For 1981–82 the number of available places on the community industry scheme is being increased by 1,000, bringing the national complement to a total of 7,000 places. Yesterday, my right hon. Friend announced further measures to help the unemployed, and I would expect community industry to continue to play its part in helping young people.
Does the Minister agree that the scheme has three merits: first, that its cost is equal to or less than the better known youth opportunities programme; secondly, that it caters for young people most in need; and, thirdly, that the work is connected especially with community projects? In view of that, and if he agrees, will the Minister undertake that any proper applications for an extension of the scheme will be granted as part of the Government's recent proposals?
The Government agree that this scheme fulfils a most important function. The extent to which it can be extended will be considered when all the various special measures to reduce unemployment are considered.