Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Business, Innovation and Skills – in the House of Commons at 9:30 am on 7th February 2013.

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Photo of Gordon Marsden Gordon Marsden Shadow Minister (Business, Innovation and Skills) 9:30 am, 7th February 2013

The Government’s latest figures show that apprenticeship starts for young people under 19 are down by 15%, and Ministers are complacent about the risks to apprenticeships for over 24-year-olds from their further education loan plans. It is obvious that we urgently need a game- changer for apprenticeships, so why is the Minister still ignoring what the Opposition, and now the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee have called for: Government procurement contracts, not least on projects such as high-speed rail, to ensure that companies sign up thousands of new apprenticeships in order to win those contracts?