Mr John Lee: There has been no change in the treatment of disabled and mentally handicapped people under restart. People who are limited in the work they can do because of their health are only required to be available for work they are able to do.
Mr John Lee: The restart programme is extremely positive. To give an example, about 3·4 per cent. of the total restart interviewees, or 121,000 people, have been referred as a result of the restart interviews, to disablement resettlement officers, which emphasises the positive nature of the programme.
Mr John Lee: As my right hon. Friend has said repeatedly, there are 700,000 vacancies nationally. The restart programme is positive and beneficial. About 88 per cent. of those who attend interviews are offered something positive.
Mr John Lee: We are being very fair to the disabled. Both we and the Department of Health and Social Security have issued instructions to ensure that those who are eligible for alternative benefits are directed appropriately.
Mr John Lee: The employment prospects for young people in Leicester, as elsewhere, are being boosted by the high quality training and work experience offered by YTS. From September the Government are extending their guarantee of a YTS place to all 16 and 17-year-olds who are not in work or further education. As a result, no young person under 18 need be unemployed.
Mr John Lee: As the hon. Gentleman is aware, substantial amounts of Government money are directed to Leicester for programmes, including the inner city task force. About 80 per cent. of young people leaving YTS in Leicester enter jobs, further training or education against 75 per cent. nationally. Leicester is not doing too badly.
Mr John Lee: I am grateful for my hon. Friend's comments. He is absolutely right. There are some excellent schemes, not only in Leicestershire, but in the whole country.
Mr John Lee: The setting up of the employment service brought jobcentres and unemployment benefit offices under a common management. We are now undertaking a series of pilot studies across the country to test various approaches and integrating the range of services offered locally by the employment service. Our aim is to provide better and more coherent help to unemployed people.
Mr John Lee: We shall certainly take into account all the problems that the hon. Gentleman raises, as well as specific problems that arise in rural areas, including the Highlands. In 1982–83 we offered a free telephone service to job seekers. Frankly, it was not a popular scheme and was subject to some abuse, so the service was withdrawn. Jobcentre staff are there to make telephone calls to prospective...
Mr John Lee: My hon. Friend is absolutely right. We are trying to improve and upgrade our service wherever possible. We have about 40,000 permanent staff employed at jobcentres and unemployment benefit offices across the country.
Mr John Lee: I think that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has dealt with the ridiculous points that the hon. Gentleman is making, and there is no need for me to add in reply to them.
Mr John Lee: Conservative Members are, of course, anxious to ensure that those who are genuinely entitled to employment benefit, and welfare benefits generally, receive them. We are, however, determined to stamp out fraud and abuse, and there have been a number of very successful campaigns recently, including the one mentioned by my hon. Friend.
Mr John Lee: The British Nuclear Fuels site at Sellafield attracted over 104,000 visitors in 1987.
Mr John Lee: British Nuclear Fuels plc is opening a new £5 million visitors centre on 6 June, at which His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh will officiate. On my hon. Friend's general point, he will, I hope, know that the encouragement of modern industrial tourism is a personal crusade of mine. We are to hold a major conference at Centre Point in September, to be hosted by the CBI, in which the...
Mr John Lee: On 11 February 1988 the number of unemployed claimants in the Staffordshire, Moorlands parliamentary constituency was 2,700. The corresponding figure for February 1986 was 3,700.
Mr John Lee: Of course I agree with my hon. Friend that the figures are too high. As he knows, we are not in the business of making specific forecasts, but we are slowly and steadily winning the unemployment battle. I place on record the contribution made by tourism to employment in my hon. Friend's constituency. Alton Towers will employ 1,400 people this year.
Mr John Lee: Inland waterway holidays are marketed by the industry itself as well as the tourist boards and the British Tourist Authority overseas. I recently met the chairman of the British Waterways Board, and the chairman of the English tourist board and British Tourist Authority for a useful exchange of views on how the tourism potential of inland waterways could best be achieved.
Mr John Lee: In regard to the latter part of my hon. Friend's question about "Three Men in a Boat", I am surprised that the hon. Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Meacher) has not put his oar into that particular boat. No doubt there is still time. In answer to the first part of my hon. Friend's question, the British Waterways Board receives about 43 per cent. of its earned income, excluding grant-aid, from...
Mr John Lee: Section 4 grants are available for the development of tourism projects associated with canals. Indeed, a number of section 4 grants recently have been given to similar projects; for example, the National Waterways museum in Gloucester and the Waveney river centre on the Norfolk Broads. Grants are available.
Mr John Lee: My hon. Friend never misses an opportunity to bring the horse, his favourite animal, into his questions. I am sure that the point that he made will be considered by the British Waterways Board.