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Young People

Orders of the Day — Wages Bill – in the House of Commons at 4:37 pm on 15th May 1986.

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'Employers of workers under the age of 21 who undertake the same work as adults who are protected by Wages Councils Orders made under Part II of the Act shall pay such workers at least 70 per cent. of the minimum rate laid down in the Order and shall charge no more for accommodation than is allowable for adult workers.'.—[Ms. Clare Short.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

Photo of Clare Short Clare Short , Birmingham, Ladywood 4:42 pm, 15th May 1986

I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

Photo of Mr Harold Walker Mr Harold Walker , Doncaster Central

With this it will be convenient to take the following: New clause2—Disabled workers'The provisions of Part II of this Act shall not apply to registered disabled workers.'. Amendment No. 54, in clause 12, page 12, line 4, at beginning insert— 'With the exception of the special protection provided for registered disabled workers.'. Amendment No. 58, in clause 12, page 12, line 23, leave out subsection (3).

Amendment No. 81, in clause 13, page 12, line 35, at end insert— '(aa) the welfare of mentally or physically disabled workers in relation to whom the Wages Council concerned would cease to operate'.

Photo of Clare Short Clare Short , Birmingham, Ladywood

Today we move on to part II of the Wages Bill. Yesterday we made it clear that part I would lead to many workers, innocent of any offence, facing fines and deductions from their pay and having no adequate remedy to deal with that. It will also force many workers who are currently paid in cash and wish to continue to be paid in that way to move, without negotiation or consultation, to cashless pay. All of that is bad enough. We now move to part II of the Bill, which is much worse.

It is designed to cut the wages of some of Britain's poorest workers. There are about 3 million of them, and all of them will suffer. They are the workers protected by wages councils—special machinery established long ago and supported by all political parties to ensure that some of the poorest workers do not see ever-worsening rates of pay as worse and worse employers move into industry and undermine the pay that decent employers wish to give.

The Government are determined to change the little protection that those workers have. They say that it is necessary to cut the pay of the poorest workers in order to create more jobs. That is not true. If we all took a cut in pay there would be more unemployment and further deflation of the economy. Of course, part of the current problem is that the economy is too deflated already. It is obvious, on all international comparisons, that Britain's wages are very low.

The Government argue that we would compete better internationally if our wages dropped even further, so their argument is that we must compete with some of the poorest countries in the world paying incredibly low rates. That points us towards a real sweat-shop economy instead of towards the virtuous cycle that we should adopt of high investment, high skill training and high wages.

If the Government believe that thesis—we do not accept that wage cuts will create more jobs—why do they not ask those who can afford it best to accept wage cuts? Since the Government came to power the 20 per cent. of best paid workers have increased their incomes considerably. They have experienced considerable tax cuts which, accompanied by an increase in earnings have, led to an enormous increase in their standard of living. The lowest paid 20 per cent. of workers have, since 1979, seen a net drop in their standard of living. The increase in their pay has been less than the rate of inflation, and they are poorer now than they were in 1979.

The Government tell us that the rich need more incentives in order to work harder and in order that our economy should be more efficient. They have the cheek to tell us that the poorest workers should be paid less in order to help to deal with the problem of unemployment. That is outrageous. It is pure dogma and there is no evidence for their case. It is an attack on the poorest workers.

New clause 1 deals with the attack on the young. Five hundred thousand of the 3 million poorest workers are young workers, one in five of all young workers in Britain. The Government propose that in future there will be no protection for young workers. One would think that the opposite would be the case. One would think that in any decent country there would be care and concern to ensure that the young, who lack experience and might be more easily exploited, are protected when they first go to work so that they can start their adult working life within decent structures and with decent working conditions.

The International Labour Organisation was deeply shocked by Britain's move. We had to resile from the treaty so that the Government could introduce this legislation. The ILO told us: Almost all countries in the world now operate a minimum wage system and none to our knowledge excludes young workers. Therefore, all the developed countries of the world and many Third-world countries manage to have a minimum wage system to protect their young workers. Henceforth, Britain does not intend to do so.

A myth has been put about simply by the constant repetition of the falsehood that high youth unemployment in Britain is due to high youth wages. That does not stand up to scrutiny. The movement of youth wages over a long period of time does not show that there is any connection between movement in youth wages and movement in youth unemployment. In fact, since 1979 youth unemployment has doubled and youth wages have dropped considerably. Of course, the Government are not content with that and wish to see even further drops in the pay of our young people.

What are the princely sums that the Government consider too high? The sums allocated to young workers under existing wage orders are £40 to £50 per week. I do not know whether Conservative Members understand that after tax and national insurance and after bus fares and meals have been paid for, the young people are left with very little more than they would receive on supplementary benefit. They are working for very little simply because they wish to work.

In Committee we witnessed crocodile tears about the Tory party's concern for the young unemployed. Conservative Members told us how deeply worried they were and how the only answer for our young people was that their wages should be cut so that more of them might get jobs. It is true that our young people are desperate. It is true, for example, that the suicide rate for young people is rising faster than for any other age group. It was proved, I believe, by research studies at Leicester university a couple of years ago that there is a link between youth unemployment and the suicide rate among our young people. There is no doubt that they are desperate and that they are suffering. The Government intend to exploit that desperation to lever their wages down even further.

Photo of John Maples John Maples , Lewisham West

In Committee, the hon. Lady consistently misrepresented that argument. Surely the purpose is not to push down young people's wages; it is to attempt to create more jobs for young people by not setting artificially high minimum wage levels. It is entirely different.

Photo of Clare Short Clare Short , Birmingham, Ladywood

The argument is exactly the same. The words that are used are different. The hon. Gentleman says that if youth wages go down, there will be more jobs. That means that young people who are in work now on low wages will get lower wages. There is no evidence that there will be more jobs for young people. Inevitably, the poor low-paid young worker will be even poorer and even lower paid. At the moment wages councils set rates for them. The Government say that those rates are too high and want lower rates to be set. That is the purpose of the part of the Bill that we are contesting in the new clause.

The Government have been at this for a long time. They have tried all sorts of measures to lever down youth wages. The first was the deliberate adoption of policies to increase unemployment and make workers, including young people, settle for lower wages. The most blatant was the young workers scheme, which gave a massive subsidy to encourage employers to cut youth wages—£15 a week if they paid less than £40, under the scheme's initial form. We learned from that that a high proportion of the jobs that were subsidised would have existed anyway. So the whole expensive scheme was not generating new jobs.

Of the jobs that were generated—about 10 or 20 per cent. at most of the jobs that were subsidised—the vast majority were previously adult jobs. An adult was thrown out of work so that a young subsidised worker could be taken on. In so far as the Government's proposal creates a marginal increase in jobs for young people, it is at the expense of adult workers. The mothers will be thrown out. There is an overwhelming number of women workers in low-paid employment. They will be thrown out of work so that young people can be taken on at disgracefully low rates of pay. They in turn will be thrown out when they reach 21 so that some other desperate young person can be taken on for an unacceptably low rate of pay.

New clause 2 refers to disabled people. There are many disabled young workers. Under the Wages Councils Act 1979 scheme, disabled workers had to be paid the legally required rates unless there was an application for an exemption, arguing that there was some reason why a disabled worker could not work as efficiently as another. All wages councils were careful to ensure that disabled workers were not exploited. Only about 80 licences per year were granted to enable employers to pay less than the legal minimum rate. In sweeping away the protection for all workers under 21, the Government are sweeping away protection for disabled young workers and saying that it is a free market and that employers can exploit young disabled people as much as they like and pay them whatever they like. It is a free rein for the market. It is outrageous and sickening.

