UK's Welfare-To-Work "New Deal" backed by 4,000 employers FWD

Tom Boland (
Tue, 19 May 1998 16:12:11 -0700 (PDT)
=46WD  BBC News  UK: Politics - Monday, April 6, 1998


The UK Government's flagship Welfare to Work programme has been backed by
4,000 employers as it is launched nationwide.

More than 118,000 young people will qualify for the New Deal programme,
which aims to prepare the long-term jobless for work.

Speaking at the launch, Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown and
Education and Employment Secretary David Blunkett said trials in 12 areas
had been a huge success.

Mr Blunkett said: "The challenge to end the years of waste and lost
potential that unemployment means is only just beginning. New Deal can, and
will, make a difference to hundreds of thousands of young people over the
next few years."

New Deal aims to prepare the long-term unemployed for work by giving them
up to four months of intensive 'gateway' support.

Advisors will help people deal with problems ranging from a simple lack of
work experience to illiteracy and homelessness.

Some companies will take the young unemployed on subsidised work placements.

Options for the unemployed under New Deal include a job, full-time
education, voluntary work or a place with the planned environmental task
force. Ministers say there is no fifth choice of doing nothing.

=46inanced by =A33.5 billion of the windfall levy on the privatised utilitie=
New Dea is already supported by a host of large employers including Jaguar,
London Transport, Barclays Bank and Peugeot.

Mr Blunkett added: "New Deal is set to revolutionise the path from welfare
to work for the country's young unemployed."

With youth unemployment falling, New Deal will now be expanded to offer
support to the older long-term unemployed, single parents and the disabled.

Ministers hope this expansion will prove one of the successes of Labour's
Welfare-to-Work plans.

Ministers sign-up

Employment Minister Andrew Smith and Education Minister Baroness Blackstone
have taken on one youngster each in their private offices to help with
administrative duties.

The Treasury is also due to hire a jobless youngster in the next few days
under the jobs programme.

Critics say that despite the good intentions, New Deal cannot create jobs
which do not already exist.

But more than 14,000 New Deal jobs have been pledged by employers willing
to take people on.

Liberal Democrat employment and training spokesman Paul Keetch warned the
government could see real jobs being replaced with subsidised placements.

"The New Deal could seriously threaten the jobs and livelihoods of
thousands of workers across the country," he said.

"If the Employment Service are worried about this, then the Government
should be as well."


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