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Part of Opposition Day — [19th Allotted Day] — Tax Fairness – in the House of Commons at 5:42 pm on 12th March 2013.

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Photo of David Lammy David Lammy Labour, Tottenham 5:42 pm, 12th March 2013

My hon. Friend is absolutely right and we will not sort out that issue unless we get to grips with a serious problem in careers, information, advice and guidance. We struggled with that in government; we had the Connexions service but we got rid of it. I think it worked in certain parts of the country but not in others, and it was certainly good for more vulnerable young people. The situation now is that many schools with responsibility in that area are totally out of touch with the sectors into which we need young people to go if we are to be serious about apprenticeships.

The indication of decline is also significant. When Labour left office, my Department was spending about £2,400 in direct payments for each apprenticeship start.

That figure has now fallen to £1,600, and is part of the dressing up of what constitutes an apprenticeship.

I hope we will begin to get serious about what an apprenticeship is, and recognise that young people are concerned that they will just go round and round in circles and not end up with a proper job. A proper job is where we need to get to, and we should keep a close eye on both completion rates and success rates. If we go back in time, the legacy of a former Government was an apprenticeship that one did not finish, and one did not get a job at the end of it.