The Government pretend that they are making the change because they care for the young and want to help them to work. It is not true. If it were, there would be a change in economic policy. Without that, we shall not acccept any argument from the Tory Benches that pretends for one minute that they have any concern for the unemployed. The truth is that, all over the developed world, when unemployment rises, youth unemployment rises more rapidly because young workers are marginal and lack skills and experience. When employers are not recruiting, it is the young whom they will not recruit first. The way in which to reduce youth unemployment is to lower the general level of unemployment. In every developed country, when unemployment falls, youth unemployment falls rapidly. The only way in which young workers will get back into jobs is through a change of economic policy which generates jobs for all young people.

Photo of Mr Geoffrey Lawler Mr Geoffrey Lawler , Bradford North

I thought that by now the hon. Lady would have accepted the economic realities of life. If what she says were so, why, in Germany, where there are more realistic wage levels for young people, is youth unemployment about the same proportion as general unemployment, whereas in this country it is about twice as high?

Photo of Clare Short Clare Short , Birmingham, Ladywood

I am afraid that the hon. Gentleman is not well informed about Germany. Rising unemployment hit Germany later than it hit this country. The application of monetarism came to it later. When unemployment rose, youth unemployment rose too. The pattern is the same throughout the EEC: a study of some years ago documents it.

Photo of Mr Dave Nellist Mr Dave Nellist , Coventry South East

May I add to my hon. Friend's explanation? The Tories put forward the fallacy that young people's wages as a proportion of adult rates are less in Germany than in this country. That fallacy is clouded by the fact that the hourly manufacturing earnings of workers in Germany are at least 40 per cent. higher than in this country. The reason why unemployment rose at a slower pace in Germany is that in the late 1970s and early 1980s the Government expelled over 1 million gastarbeiter back to countries such as Spain and Turkey. Is that the Tories' solution—to expel 1 million of the immigrant workers in this country to reduce unemployment?

Photo of Clare Short Clare Short , Birmingham, Ladywood

I am sure that hon. Members are listening to my hon. Friend's points.

The Government's policy is immoral. It is immoral to attack the poorest and to seek to generate greater inequality. The Government have achieved a massive increase in inequality since 1979. The Bill is intended to take it further and make poor workers even poorer. II is based on an economic fiction. The Labour party is absolutely opposed to everything that the Government are seeking to do in part II. We are committed to reversing it. The way things are going, we expect to do it quite soon. We in the Labour party will introduce a national minimum wage with appropriate rates for young people.

The Tory party should be deeply ashamed of itself in seeking to attack the living standards of the poor, the young, young black workers, women workers and disabled workers. That is what they are doing in part II. New clause 1 is an attempt to reverse some of that damage.

Photo of Kenneth Clarke Kenneth Clarke Paymaster General (HM Treasury), Secretary of State for Employment

We intend to have a reasonably short debate, but this is an important issue which goes to the root of the Bill. My hon. Friend the Under-Secretary will reply to the debate and concentrate on the new clause and amendments concerned with disabled workers.

The hon. Member for Birmingham, Ladywood (Ms. Short) has just made her case on behalf of the Labour party, but, as my hon. Friend the Member for Lewisham, West (Mr. Maples) said, she puts the case for and against the Bill in a curious way. The Government have made it clear throughout that our objective in introducing the Bill is to increase employment opportunities, particularly for young people. Although the hon. Lady speaks with considerable passion, I cannot believe that she really thinks that we are motivated by a curious desire to drive down wages for its own sake or to extend the rate of poverty. The language that she uses always implies that.

More worrying than the eccentricity of approach that that betrays is the fact that the hon. Lady seems to be going back to a position where she almost completely denies any link between rates of pay and employment prospects. She brushes aside remarks about comparative rates of pay for young people and employment—

Photo of Kenneth Clarke Kenneth Clarke Paymaster General (HM Treasury), Secretary of State for Employment

I see the hon. Member for Coventry, South-East (Mr. Nellist) nodding vigorous assent. I shall come back to that matter in a moment. I wonder where the new realism of the Labour party has gone. We are back into a new higher wage campaign regardless of the impact on employment in general, and particularly that of young people.

New clause 1 goes in totally the opposite direction to our proposal to enable young and inexperienced workers to take a wage that is more likely to induce the employer to offer them their first step into the labour market. The new clause suggests that we should retain an arbitrarily fixed rate of pay for young people who are regarded as undertaking the same work as adults. It does not explain how on earth we shall determine whether the young person is doing the same work as an adult, but, from remarks made yesterday, it appears that we shall have something along the lines of equal value for equal work being determined by tribunals.

The new clause suggests that a definite relationship between young people's earnings and those of adult workers should be fixed by the wages councils, which is not so at the moment. It says that at least 70 per cent. of the adult rate should be paid to 16 and 17-year-olds. That is driving up the relationship between young people's and adult wages, compared with the present position. No fixed minimum for young people is provided for in the existing legislation. The existing wages orders lay down an average of about 65 per cent. of the adult wage for 16-year-olds. The Labour party's new clause would immediately increase the pay of those who have come straight out of school and bring it nearer to the pay of experienced adult workers. The hon. Member for Ladywood speaks with great sincerity and passion, but she is fervently arguing for a change which would deny job opportunities to very many young people.

5 pm

Photo of Michael Martin Michael Martin , Glasgow Springburn

The Paymaster General must know that a three-year apprenticeship for young people is recognised by certain industries. If somebody leaves school at 16 and completes a three-year apprenticeship. he could be doing the work of a skilled worker before he reached the age of 21. Is the Paymaster General saying that the employer will pass on to the customer the saving that he makes by employing a young worker or will he put it into his own pocket? That would be exploitation.

Photo of Kenneth Clarke Kenneth Clarke Paymaster General (HM Treasury), Secretary of State for Employment

There is nothing to prevent employers in any industry from moving a young employee on to the full adult wage as soon as that employee is making as full a contribution as an adult worker. Apprenticeships lead people on to fully qualified craft rates, but that does not apply to wages council industries. Apprenticeships do not need to be backed by law. We are dealing with a provision that would make it obligatory for a 16-year-old to be paid 70 per cent. of the adult wage. Given the choice, all employers would prefer to employ an experienced adult worker rather than a young worker. The Labour party's policy would make it illegal to offer somebody a lower wage while he was training and acquiring a skill. We believe that as soon as he is able to do all that an adult worker can do, he should receive the adult worker's wage.

Photo of Clare Short Clare Short , Birmingham, Ladywood

A number of different formulations are included in this series of amendments. The Labour party is seeking to maintain protection for young people. The Labour party suggests that we should stay with the 1979 Act and give each wages council the right to pay young people whatever rate it thinks fit. The Paymaster General will be aware that a number of wages councils are unhappy about his proposals, particularly about the movement of the age of majority from 18 to 21. Therefore, he should not concentrate on the provisions of new clause 1. The Opposition would settle for a return to the 1979 Act.

Photo of Kenneth Clarke Kenneth Clarke Paymaster General (HM Treasury), Secretary of State for Employment

I am relieved to hear that the hon. Lady is showing a little flexibility. However, I do not believe that she is protecting young people. She is telling young people who work in these industries that they will all get higher pay, but she will deny job opportunities to many of them. That is not protection.

The new clause is part of the initiative against low pay which the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, East (Mr. Prescott) mentioned yesterday, and it is closely attached to part II. Yesterday the Labour party may have called it a campaign against low pay, but I prefer to call in the Labour party's new campaign for higher pay, particularly higher pay for the young, the inexperienced, and the unskilled.

Photo of Kenneth Clarke Kenneth Clarke Paymaster General (HM Treasury), Secretary of State for Employment

I shall give way to the hon. Gentleman in a moment.

