New Deal (Long-term Unemployed)

Oral Answers to Questions — Treasury – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 25th January 2001.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Michael Clapham Michael Clapham Labour, Barnsley West and Penistone 12:00 am, 25th January 2001

How many have joined the new deal for the long-term unemployed since July 1998. [145804]

Photo of Stephen Timms Stephen Timms The Financial Secretary to the Treasury

Some 325,700 people have joined the new deal for the long-term unemployed, of whom 61,050 have so far found employment. From April, we will be improving and intensifying the programme, applying the lessons learned from the success of the new deal for young people.

Photo of Michael Clapham Michael Clapham Labour, Barnsley West and Penistone

I thank my right hon. Friend for that answer. I think it is fair to say that those figures show that the new deal for the long-term unemployed is working, which is good news for people in Barnsley. Given that fact, may I draw the Opposition's attention to the three planks on which the new deal is based: first, its comprehensive scope links it to local labour markets; secondly, it increases the jobseeker's employability; and thirdly, it is based on training—something that the Opposition should remember, because the fact that it is based on training means that we are preparing people and bringing them to the labour market with the proper skills? Will my hon. Friend make sure that the training element is monitored to ensure that it is appropriate to local labour markets such as that in Barnsley?

Photo of Stephen Timms Stephen Timms The Financial Secretary to the Treasury

My hon. Friend is right. Detailed evaluation by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research has shown the success of the new deal for young people. As my hon. Friend says, its success has been achieved by increasing the intensity with which young people look for work and by increasing their employability. The evaluation shows that long-term unemployment among young people is half what it would have been without the new deal. We are including the lessons that we have learned from that in the new deal for the long-term unemployed, for the benefit of my hon. Friend's constituency in Barnsley and others throughout the country.

We will include in the deal access to work-focused training and key work skills programmes. As my hon. Friend said, all those elements make a large contribution to increasing the productive capacity of the economy. It would be a social and economic tragedy if the Conservative party's plans to abolish the new deal were ever effected. The new deal has been a key element in the successful management of the economy in the past four years. It should remain.