HC Deb 15 October 2001 vol 372 cc915-6
10. Ms Dari Taylor (Stockton South)

What proportion of people on the new deal for 18 to 24-year-olds, who were referred to drug rehabilitation centres in the last 12 months, went on to full-time employment in the north-east region. [3585]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (Malcolm Wicks)

More than 25,000 young people in the north-east have moved into jobs through the new deal. Separate data on the number of them who attended drug rehabilitation centres are not collected. However, we are committed to helping people with drug problems overcome them and move into work. We are therefore launching a £40 million programme of support for drug misusers early next year.

Ms Taylor

I thank my hon. Friend for that reply, but may I say to him that this is a very serious problem in the north-east and, particularly, in my constituency of Stockton, South? In what way does his Department work with the Home Office and the Cabinet Office to ensure that we put together a joined-up strategy so that young people and older people who are drug addicts know that there is help for them and—more important than just help—that there is pride at the end of the line because they will have a job?

Malcolm Wicks

We know that this is a serious problem in most constituencies and that it is complicated. That is why the Government have a joined-up approach across Whitehall. This Department's contribution is a £40 million programme to help to identify those who are drug misusers and bring into the community a co-ordinator to get the services working together, and with the voluntary sector. My hon. Friend is right: we need to work across Whitehall—starting, of course, with young people in our schools.