[un-allotted half day] — Unemployment

Part of Opposition Day – in the House of Commons at 2:36 pm on 14th December 2011.

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Photo of Liam Byrne Liam Byrne Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions 2:36 pm, 14th December 2011

That is an extremely serious problem for Birmingham, and my hon. Friend is absolutely right to draw the House’s attention to it, but there is a more widespread problem if the rate of people flowing off benefits into work is not rising. Research by the House of Commons Library for my office, which we are publishing this afternoon, shows that fewer people are flowing from benefits into work than at any point since 1998. That fall coincides with the Government’s decision last year to cancel the flexible new deal and the future jobs fund. Since January, when the future jobs fund ended, the percentage of people flowing off benefits and into work has fallen by a fifth. Between May and August last year, when the new scheme was being worked up, 86,000 fewer people came off benefits and into work than the year before. Surely Government Members would accept that that is simply not good enough.