HC Deb 13 November 1997 vol 300 c1019
1. Ms Julie Morgan

What plans he has to encourage and support voluntary work in the community. [14320]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education and Employment (Mr. Alan Howarth)

We believe strongly in the value of voluntary work. For this reason, we have recently launched a consultation document on millennium volunteers, and we have been working closely with a wide range of voluntary groups to encourage their participation in the new deal for young unemployed people.

Ms Morgan

I thank my hon. Friend for his reply, which I am sure will be welcomed by hon. Members on both sides of the House. How does he propose to link the opportunities to be made available under the new deal and the millennium project with the social exclusion unit and the many young people who have become alienated and disaffected over the past 18 years?

Mr. Howarth

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for the way in which she put her question. There is an enormous problem with the exclusion of young people who have become disaffected and alienated from much of the mainstream of our society. We believe strongly in voluntary work as the most valuable means of strengthening the bonds of our society and creating a society in which all can contribute and all are valued. The voluntary sector option of the new deal and millennium volunteers are distinct programmes, as my hon. Friend knows. Both of them will be of considerable interest to others in the Government who, through the work of the social exclusion unit, will be monitoring and promoting the ways in which we address the problem.