I have in front of me a copy of the hon. Gentleman's news release, in which he explained that he was setting out the Labour party's new approach. According to his definition, no fewer than 8 million people receive poverty wages. That is one third of the entire work force. His policy would raise the pay of those 8 million people—a third of the entire work force—and it would depend upon a combination of measures. In particular, it would depend upon the level of the statutory minimum wage. The hon. Gentleman yesterday, and the hon. Member for Ladywood today, made it quite clear that the Labour party is committed to that policy. If we are to raise the wages of a third of the work force, at some stage the hon. Lady ought to tell us what level of pay increase she proposes, and what impact this campaign for higher pay for 8 million people will have on the rest of the work force. I refer to adult workers, male workers and workers with skills.

Yesterday the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, East was at pains to assure those workers that they, too, would share in this bonanza. He said that the Labour party's policy would not hold anybody back. A national minimum wage would provide a floor below which no worker would be allowed to fall and that, as unions would still be able to negotiate above that floor, there would be no danger of it becoming a ceiling for pay settlements. No mention was made yesterday of productivity, performance or output.

The Labour party's campaign is designed to inform people that a third of the labour force will receive higher pay. If that is associated with the hon. Gentleman's remarks about changes to trade union legislation, it means that it will be rather easier for those who want to maintain their differentials to take industrial action. The strike weapon will be strengthened to ensure that they are able to maintain those differentials.

This drive for generally higher pay throughout the economy, particularly at the bottom end of the scale. has come at a time when employment in this country is increasing at a faster rate than ever before. Since the spring of 1983, nearly 1 million new jobs have been created. The most worrying threat to the creation of new jobs is higher unit labour costs in this country compared with those in other countries. I have the comparisons in front of me. The latest quarterly figures that are available for 1985 show that in Canada wages and salaries per unit of output in manufacturing increased by 1 per cent., in the Federal Republic of Germany by 2 per cent. and in the United Kingdom by 6 per cent., whereas in Japan they did not rise at all. If one takes the whole-year figures for 1984, our unit wage costs in manufacturing increased by 4 per cent., whereas they declined by 2 per cent. in Canada, by 1 per cent. in the United States, by 4 per cent. in Japan and by 1 per cent. in the Federal Republic of Germany.

Photo of Kenneth Clarke Kenneth Clarke Paymaster General (HM Treasury), Secretary of State for Employment

The Labour party is campaigning for a general surge in wage costs at a time when our unit wage costs in manufacturing are rising at a faster rate than those of our competitors, when the living standards of those who are in work in this country are higher than ever before and when domestic inflation is falling rapidly.

Photo of Kenneth Clarke Kenneth Clarke Paymaster General (HM Treasury), Secretary of State for Employment

This policy will not protect the low-paid, the young, or anybody else. If the Labour party embarked upon this policy, it would drive up unemployment.

Photo of Mr Dave Nellist Mr Dave Nellist , Coventry South East

Is the Paymaster General not aware that there are two halves to a fraction? If industrial manufacturing output has declined, the equation will naturally be higher. If he looks at his answers to me during the last few days relating to the hourly earnings of workers in manufacturing industry in Britain. Italy, France and Germany, he will find that the pay of workers in those countries has risen faster than in this country and that it has been based upon higher investment.

Photo of Kenneth Clarke Kenneth Clarke Paymaster General (HM Treasury), Secretary of State for Employment

If there is one thing that is more likely than anything else to cause a fall in manufacturing output in this country. it is to allow our unit wage costs to rise in comparison with those of our competitors. If the hon. Gentleman wishes to ignore our competitive position. he is encouraging a decline in our manufacturing industry.

Photo of John Maples John Maples , Lewisham West

On my right hon. and learned Friend's point about the Labour party's proposals for massive pay increases, I should point out that this experiment was put into effect in 1974. Under a Labour Government there was a massive rise in wages, but there was no rise in production. The Labour Government then found that they had to deal with the problems that they had created by introducing a statutory pay policy.

Photo of Kenneth Clarke Kenneth Clarke Paymaster General (HM Treasury), Secretary of State for Employment

I agree with my hon. Friend. There was a similar experiment in France a few years ago.

Photo of Kenneth Clarke Kenneth Clarke Paymaster General (HM Treasury), Secretary of State for Employment

I apologise to the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, East. I promised to give way to him, and I shall do so now, but before he rises I shall ask him whether the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook, (Mr. Hattersley) was consulted about this campaign yesterday, and whether his right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition is involved in this new policy of driving up wage costs in British industry? How does all this fit in with the current attempts to make Labour appear to be a credible alternative Government? It seems to me that the Labour party is not to be trusted either on pay policy or on the trade union front. We are back to policies being advocated that will have a completely destructive effect upon employment in this country.

Photo of John Prescott John Prescott Shadow Secretary of State, Shadow Secretary of State for Employment

It may come as a shock to the Paymaster General to learn that these Benches are the Opposition and not the Government. We are debating the Government's Bill. We have heard much rhetoric from the Minister about the number of strikes, but more days have been lost through strikes under this Government than in the five years of Labour Government. The Minister knows that, because he gave that information in a parliamentary reply.

We are discussing 8 million people who are under the poverty wage level, and that is the reality. A Council of Europe convention determines that low pay is two thirds of an industrial wage. I am surprised that the Minister is not aware of that, because we were at the Council of Europe at the same time. That convention determines the poverty level. Yesterday we said that the number of people paid poverty wages had doubled since the Government came to power in 1979. We argued that there was a need for legislation, and the new clause is concerned with that need.

This is only an intervention and I cannot take up all the time of the debate but I wish to comment on the Minister's statement that too much money is paid to youngsters and to deal with the 70 per cent. wage level referred to in new clause 1. Is the Minister aware that in hairdressing, 70 per cent. of the adult wage rate would be about £44? Is £44 too much to pay youngsters in 1986?

Photo of Kenneth Clarke Kenneth Clarke Paymaster General (HM Treasury), Secretary of State for Employment

One interpretation of the Council of Europe's convention produces the figure of 8 million to which the hon. Gentleman referred and to which his policies, set out yesterday, are most especially directed. The figure of 70 per cent. of the wage level, which the Labour party would restore to young people, would produce a comparatively low figure as a legal minimum in some industries. However, in Germany, the proportion of young people's incomes to that of adults is much lower. When people take their first job they have little to offer but enthusiasm and the hope of acquiring skill and experience. They must expect to receive lower pay in relation to adults and in comparison to what they will receive when they have acquired their skills.

The hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, East objects to our debating his policies, but, with respect, we are discussing the subject matter of the debate, which is the new clause put forward by the Labour party. The Labour party advocates that we should have a statutory minimum wage level for young people. It is plainly part of the policy—the fair pay policy—which was set out by the hon. Gentleman and by the hon. Member for Ladywood to drive up the pay costs of British industry on a substantial scale. In our opinion, that would sacrifice many jobs.

Our policy is quite straightforward. The earnings taken out of industry by any workers have to be based on the value that the worker can put into that industry. The success of the worker helps his company to succeed in the market place, including the world market place. Higher wages are a desirable objective for most people, but they must come from better performance. Our latest proposal is a concept of profit sharing. This would encourage industry and those working in a particular industry, and thus the rewards are more closely linked to the success or otherwise of the enterprise.

The young person who is trying to take his or her first step in the labour market certainly needs to be protected, and I agree entirely with such protection. In my view, they need to be protected against the risk of hen priced out of a job. That is a risk which they would run if the wages councils provision, as advocated in the new clause, was adopted, or a national minimum wage, as canvassed by the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, East, was adopted.

I ask the House to reject new clause 1 and accept the link between pay and employment. If the Labour party rejects that link, it will be folly in the extreme. The hon. Member for Ladywood tries to refute any link between present employment and pay by citing the figures which she always cites. She argues that since 1979 there has been an increase in youth unemployment. These figures take in the full winds of the recession since 1979, but youth unemployment has not risen by as much as it has in other sections of the population. The fall in earnings of young people vis-à-vis adults has taken place only since about 1982. Ever since young people have followed the policies encouraged by the Government and taken a lower proportion of the adult wage, the percentage of young people unemployed has decreased. The position of young people has improved.

