HC Deb 28 January 2002 vol 379 cc1-2
1. Kevin Brennan (Cardiff, West)

What measures he will take to assist the hardest-to-help unemployed into work in Cardiff, West. [28137]

The Minister for Work(Mr. Nicholas Brown)

We have introduced a range of initiatives that are helping disadvantaged groups to move from welfare into work in all parts of the country. In Cardiff, West, long-term unemployment has fallen by over two thirds, and long-term youth unemployment by three quarters, since 1997.

Part of the Cardiff, West constituency will also be one of the areas covered by our new pilot programme, StepUp, to be launched in April. StepUp will provide transitional jobs to act as a stepping stone for some of the hardest-to-help unemployed people moving from benefits into work.

Kevin Brennan

I thank my right hon. Friend for his answer and, in particular, for the pilot scheme that the Government will run in my constituency to help the unemployed.

Does my right hon. Friend recognise that even in areas such as Cardiff, a vibrant, prosperous city with a tremendous economic record under the present Government, there are still hard-core, long-term unemployed people who are difficult to assist, and who really need that helping hand into the job market? Can he assure me that the jobs that will be available under the StepUp programme will be of good quality, so that people are encouraged to enter the labour market permanently once those jobs have ended?

Mr. Brown

Yes, I can. A range of jobs will be available to each client, and will be guaranteed for up to a year. It will be real work, and people will be paid at least the minimum wage. They will be employed, as opposed to on a scheme, and the Department will work with individual clients to ensure that these opportunities lead to further, permanent employment.

Forward to