Unemployment in the UK

Part of Opposition Day — [18th Allotted Day] – in the House of Commons at 7:45 pm on 7th October 2008.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of James Purnell James Purnell Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions 7:45 pm, 7th October 2008

I cannot quite promise to do it tomorrow, but my hon. Friend will be glad to know that the flexible new deal will do exactly what he describes. It will require people to do mandatory work in return for their benefits. As he knows, we said in our welfare reform Green Paper that we would expect people gradually over two years to be looking to work for their benefits. I am sure that he will support us in that approach as well.

My hon. Friend is absolutely right to say that we need an active approach to getting people back to work, The hon. Member for Epsom and Ewell quoted at length from his recent document "Labour isn't working...again", in which he said that he wanted a network of back-to-work centres around the country that would make sure that there was an

"immediate assessment of every individual's skills and barriers to work".

Well, we do that now in jobcentres. The hon. Gentleman also says that he wants

"individualised support to reflect individual needs", with job search facilities, CV writing and interview training. We do that already. He says he wants to harness

"the innovation of the private and voluntary providers", but we do that already. We do not need to reinvent a network of back-to-work centres around the country. Those centres are called Jobcentre Plus, and they are in all our communities. If the hon. Gentleman wants to visit the one in his area, it is at 50, East street, Epsom, Surrey. I suggest that he goes and finds out what is really happening, rather than presenting our policy as his own.

Embed this video

Copy and paste this code on your website