5.15 pm

Between April 1982 and April 1985 the average annual increase of earnings for the under-18s has been 5·7 per cent., while for those aged 18 and over it has been 8 per cent. The number of unemployed under-18s as a proportion of the total unemployed has fallen. In January 1983 it was 6·9 per cent., in January 1984 it was 6·4 per cent., in January 1985 it was 5·9 per cent. and in January 1986 it was 5·5 per cent. I am pleased that the overall unemployment rate for under-18s has fallen.

Photo of Kenneth Clarke Kenneth Clarke Paymaster General (HM Treasury), Secretary of State for Employment

In this period when the earnings of youngsters have gone up more slowly than have earnings for adults, the unemployment rates for under-18s has fallen. In January 1983 the figure was 25·2 per cent. in January 1984 it was 21·3 per cent., in January 1985 it was 20 per cent. and in January 1986 it was 19·1 per cent.

The hon. Member for Ladywood bitterly attacked the young workers scheme, but that has created, on any analysis, 120,000 additional jobs for young people, even allowing for displacement, which of course would in part modify the result. The number of unemployed under-20s has fallen by 63,000 since 1983. That is over 10 per cent. of the total. Youth unemployment is decreasing. The level has come down with the help of the youth training scheme, the young workers scheme and the new workers scheme.

There has been a growing realisation in industry that young people's wages must bear a sensible relationship to adult wages if people are to be given their first job.—[Interruption.] The very mention of youth training always causes excitement. The hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, East and his colleagues must face the experience of the past four years, when unemployment among young people has been falling steadily. They have responded to that by mounting a virulent campaign which is a combination of a weakening commitment to YTS and driving up pay costs. That would drive up youth unemployment. I believe that their campaign is thoroughly misconceived and irresponsible. The irresponsibility is wrapped up in the guise of a low-wage campaign. The Labour party cannot be trusted in this area. The claim that the Labour party has a sensible economic policy is incredible when its employment team is let loose advocating this type of inflationary and anti-job nonsense.

Photo of Mr Dave Nellist Mr Dave Nellist , Coventry South East

I arrived in this Chamber almost three years ago as one of the youngest Members elected at the election of 1983. I am the youngest Member to be returned to Parliament by the city of Coventry since Coventry has had Members of Parliament. Therefore, it is natural that, over the years, I have spent much of that time defending young workers against the ravages of the Government and their pathological hatred for young people.

I have had special responsibility to champion the hopes and aspirations of millions of young workers in the face of mass youth unemployment. The three months I have spent on the Bill have not changed or disavowed my opinions in one respect. There was an unreal atmosphere about the speech of the Paymaster General. I might hope that it was his last speech, but that would be too much to hope for. In Committee there were many platitudes about how the measures were designed to support and provide jobs for young people. Frankly, nobody outside the Chamber and very few inside it believe that. The Bill is designed to continue the trend of driving down the wages of young people so that the profits of those who financially backed the Tory party at the last general election are suitably enhanced.

What is the real world, away from those platitudes? The real world should interest the hon. Member for Langbaurgh (Mr. Holt), in whose constituency I was brought up. Its careers office has a little story in this morning's Daily Star under the headline: I gotta job! Joy for girl in 5,000 It reads: Lucky Karen Sanderson has beaten 5,000 other desperate youngsters to get the only job going in the dole capital of mainland Britain. The Cleveland careers service had only one unfilled vacancy to satisfy 5,278 registered unemployed." No fewer than 55,000 people are unemployed, and 36 per cent. of them are under 25. The principal careers officer said: The day the young girl came in for a job we had only one available. Today we have only eight jobs available for all those thousands of youngsters needing work. We have another 4,000 young people on youth training schemes. But they will be looking for real jobs in a year or two. We know that 65 per cent. of folk coming off YTS projects can't find real jobs. That is the real world that the Chamber must deal with if it is to have any relevance to the hundreds of thousands of young people who remain unemployed under the present Prime Minister and the Government.

Matters are equally grim in my city of Coventry, where 5,000 more youngsters will leave school this summer. I telephoned our careers office today. We are better off than Cleveland: we have 76 vacancies. That still leaves 4,924 young people without a job. We already have more than 5,000 unemployed young people competing for the same jobs. Among them are young people leaving special schools. They might be mentioned in the debate on new clause 2.

We had a brilliant year in Coventry last year. Of the 189 physically and mentally handicapped youngsters who left special schools, seven found work. Two of them went to sheltered work. That was better than the previous year, when only two found work. What hope will the handicapped youngsters of Coventry have when another 190 leave this summer? It might be suggested that, if the seven who got jobs took a wage cut, there might be an extra one or two jobs for those who leave school this summer. That is economic and political rubbish.

One ward in my constituency has an official male unemployment level of 44·2 per cent. In reality, it is well above 50 per cent. That is the situation in Coventry. There is no future for young people in our city, the midlands or the country as a whole, short of getting a genuine Socialist Labour Government prepared to plan the economy rationally and to guarantee young people jobs.

Under this Prime Minister, half a million young people have never had a job since they left school. Ten years ago, 61 per cent. of 16-year-olds had a job. Only 18 per cent. have a job now. The studies, the projections and the computer models that were wheeled before us in Committee to support abolishing young people's right to a minimum wage could only come up with a prediction that between two and 160 jobs could be created in Coventry, South-East, or between eight and 600 jobs could be created for the whole of Coventry if all the 500,000 young people took a pay cut. So what?

In the month before Christmas, a factory in Coventry—General Electric Company—the chairman of which is the Tory Member of Parliament for Waveney (Mr. Prior), declared 1,000 redundancies, the bulk of them in my constituency. One half of the Tory party is chucking people out of work while the pious hopes of the other half urge young people to take wage cuts to try to create jobs.

No other country has done what the Paymaster General is asking us to do—to denounce the International Labour Organisation convention No. 26 and deny young people the right to a legal minimum wage. His justification is that they should take lower wages to create more jobs—that we should "price young people into jobs'. Will that happen? Nye Bevan used to ask, "Why look in the crystal ball when you can read the book?"

Sir J. Hoskins talked about the real aim of the youth training scheme when he was in the Prime Minister's private office. It is on the record. It was to increase the differential between youth and adult wages. That has happened. When the youth opportunities programme allowance was introduced in 1978, youngsters were on £19·50 a week. The YTS equivalent today is £7·30. If it had increased with the retail price index, youngsters would now be on £38 a week, and if the allowance had increased in line with average earnings, they would be on £44 a week. In other words, school leavers have taken a £17 a week pay cut in the past eight years while youth unemployment has trebled.

There is no evidence to support the argument that cutting wages creates jobs. The Minister might assert that there is a link. If there is, why is the highest unemployment not in Sweden and the lowest unemployment not in India? Half a million young people will get pay cuts unless new clause 1 is accepted. That means one in five young people in a job or one in three school leavers in their first job. The average wages of these people is about £50 a week—in hairdressing it is just above £30 a week for a first-year apprentice.

I notice—this is a bit of a constitutional oddity—that the Prince of Wales' consent is needed before the Bill will get Royal Assent. I do not suppose that he has ever had to live on £40 a week. There is a huge disparity between the very rich and the half million young workers in service industries such as hotels, restaurants, catering, clothing and hairdressing. The Government's hypocrisy is revealed by the fact that one day in July they said that young people must price themselves into a job and the next the Prime Minister talked of the need for recruitment, retention, motivation and morale among the 2,000 judges, generals and top civil servants who needed a 40 per cent. increase in their salaries, taking the Cabinet Secretary's salary up by £500 a week.

