New Deal

Oral Answers to Questions — Education and Employment – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 15 March 2001.

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Photo of Nigel Griffiths Nigel Griffiths Labour, Edinburgh South 12:00, 15 March 2001

If he will estimate the number of (a) lone parents, (b) young people and (c) long-term unemployed young people who have entered the work force under the new deal. [152562]

Photo of Tessa Jowell Tessa Jowell Minister of State (Department for Education and Employment) (New Deal and for Women), The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

The latest figures, to the end of December 2000, show that 81,311 lone parents and at least 274,230 young people aged 18 to 24 have found work through the new deal. In addition, 62,570 long-term unemployed people aged over 25, and 20,385 people in the new deal 50-plus have found jobs through the new deal.

The combined effect of the strong, stable economy, the new deal and the efforts of hundreds of thousands of unemployed people enabled us to announce yesterday that we have reached a milestone. For the first time in 25 years, claimant unemployment has fallen below 1 million.

Photo of Nigel Griffiths Nigel Griffiths Labour, Edinburgh South

Does the Minister remember meeting unemployed people a decade ago, during the recession, who despaired of ever again getting a job? Hundreds of people in my constituency have benefited from the new deal, and tell me that it has transformed their lives. Does my hon. Friend share my deep regret that the policy that has brought about that great prosperity for people is under threat from the Conservative party?

Photo of Tessa Jowell Tessa Jowell Minister of State (Department for Education and Employment) (New Deal and for Women), The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. The Government offer the prospect of a better, strengthened new deal that gives opportunity for long-term unemployed people. The Opposition offer no deal.