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3 July 2014 | Gurjit Degun
Prime minister David Cameron this week avoided agreeing with an MP's attempt to ensure that every public sector contract provides an apprenticeship place.
During Prime Minister’s Question Time yesterday, Labour MP for Dudley North Ian Austin said: “Germany has three times as many apprentices as the UK, and the number of young apprentices has fallen.
“Long-term youth unemployment in Dudley is twice the national average, and we will attract secure and better-paid jobs only if we make education and skills our number one priority. Will the Prime Minister make a start by ensuring that every public sector procurement contract provides apprenticeship places?”
Cameron replied: “If [Austin] looks at the figures for Dudley North, he will find that the claimant count is down by 20 per cent in the last year. He will find that the youth claimant count is down by 21 per cent, and the long-term youth claimant count down by 28 per cent in the last year.
“The fact is that in the West Midlands things are getting better, with more people in work and more jobs being created. He should be celebrating Dudley rather than running it down.”
Afterwards a Cabinet Office spokesman said: “The government supports the appropriate use of apprenticeships in procurement but only if it represents good value for money, as our priority is always to get the best possible deal for the taxpayer.”