We cannot take the Bill entirely in isolation. It is part of a process to create a conveyor belt of school leavers, leaving school, doing two years on YTS for artificially depressed training allowances—cheap labour rates—and doing another three years before they reach the maturity accorded to them by the Government at 21, when they will get an adult rate of pay. To ensure compliance, the Department of Health and Social Security has issued circular CS/INF/YTS/7/85, paragraph 18 of which instructs careers officers to inform the DHSS if a youngster refuses to go on a youth training scheme, whereupon they will get a six-week cut in benefit. At least it was six weeks until about 10 days ago when the Secretary of State said that it would be a 13-weeks penalisation.

Next week—perhaps next Monday night—the Secretary of State will introduce a £5·80 cut in the supplementary benefit level for the under-18s. Just to tidy it all up, if youngsters object, or try to organise themselves into a trade union to enhance wages and conditions, they can be dismissed without recourse to an industrial tribunal if they have not worked two years full time or five years part time. That demonstrates the Government's pathological hatred of youth.

The Bill does not tackle the real causes of unemployment. The real cause is the refusal of those who own wealth to invest. That is why production is lower than it was in 1973. Investment has fallen, output has fallen, and we now import more factory-made goods than we export. It is the first time that the workshop of the world has done that for more than 300 years. That is why the gaps between us and other countries which the Minister likes to quote—Germany, America and Japan—have opened.

Photo of Mr Dave Nellist Mr Dave Nellist , Coventry South East

I cannot. I apologise, but the signals are coming and I might be strangled by the Whips if I do not finish soon.

There has been a refusal to invest, so where will the profit come from—by driving down the wages of young people. There is enough money in the country to give everybody a decent wage. If we brought back some of the £70 billion that has gone abroad during the past six years, there would be enough to pay decent wages.

We want to offer a real job to young people. We are not advocating their donning smocks and showing American tourists around the Tower of London, which is what the Tory Government are turning us to in the 1980s. The wages councils were set up 75 years ago. We are trying to give young people a little protection, but I shall vote for the new clause in the Division. The new clause will have more bite if other policies of the Labour party and the Trades Union Congress, such as a national minimum wage of two-thirds average earnings, are implemented.

I shall put that into figures for the Paymaster General. It would require a wage of £120 a week for adult workers. If 70 per cent. of that was offered to young workers, they would be lifted out of the poverty trap. Half a million youngsters would then have a decent rate of pay and 8 million adults would look forward to the future, and be able to afford a holiday, a television, to run a car and other things which are necessities in Britain today.

On 31 May thousands of workers, principally women, will demonstrate, rally and march in Manchester under the banner of the North-West Region Labour Women's Council, demanding a national minimum wage and a mass recruitment campaign to trade unions and the Labour party of young workers who are affected by this provision. I hope that a repeat of such campaigns will signal the death knell of the Tory Government and the low-wage, cheap-labour economy, on which their big business backers depend for their luxury life styles.

It ill behoves the Paymaster General who is on almost £1,000 a week to tell 500,000 hairdressers and other young people who work in hotels, shops. restaurants, catering and clothing establishments that £40 a week is too much for them in Maggie's Britain. I hope that the new clause is passed overwhelmingly tonight.

Photo of Michael Martin Michael Martin , Glasgow Springburn 5:30 pm, 15th May 1986

I wish to speak to new clause 2 and amendment No. 81, both of which are in my name.

The Government propose to take young people out of the protection of the wages councils, but I urge them to reconsider their decision with regard to the physically and mentally handicapped. From my experience as a trade union officer and a councillor serving on the social work committee of the old Glasgow corporation, I know that young people, especially mentally handicapped young people, can be exploited. Some people will say that only a minority of employers will stoop so low, but if it were not for the minority of bad individuals in every respect. the House would not require legislation to protect the community.

I remember having to go to the Inverclyde local authority in Greenock because there was a complaint that some workers were not receiving a proper bonus. I discovered that the complaint was unjustified. The personnel officer had set one section aside for disabled and mentally handicapped workers and ensured that for 52 weeks of the year young people in that gardening section received a guaranteed bonus. During the summer that meant that able-bodied workers received a bigger bonus, which is how the complaint arose.

From conversations with the workers and the personnel officer, I discovered that he was doing a remarkable job. He did not require legislation, but he protected those young workers because he saw a need to do so. One worker could not read, so the personnel officer instructed the head gardener to draw up a plan of colours so that that worker would know the type of flowers to lay in a flower bed. He instructed a charge hand not to allow another worker to operate a motorised lawn mower because he knew that from time to time that worker had epileptic fits. Another worker turned up for work on holidays because he did not understand what holidays were. The personnel officer took it upon himself to phone that young man's parents to tell them that he should not turn up for work on the Queen's birthday and other public holidays. The personnel officer ensured that those workers were well protected, without any prompting.

On the other hand, there is the Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968, and I know that social workers are prepared to keep an eye on mentally handicapped workers who were in their care before they reached the age of maturity, which in Scotland is 16. I know of cases in the Strathclyde region where some of those workers are 50 and still receive help from the social work department. Social workers help those people mainly because from time to time cases are reported to them of workers who are being exploited, and who work long hours and are not paid proper wages for hard, heavy work in kitchens, hotels, and, sometimes, circuses. They are respectable people who do not understand their rights.

I could talk all night about the problems that arise with those workers. Surely, if we allow people to work, we should ensure that those who need protection are protected through legislation. We are failing in our duty if people in that category are exploited.

Photo of Mr Richard Holt Mr Richard Holt , Langbaurgh

I am a little confused. The hon. Gentleman is arguing one case, but the amendment seems to imply another. It seeks to remove all disabled workers from part II. At least under part II there is a minimum provision. but the amendment seeks to remove it.

Photo of Michael Martin Michael Martin , Glasgow Springburn

I am aware that time is short. I have explained my aims to the Minister, and if he feels that my new clause is defective he can, nevertheless, take my point on board. That is often the case with new clauses and amendments, but hon. Members are entitled to speak to them so that they can explain what they want, and if the Government can support the change it is up to them to ensure that the wording does not have the wrong effect.

The Minister may argue that if we introduce or tighten up legislation it will deter employers from exploiting mentally and physically handicapped people. There must be a balance between ensuring that we find as many young people a job as possible and ensuring that they are not exploited by unscrupulous employers. It should be remembered that employers do not always know what their workers' rights are, let alone that employees know their rights. Legislation should be available to help them when complaints are made.

Photo of Mr Geoffrey Lawler Mr Geoffrey Lawler , Bradford North

In stating that I have the honour to be president of the British Youth Council and chairman of the all-party youth affairs group—I stress that I do not speak in that capacity today—I hope that I can prove that I do not have a pathological hatred for young people. On the contrary, one thing that I have in common with the hon. Member for Coventry, South-East (Mr. Nellist) is that we are not so far out of that sector of our lives as are some hon. Members. Indeed, I suffer from the delusion sometimes that I am still in it.

One thing that regular contact with young people has taught me is that they have a far more realistic view of their worth and of economic realities than does the Labour party. One needs only to consider the high percentage of those who have expressed satisfaction with the youth training scheme and the opinion polls that have been conducted among young people to see the proof that they are willing to undertake work at sensible and realistic allowances. The Labour party's dogmatic approach will deny them the opportunity to undertake such work.

As my right hon. and learned Friend the Paymaster General said, the Opposition must think we believe that there is some political mileage in being vindictive against young people by driving down wages. No political party would seek to attack the living standards of young people. We are seeking to do the opposite. There is no lower standard of living for a young person than the dole or supplementary benefit. The proposed legislation seeks to improve young people's living standards by giving them jobs. That is the most significant step that they could take.

As my right hon. and learned Friend said, the effect of the new clause would be to increase the wages of 16 and 17-year-olds in industries covered by the wages councils. In the clothing industry it would mean an employer paying £49·49 insted of £46·06. In the retail food sector it would mean an employer paying £56 instead of £50·38. That would mean fewer jobs and a further falling behind in competitiveness at a time when all our major competitors pay a far lower proportion of wages to young people than we do. They pay 20 to 30 per cent. of adult wages, rather than our 60 to 70 per cent.

