To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many corporate plans were submitted by 5 February and how many training and enterprise councils he anticipates giving approval to by 2 April.
Thirteen prospective training and enterprise councils have submitted their corporate plans and they are currently being considered. I am not prepared to speculate on the number that will begin operation on any particular date.
The Secretary of State will be aware that many other hon. Members and I welcome the setting up of training and enterprise councils, but he will be aware also that they will be judged by their success. Will their corporate plans include targets for the number of traineeships, for the number of additional qualifications and for the reduction in the number of unemployed people as a result of the TECs? Does the right hon. and learned Gentleman realise that 50 per cent. and more of the work force has had no training? Does he agree that, unless that percentage is substantially reduced, any change in structure will be a failure, as many other initiatives have been?
I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his welcome for the TECs. I agree that they will be judged by their success. Not only will they be set targets, but a part of their income will depend on an assessment of their performance, and that is one reason why I am so confident that they will b a huge success.