I do not recall seeing the hon. Member for Sunderland, South (Mr. Mullin) in the House last week in the Budget debate on education and employment, or the week before that, and what about the week before when we debated education in schools, when more Conservative Members were present than Labour Members?
The Minister talks complacently about the new deal, but is he aware of what Personnel Today has called a crisis of confidence in the new deal among employers? Can he confirm that Allied Carpets is pulling out of the scheme and that Dixons, Bass and Marks and Spencer are finding it difficult to meet their recruitment needs through the new deal? Is it not a fact that no extra young people are finding jobs through the new deal compared with what would have happened anyway?