The new clause would also lessen the opportunities for training and cut the opportunities for young people to advance themselves. If companies must pay so much for young people, they will not spend more to train them. We must ensure that young people are recruited at sensible allowances, so that companies will invest time and money in them and enable then to make a more effective contribution to their employers.

The new clause would block young people's advancement. It is better that young people get on the first rung of the ladder. There is no career on the dole or any benefits structure that they can climb. The only way in which they can advance themselves is by getting their first job, and this legislation opens the door to employment opportunities.

The savings that employers could make by employing young people at more realistic wages could be used in two ways: first, to increase training; and, secondly, to pay more to skilled workers. I agree with the hon. Member for Birmingham, Ladywood (Ms. Short) that skilled workers in Britain are paid less than those in competitor countries. In Germany workers are paid. more because a much higher percentage of them have vocational qualifications and therefore contribute more to their companies and deserve higher wages.

The new clause would hit those who are least qualified and who find it hardest to get jobs. The Labour party is deserting what it has always claimed as its traditional ground and is aiming at the middle-class vote. However, the Conservative party has not forgotten the most disadvantaged and the least fortunate and is giving them an equal chance to prove themselves.

Half a million young people covered by the wages councils are affected by the Bill. Another 500,000 unemployed young people aged under 20 will also be affected because the legislation will give them greater opportunities of employment. Setting a rigid limit such as the clause proposes will not help those in work in the long run, and will harm the chances of those whom we are seeking to help, those who do not have jobs.

Photo of Mr David Penhaligon Mr David Penhaligon , Truro

I commend the speech made by the hon. Member for Glasgow, Springburn (Mr. Martin). I do not know whether his amendment is in order, but he was arguing a case which deserves some specific and detailed reaction. Whatever the broad merits of this part of the Bill, we would not wish the chronically disabled and mentally retarded to be placed in an abominable position, with not even their intelligence to protect them. The hon. Gentleman advanced a strong argument, and I hope that the Minister will respond to it.

The Government have got the legislation wrong. I do not agree with many of the speeches that have been made by Labour Members, but the abolition of all wage controls for those aged under 21 is unjustified. I represent an area of endemic unemployment, with the lowest wage structure in Britain. I know what happens to wages in industries not covered by wages councils when wage protection is removed. It is not uncommon in areas such as mine for qualified 19 or 20-year-olds, some with four or five C)-levels, to be earning £50 to £55 a week. That is what happens when wage protection is removed. Other parts of the country are more fortunate, but that is the logical outcome of the Government's proposals.

5.45 pm

However, there is a minute amount of truth in the Government's broad thrust, which says in essence that to pay the adult rate to an 18-year-old in industries covered by wages councils must militate against the employment of other young people. That is true. It might not be popular with young people, and it might not gain any votes to tell them, but I have no doubt that to pay the full adult rate to an 18-year-old, especially in a low-wage area such as mine, militates against their employment prospects. That occurs especially where an employer has an alternative choice of people aged 25 to 30 with skills, some experience and the other qualities acquired with age. They will compete against youngsters.

Many Conservative Members have not faced the problem. I criticise them because they have extrapolated to infinity from the specific, although I recognise it to be a genuine problem. The evidence suggests only a couple of steps, as opposed to the journey from here to the unknown.

The Government should have redefined the adult rate—I call it the experienced rate—to the age of 21. In an odd way, they have done that. They should have maintained some protection for people within those areas, having renegotiated the steps up to the age of 21. In the reply to the debate—it must have been considered because I have argued it in the House several times—the Minister must say why the Government rejected that solution. I have heard no substantial argument to convince me that that would not have been the rational and sensible outcome of the legislation.

Photo of Mr Richard Holt Mr Richard Holt , Langbaurgh

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that part of the problem lay in previous Governments reducing from 21 to 18 the age at which full national insurance and other contributions were made? A person is an adult either at 18 or at 21. We are now introducing hybridity, which will cause further confusion.

Photo of Mr David Penhaligon Mr David Penhaligon , Truro

I hear what the hon. Gentleman says. I am trying to reflect on the conventions in some of our European partners. In some countries it is not unknown for the adult or experienced rate not to be paid until the age of 23 or 24. In Japan, in some industries, the top or skilled rate is not paid until people are approaching their 30s. I do not accept the argument that as soon as someone if given the franchise, which is rightly given at 18, that automatically coincides with the day on which he has all the skills, experience and other qualities accumulated while earning a living. I should be pleased if the Minister would reflect on that.

The hon. Member for Birmingham, Ladywood (Ms. Short), who opened the debate on the new clause, made a statement which may be right, but which was different from what I originally understood. I am not enthusiastic about the fact that the Government have withdrawn from the International Labour Organisation. I checked with the Library some months ago and was told that, although the Bill removes some minimum wage protection for those under the age of 21, it would still be possible to pass the Bill and to remain inside the ILO convention. That was asserted to me by the Library. and I should like a reply from the Minister. Will it be possible to stay in the ILO with the minimum wage protection which the Bill still gives to some, albeit only those over the age of 21?

I raise this issue because I was worried by the advice that I was given. If the Government could have stayed in, why did they withdraw? I fear that they withdrew, not because of the Bill, but because it will give them the power at some time in the future to introduce in Parliament an order to abolish all wages council restrictions from A to Z which would be debated for about one and a half hours.

Photo of Mr David Penhaligon Mr David Penhaligon , Truro

If that is so, I live and learn.

I am aware that under the Bill as drafted it will be possible for the Government to put before Parliament a proposal to abolish overnight all wages control and wages councils. I am asking whether the Government have withdrawn from the ILO because the possibility of doing that appeals to them, or because the changes provided for in the Bill forced them to withdraw from the ILO. I fear that it is the former, which makes the Government's proposals even less acceptable.

My questions therefore are, first, why can the Government not step up the age to 21. and, secondly. did they have to withdraw from the ILO because of the Bill?

Photo of Mr David Trippier Mr David Trippier , Rossendale and Darwen

This has been an interesting and pretty long debate and I have somewhat limited time in which to reply. I wish first to reply to the point raised by the hon. Member for Glasgow, Springburn (Mr. Martin), who was supported to some extent by the hon. Member for Truro (Mr. Penhaligon).

Photo of Clare Short Clare Short , Birmingham, Ladywood

I raised the matter also.

Photo of Mr David Trippier Mr David Trippier , Rossendale and Darwen

Indeed, yes. I appreciate that credit must be shared by Opposition Members, although in fairness I am dealing with what has been said by the hon. Member whose name is appended to the amendment.

It has been quite a problem for all members of the Committee to wrestle with this. The hon. Member for Springburn is aware that there is power under present legislation to award certain permits to disabled people who would not normally be employed by employers on an individual basis, taking each case on its merits in the instance of those people disabled by any form of handicap. mental or physical.

We have gone through a period of consultation in the Department with lobbies representing handicapped people. Since the hon. Gentleman raised the point at the last sitting of the Committee, as did my hon. Friend the Member for Bolton, North-East (Mr. Thurnham), I have had long discussions with the right hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, South (Mr. Ashley), whose name also is appended to the amendment, and with Brian Rix. the director-general of Mencap. On balance—rather like the TUC, only on balance—they do not think that there should be incorporated on the face of the Bill the legislation that is currently in force by way of a new clause. I say that because I wish to assure the hon. Member for Springburn that I have taken this point seriously both in Committee and today. I am anxious to continue to meet the lobby representing handicapped people to see how we can assist.

In the discussions with Brian Rix, I was interested to know that his members are pleased with the scheme run by the Manpower Services Commission that is known as the sheltered placement scheme. They are anxious to see the Department of Employment develop and strengthen that scheme, which they think has been a success.

