HC Deb 07 May 1998 vol 311 cc851-2
6. Mr. John Bercow (Buckingham)

If he will make a statement on the cost of the new deal in 1998–99. [40038]

The Secretary of State for Education and Employment (Mr. David Blunkett)

The new deal for the young unemployed and adult long-term unemployed men and women is people-focused, so the resources will follow the individual. At the end of this year we will be aware of how many people have been eligible and how many have taken up the guaranteed places that are available—hence we will also know the exact resources that will be spent in the current financial year.

Mr. Bercow

Further to the question from my right hon. Friend the Member for East Devon (Sir P. Emery) and the reply by the Secretary of State, can the right hon. Gentleman explain the bizarre situation in which the 216,000 long-term unemployed people over the age of 25 will receive almost five times less of the new deal money in 1998–9 than the young unemployed, even though there are nearly 100,000 more of them? Does not that show that the Minister for School Standards is not the only Minister who cannot do his sums, and that the problem is endemic throughout the Department?

Mr. Blunkett

The statistics that the hon. Gentleman has just paraded show just how necessary our numeracy task force is for the Opposition as well. At the risk of repetition I might add that I explained in words of one syllable to his right hon. Friend exactly what the situation was. I explained that an additional £450 million was available from mainstream programmes and that it was being applied to older men and women. In the end, the only way to stop long-term adult unemployment is to stop long-term unemployment among those under 25.

Mr. Jim Murphy (Eastwood)

When my right hon. Friend publishes the first annual report on the new deal, will he, as well as publishing the figures on this Government's new deal, set out clearly the facts and figures detailing the Tory's old deal? That old deal promised hopelessness, joblessness, the consequences of crime and much else besides. The annual report must not simply show cold statistics; it must help people to realise the changes that have occurred in real people's lives.

Mr. Blunkett

What a wonderful idea. I thank my hon. Friend for it.

Forward to