§ 6. Mr. Sweeney
To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what assessment she has made of the performance of job clubs in Wales.
§ Mr. Michael Forsyth
The job club programme is very effective in helping long-term unemployed people in Wales. In the last year, job clubs in Wales have helped nearly 12,000 people, the majority of whom have found work as a result, with others going on to training, further education or self-employment.
§ Mr. Sweeney
Will my hon. Friend join me in congratulating those who operate the job clubs on their success? Does he agree that the effectiveness of their work is vital in maintaining the morale of those who become unemployed?
§ Mr. Forsyth
I am very happy to join my hon. Friend in congratulating those who run the job clubs. Eighty per cent. of the clubs have been contracted out to private-sector organisations, and approximately 53 per cent. of the people participating in job clubs in Wales are going on to employment, with a further 14 per cent. going into further education, training or self-employment. That is one reason why we will be expanding the number of job club places by some 75,000 during the next year.
§ Mr. Wigley
Does not the Minister realise that what we need in Wales are not job clubs, but jobs themselves? Does he not recognise that, in the old coal-mining areas and the old slate quarrying areas, we have long-term unemployment among the under-25s? What is he going to do to provide jobs for those people, rather than the apology provided by his job club regime?
§ Mr. Forsyth
If the hon. Gentleman had been listening, he would have heard that job clubs are singularly successful, in placing people in work, particularly in Wales. The hon. Gentleman should also know that more than 80 per cent. of people placed in jobs by job clubs are filling vacancies which have not been advertised through jobcentres.
The hon. Gentleman ought to be a little less gloomy. The facts are that, in the last year, manufacturing output is up, exports are up, investment is up and real incomes are up. The hon. Gentleman really ought to cheer up and give credit where credit is due.