I was interested in the comments of the hon. Member for Birmingham, Ladywood (Ms. Short) in opening the debate. As I understand it, she says that this legislation is designed to cut the wages of the country's poorest workers. It is to that that we so strongly object—the fact that the Opposition are wittingly trying to mislead the public, because they talk constantly as if we are scrapping wages councils. Nothing could be further from the truth. We took notice of the consultation exercise, for which we were responsible. As my hon. Friend the Member for Bradford, North (Mr. Lawler) said, we passionately believe that by discriminating in favour of the under-21s we will allow them to take that important first step on the employment ladder. The hon. Member for Ladywood and her hon. Friend the Member for Kingston upon Hull, East (Mr. Prescott) peddle the propaganda, and always have done, that we are scrapping the lot. We are not.

My right hon. and learned Friend the Paymaster General and Minister for Employment referred to the new realism that is creeping in. There is no way in which this Government would do anything to harm the young people whom we are anxious to see in employment. That realism is creeping into the TUC. It has not yet hit the Labour party. The document to which I referred in Committee—I sent a copy to the hon. Member for Ladywoodand which was written by senior trade unionists and members of the TUC, said: There can be no doubt that a general rise in the level of money incomes which significantly outstripped the rate of growth would be incompatible with achieving our objective of a high wage, high productivity, low unit cost economy, and that means that we can't have it unless we earn it. That is the point that we have consistently made.

I say again that it is nonsense and ridiculous for the hon. Member for Coventry, South-East (Mr. Nellist) to suggest that Conservative Members have a pathological hatred of youth. That was a stupid statement. I suggest that it shows yet again that the Labour party is out of touch with reality.

Photo of John Prescott John Prescott Shadow Secretary of State, Shadow Secretary of State for Employment

After listening to the debate, I am not sure whether this is a case of a pathological hatred of youth or the economic illiteracy of those Conservative Members who spoke.

The statement from which the Minister has just quoted and to which the Paymaster General gave a great deal of attention is about productivity, earnings and wages. It is the level of investment in those areas that is crucial. If he looks at the OECD's figures, he will find that Britain is better only than Portugal in its level of investment manufacturing out of the 24 countries, and this is below the level of 1979. The Minister needs to consider what brings about jobs and determines wages, but he has not done so in this case.

The Paymaster General talks about the salaries of young people. Apparently £45 is far too much. I wonder what he did about the banisters' recent claim for an increase in income. I wonder what advice the Paymaster General has given to the new top salaries review that the Government are holding back at present regarding the income recommendations—this, presumably, to be presented to the House after the Bill has been dealt with. From an examination of the Cabinet minutes on these matters, it will be observed that the right hon. Member for Waveney (Mr. Prior) rejected this course of action. He would have been ashamed to hear the debate today.

Let us make it clear that we are denouncing our international obligations. We are the only country out of 94 countries to denounce our international obligations. The Labour party will restore those international obligations. We will bring back the fair wages clause and a form of wages councils that guarantee rates. We are against the sweat-shop industries that are becoming a common feature after seven years of this Government. From all the evidence that we have seen of the young workers' scheme with its reduction of wages, no extra jobs have been created.

As to the removal of the fair wages clause, hon. Members should talk to the Barking hospital cleaners. The number of people employed was reduced and the employees worked a lot harder, but they got less pay and fewer holidays. That is what this is about, driving down the wages of the low paid. It is also a question of job substitution; it is skivvy-scheme YTS that will take the place of the adult worker in wages council industries.

In 12 months' time, we will see the results of the policy. Then Labour's policy of a fair wages strategy that we outlined yesterday will be relevant, and will return a Labour Government. Therefore, we will vote for the clause in the belief that it will give a right and just return to young people.

Question put, That the clause be read a Second time:—

The House divided: Ayes 168, Noes 254.

