Long-term Deprivation

Oral Answers to Questions — Work and Pensions – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 14th June 2010.

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Photo of Simon Kirby Simon Kirby Conservative, Brighton, Kemptown 2:30 pm, 14th June 2010

What his policy is on measures to encourage people into work in areas of long-term deprivation.

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Photo of Steve Webb Steve Webb The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

Many people in areas of long-term deprivation are also long-term benefit recipients. We will introduce the Work programme to give those benefit recipients access to tailored back-to-work support through an integrated system. Within that, we are actively considering how best to support those with complex barriers to work.

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Photo of Simon Kirby Simon Kirby Conservative, Brighton, Kemptown

I thank the Minister for that answer. Does he agree that many of Labour's top-down schemes, such as the new deal for communities in the areas of Moulsecoomb and Whitehawk in my constituency, have failed to deliver any real difference to people's lives, despite having cost tens of millions of pounds? Does he also agree that this new Government's empowerment of individuals and communities is a much more sensible way forward?

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Photo of Steve Webb Steve Webb The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

Yes, the hon. Gentleman is right. We want to see an end to top-down, "Whitehall knows best" government. We want to see local communities and voluntary groups empowered and enabled to provide tailored solutions for individuals and local communities.

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Photo of Kerry McCarthy Kerry McCarthy Opposition Assistant Whip (Commons), Shadow Minister (Work and Pensions)

Labour in government had planned and funded 50,000 jobs for older people in areas of high unemployment and high deprivation under the future jobs fund. Will the Minister confirm how many of those jobs will be scrapped and what, if anything, will be put in their place?

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Photo of Steve Webb Steve Webb The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

As the hon. Lady knows, jobs that are already contractually bound will go ahead. However, she falls foul of the old new Labour fallacy-that just because the Government temporarily fund a job, that makes it into a real, lasting job. I am afraid that life is not like that; the Government's payment of a temporary subsidy does not make a permanent job. We will be investing in long-term, sustainable employment, which will benefit older people far more.

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Photo of Gordon Birtwistle Gordon Birtwistle Liberal Democrat, Burnley

My constituents in Burnley suffer more deprivation than most, with areas of high unemployment left to rot by the previous Government. Will the Minister ensure that the Department managing the apprenticeships scheme looks into areas such as Burnley to ensure that they are given a fair chance of providing apprentices for the future?

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Photo of Steve Webb Steve Webb The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

My hon. Friend makes a powerful point. Part of the reason why he is here in this House, apart from his highly effective campaigning, is the record left by the Labour Government in Burnley and similar constituencies. The new apprenticeships will indeed go to areas such as my hon. Friend's constituency, where they will provide training that leads to lasting jobs, which are what we want to be provided.

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