HC Deb 08 February 2001 vol 362 cc1067-8
13. Mr. Desmond Browne (Kilmarnock and Loudoun)

How many more people are working in the construction industry as a result of the new deal. [147918]

The Minister for Employment, Welfare to Work and Equal Opportunities (Ms Tessa Jowell)

Twelve thousand bricklayers, plasterers, roofers and other construction workers have found jobs in industry, helped by the new deal. A construction taskforce is identifying further opportunities and ways in which the new deal can assist in meeting skills shortages in the construction industry.

Mr. Browne

I thank my right hon. Friend for her reply and invite her to join me in congratulating the Employment Service and its partners which have, through the new deal action team for jobs pilot in east Ayrshire, secured, in six months, more than 230 new jobs for people who would otherwise have been in long-term unemployment. Many of those jobs are in the construction industry, and the figure represents 20 per cent. of the registered unemployed in the areas covered by the pilot.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the simple fact of the Employment Service paying for training for the CITB—Construction Industry Training Board—roadworks and street certificate is daily helping people who would otherwise be unskilled to get available jobs in the construction industry? Will she confirm that that type of targeted investment in skills will be expanded by the Government? I urge her to extend that pilot project to my whole constituency.

Ms Jowell

I thank my hon. Friend for his comments and for his support for the action team for jobs in his constituency—one of the pathfinders. There are now 40 action teams for jobs helping unemployed people back to work in some of the most disadvantaged communities in the country. Yes, I can promise that efforts will be redoubled to strengthen the links with the construction industry in my hon. Friend's constituency. That industry has been a valued partner in the work of the action team.