, HectorThompson, Donald
Gummer, John SelwynMontgomery, FergusThorne, Neil (Ilford South)
Hamilton, Hon. Archie (Eps'm & Ew'll)Moore, JohnThornton, George
Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)Morgan, GeraintTownend, John (Bridlington)
Hampson, Dr. KeithMorris, Michael (Northampton, Sth)Townsend, Cyril D. (Bexleyheath)
Hannam, JohnMorrison, Hon. Charles (Devizes)Trippler, David
Haselhurst, AlanMorrison, Hon. Peter (City of Chester)Trotter, Neville
Hastings, StephenMurphy, Christophervan Straubenzee, W. R.
Hawksley, WarrenMyles, DavidVaughan, Dr. Gerard
Hayhoe, BarneyNeale, GerrardViggers, Peter
Heath, Rt. Hon. EdwardNeedham, RichardWaddington, David
Heddle, JohnNelson, AnthonyWaldegrave, Hon. William
Henderson, BarryNeubert, MichaelWalker-Smith, Rt. Hon. Sir Derek
Heseltine, Rt. Hon. MichaelNormanton, TomWall, Patrick
Hicks, RobertNott, Rt. Hon. JohnWaller, Gary
Higgins, Terence L.Onslow, CranleyWalters, Dennis
Hill, JamesOppenheim, Rt. Hon. Mrs. SallyWard, John
Watson, JohnWickenden, KeithYoung, Sir George (Acton)
Wells, John (Maidstone)Wiggin, JerryYounger, Rt. Hon. George
Wells, P. Bowen (Hert'rd & Stev'nage)Wilkinson, John
Wheeler, JohnWilliams, Delwyn (Montgomery)TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Whitelaw, Rt. Hon. WilliamWinterton, NicholasMr. Tony Newton and
Whitney, RaymondWolfson, MarkMr. John Wakeham.

Question accordingly negatived.