HC Deb 26 March 1998 vol 309 c680
15. Mr. Bradshaw

What progress is being made in involving employers in the new deal for the young unemployed. [34908]

Mr. Andrew Smith

The new deal is making good progress on employer involvement. Already, we have signed 2,600 new deal employer agreements, 46 of which are with leading national employers.

Mr. Bradshaw

My right hon. Friend will be aware of some concern in Exeter and east Devon at the time that it has taken to find an appropriate local private sector lead for the new deal. Therefore, I welcome my hon. Friend's announcement today that a company has been appointed, but can he assure me that it will build bridges with the local voluntary, private and statutory sectors to ensure that the new deal is a success in Exeter and east Devon?

Mr. Smith

The company which has been appointed, Action for Employment Ltd., is already the lead private sector body on the South Humber new deal delivery unit, where experience shows that it invests considerable time in building precisely those contacts which are so important. One of the criteria against which it was selected, as were other private sector leads, was its proposals for working in partnership with others in the local community, as is so crucial to the success of the new deal.

Mr. Evans

As the new deal is funded by the one-off windfall tax, how will it be funded once that money is used up? When the minimum wage is introduced, with the resulting shakeout in employment with people being made unemployed, how will the Government make sufficient resources available to meet the costs of all those extra unemployed people so that they, too, can take advantage of the new deal?

Mr. Smith

The new deal is in a much more fortunate position than most Government programmes in having assured funding for the whole of the Parliament, and greater flexibility to deploy funds from one year to the next, as is necessary to deliver the programme with the quality and efficiency which we require. As was clear from the Budget, the Government are about making work pay, and the minimum wage will help with that, just as it will help many other poor people make the transition from welfare to work.