Workfare

Oral Answers to Questions — Employment – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 29th November 1994.

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Photo of Andrew Robathan Andrew Robathan , Blaby 12:00 am, 29th November 1994

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what plans he has to introduce schemes related to workfare.

Photo of Mr Michael Portillo Mr Michael Portillo , Enfield, Southgate

My priority is to get unemployed people into jobs, and we have over 1.5 million opportunities to help them do so. But unemployed people must themselves make every effort to get work and it is right to require them, if necessary, to undertake appropriate action to do so.

Photo of Andrew Robathan Andrew Robathan , Blaby

My right hon. Friend will know that my constituents were delighted by the drop of 10.1 per cent. in unemployment in Blaby last month. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear.] Will he consider extending the programme of community action, which can restore self-confidence and pride in the unemployed where it has been lost, assist the unemployed—especially the long-term unemployed—to get back to work and allow them to do something useful for society in community and environmental projects?

Photo of Mr Michael Portillo Mr Michael Portillo , Enfield, Southgate

The early part of my hon. Friend's question drew the cheer that it deserved. My hon. Friend is absolutely right, and I pay tribute to the achievement of the community action programme. It has succeeded in keeping the long-term unemployed in touch with the labour market and has given them the opportunity to show their skills. I reassure my hon. Friend that I will do whatever I can, within the budget that is made available to me this afternoon, to continue the programme.