Division No. 181][6 pm
AYES
Adams, Allen (Paisley N)Eastham, Ken
Alton, DavidEdwards, Bob (W'h'mpt'n SE)
Archer, Rt Hon PeterEvans, John (St. Helens N)
Ashley, Rt Hon JackFaulds, Andrew
Ashton, JoeField, Frank (Birkenhead)
Atkinson, N. (Tottenham)Fisher, Mark
Bagier, Gordon A. T.Flannery, Martin
Banks, Tony (Newham NW)Forrester, John
Barnett, GuyFoster, Derek
Barron, KevinFoulkes, George
Beckett, Mrs MargaretFraser, J. (Norwood)
Bell, StuartFreud, Clement
Benn, Rt Hon TonyGeorge, Bruce
Bermingham, GeraldGodman, Dr Norman
Bidwell, SydneyGould, Bryan
Blair, AnthonyHamilton, James (M'well N)
Boothroyd, Miss BettyHamilton, W. W. (Fife Central)
Boyes, RolandHardy, Peter
Bray, Dr JeremyHarrison, Rt Hon Walter
Brown, Gordon (D'f'mline E)Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy
Brown, Hugh D. (Provan)Haynes, Frank
Brown, N. (N'c'tle-u-Tyne E)Healey, Rt Hon Denis
Buchan, NormanHeffer, Eric S.
Caborn, RichardHogg, N. (C'nauld & Kilsyth)
Callaghan, Rt Hon J.Holland, Stuart (Vauxhall)
Callaghan, Jim (Heyw'd & M)Home Robertson, John
Campbell-Savours, DaleHoyle, Douglas
Carter-Jones, LewisHughes, Dr Mark (Durham)
Clark, Dr David (S Shields)Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)
Clarke, ThomasHughes, Roy (Newport East)
Clay, RobertHughes, Sean (Knowsley S)
Clelland, David GordonJanner, Hon Greville
Clwyd, Mrs AnnJohn, Brynmor
Cohen, HarryKaufman, Rt Hon Gerald
Cook, Frank (Stockton North)Kennedy, Charles
Cook, Robin F. (Livingston)Kilroy-Silk, Robert
Corbyn, JeremyKinnock, Rt Hon Neil
Cox, Thomas (Tooting)Kirkwood, Archy
Craigen, J. M.Lambie, David
Cunningham, Dr JohnLamond, James
Davis, Terry (B'ham, H'ge H'l)Leadbitter, Ted
Deakins, EricLeighton, Ronald
Dobson, FrankLewis, Terence (Worsley)
Dormand, JackLitherland, Robert
Douglas, DickLloyd, Tony (Stretford)
Dubs, AlfredLofthouse, Geoffrey
Duffy, A. E. P.McDonald, Dr Oonagh
Dunwoody, Hon Mrs G.McKay, Allen (Penistone)
Eadie, AlexMcKelvey, William
McTaggart, RobertRobertson, George
Madden, MaxRogers, Allan
Marek, Dr JohnRooker, J. W.
Marshall, David (Shettleston)Ross, Ernest (Dundee W)
Martin, MichaelRowlands, Ted
Mason, Rt Hon RoyRyman, John
Maxton, JohnSedgemore, Brian
Maynard, Miss JoanShore, Rt Hon Peter
Meacher, MichaelShort, Ms Clare (Ladywood)
Meadowcroft, MichaelShort, Mrs R.(W'hampt'n NE)
Michie, WilliamSilkin, Rt Hon J.
Mikardo, IanSkinner, Dennis
Miller, Dr M. S. (E Kilbride)Smith, C.(Isl'ton S & F'bury)
Morris, Rt Hon A. (W'shawe)Smith, Rt Hon J. (M'ds E)
Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon)Snape, Peter
Nellist, DavidSpearing, Nigel
Oakes, Rt Hon GordonSteel, Rt Hon David
O'Brien, WilliamStewart, Rt Hon D, (W Isles)
O'Neill, MartinStrang, Gavin
Orme, Rt Hon StanleyStraw, Jack
Park, GeorgeThomas, Dafydd (Merioneth)
Parry, RobertThorne, Stan (Preston)
Patchett, TerryTinn, James
Pavitt, LaurieTorney, Tom
Pendry, TomWareing, Robert
Penhaligon, DavidWeetch, Ken
Pike, PeterWelsh, Michael
Powell, Raymond (Ogmore)Wigley, Dafydd
Prescott, JohnWilliams, Rt Hon A.
Radice, GilesWilson, Gordon
Randall, StuartWinnick, David
Raynsford, NickWrigglesworth, Ian
Redmond, MartinYoung, David (Bolton SE)
Rees, Rt Hon M. (Leeds S)
Richardson, Ms JoTellers for the Ayes:
Roberts, Allan (Bootle)Mr. Don Dixon and
Roberts, Ernest (Hackney N)Mr. Lawrence Cunliffe.
NOES
Aitken, JonathanBurt, Alistair
Alexander, RichardButler, Rt Hon Sir Adam
Amery, Rt Hon JulianButterfill, John
Amess, DavidCarlisle, John (Luton N)
Arnold, TomCarlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)
Ashby, DavidCarttiss, Michael
Aspinwall, JackChalker, Mrs Lynda
Atkins, Rt Hon Sir H.Chapman, Sydney
Atkins, Robert (South Ribble)Chope, Christopher
Atkinson, David (B'm'th E)Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford)
Baker, Rt Hon K. (Mole Vall'y)Clark, Sir W. (Croydon S)
Baker, Nicholas (Dorset N)Clarke, Rt Hon K. (Rushcliffe)
Baldry, TonyClegg, Sir Walter
Banks, Robert (Harrogate)Cockeram, Eric
Batiste, SpencerColvin, Michael
Bellingham, HenryCoombs, Simon
Bendall, VivianCope, John
Bennett, Rt Hon Sir FredericCouchman, James
Benyon, WilliamCranborne, Viscount
Best, KeithCritchley, Julian
Bevan, David GilroyCrouch, David
Biffen, Rt Hon JohnCurrie, Mrs Edwina
Biggs-Davison, Sir JohnDickens, Geoffrey
Blackburn, JohnDorrell, Stephen
Body, Sir RichardDover, Den
Bonsor, Sir Nicholasdu Cann, Rt Hon Sir Edward
Boscawen, Hon RobertDurant, Tony
Bottomley, Mrs VirginiaDykes, Hugh
Bowden, A. (Brighton K'to'n)Eggar, Tim
Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich)Evennett, David
Brandon-Bravo, MartinEyre, Sir Reginald
Bright, GrahamFallon, Michael
Brinton, TimFarr, Sir John
Brooke, Hon PeterFavell, Anthony
Brown, M. (Brigg & Cl'thpes)Finsberg, Sir Geoffrey
Browne, JohnFookes, Miss Janet
Bruinvels, PeterForman, Nigel
Bryan, Sir PaulForth, Eric
Buck, Sir AntonyFox, Marcus
Budgen, NickFreeman, Roger
Bulmer, EsmondFry, Peter
Gale, RogerMalins, Humfrey
Galley, RoyMaples, John
Gardiner, George (Reigate)Marland, Paul
Gardner, Sir Edward (Fylde)Marlow, Antony
Garel-Jones, TristanMates, Michael
Glyn, Dr AlanMather, Carol
Goodhart, Sir PhilipMayhew, Sir Patrick
Goodlad, AlastairMellor, David
Gorst, JohnMerchant, Piers
Gow, IanMeyer, Sir Anthony
Grant, Sir AnthonyMiller, Hal (B'grove)
Greenway, HarryMills, Iain (Meriden)
Gregory, ConalMitchell, David (Hants NW)
Griffiths, Sir EldonMoate, Roger
Griffiths, Peter (Portsm'th N)Montgomery, Sir Fergus
Ground, PatrickMoynihan, Hon C.
Grylls, MichaelMudd, David
Gummer, Rt Hon John SMurphy, Christopher
Hampson, Dr KeithNeale, Gerrard
Hanley, JeremyNelson, Anthony
Hannam, JohnNeubert, Michael
Hargreaves, KennethNewton, Tony
Harris, DavidNicholls, Patrick
Haselhurst, AlanNorris, Steven
Hawkins, C, (High Peak)Onslow, Cranley
Hawkins, Sir Paul (N'folk SW)Oppenheim, Phillip
Hawksley, WarrenOsborn, Sir John
Hayes, J.Ottaway, Richard
Hayhoe, Rt Hon BarneyPage, Sir John (Harrow W)
Hayward, RobertPage, Richard (Herts SW)
Heathcoat-Amory, DavidPatten, J. (Oxf W & Abgdn)
Heddle, JohnPattie, Geoffrey
Hickmet, RichardPawsey, James
Hicks, RobertPeacock, Mrs Elizabeth
Hill, JamesPercival, Rt Hon Sir Ian
Hind, KennethPorter, Barry
Hogg, Hon Douglas (Gr'th'm)Portillo, Michael
Holland, Sir Philip (Gedling)Powell, William (Corby)
Holt, RichardPowley, John
Hordern, Sir PeterPrice, Sir David
Howard, MichaelProctor, K. Harvey
Howarth, Alan (Stratf'd-on-A)Raffan, Keith
Howell, Rt Hon D. (G'ldford)Rathbone, Tim
Howell, Ralph (Norfolk, N)Renton, Tim
Hubbard-Miles, PeterRhodes James, Robert
Hunt, David (Wirral W)Ridley, Rt Hon Nicholas
Hunter, AndrewRobinson, Mark (N'port W)
Irving, CharlesRoe, Mrs Marion
Jessel, TobyRossi, Sir Hugh
Johnson Smith, Sir GeoffreyRost, Peter
Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)Sainsbury, Hon Timothy
Jones, Robert (Herts W)Sayeed, Jonathan
Kershaw, Sir AnthonyShaw, Giles (Pudsey)
Key, RobertShaw, Sir Michael (Scarb')
Knight, Greg (Derby N)Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)
Knight, Dame Jill (Edgbaston)Skeet, Sir Trevor
Knowles, MichaelSmith, Sir Dudley (Warwick)
Knox, DavidSoames, Hon Nicholas
Lamont, NormanSpencer, Derek
Latham, MichaelSquire, Robin
Lawler, GeoffreyStanbrook, Ivor
Lawrence, IvanSteen, Anthony
Lee, John (Pendle)Stevens, Lewis (Nuneaton)
Leigh, Edward (Gainsbor'gh)Stewart, Andrew (Sherwood)
Lennox-Boyd, Hon MarkStokes, John
Lewis, Sir Kenneth (Stamf'd)Stradling Thomas, Sir John
Lightbown, DavidSumberg, David
Lilley, PeterTaylor, Teddy (S'end E)
Lloyd, Ian (Havant)Tebbit, Rt Hon Norman
Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)Temple-Morris, Peter
Lord, MichaelThomas, Rt Hon Peter
Lyell, NicholasThompson, Donald (Calder V)
McCrindle, RobertThompson, Patrick (N'ich N)
MacGregor, Rt Hon JohnThornton, Malcolm
MacKay, Andrew (Berkshire)Trippier, David
Maclean, David JohnWakeham, Rt Hon John
McLoughlin, PatrickWalker, Rt Hon P. (W'cester)
McNair-Wilson, M. (N'bury)Waller, Gary
McNair-Wilson, P. (New F'st)Walters, Dennis
Major, JohnWard, John
Wardle, C. (Bexhill)Winterton, Nicholas
Watts, JohnWolfson, Mark
Wells, Bowen (Hertford)Wood, Timothy
Wheeler, JohnYeo, Tim
Whitfield, John
Wiggin, JerryTellers for the Noes:
Wilkinson, JohnMr. Archie Hamilton and
Winterton, Mrs AnnMr. Francis Maude.

Question accordingly negatived.