HC Deb 07 June 2004 vol 422 c14
8. Ann Coffey (Stockport) (Lab)

What assessment he has made of the contribution of Work Link in Stockport to supporting people with mental health problems to move back into work. [177318]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (Maria Eagle)

Stockport council's Work Link initiative has been providing a well regarded, work-focused service to people with mental health impairments since 1998. I am pleased that Work Link is working closely with Jobcentre Plus and I am confident that their partnership will continue to deliver the intense one-to-one support that has been successful in helping 68 people with mental health impairments into work since 1999.

Ms Coffey

I thank my hon. Friend for that reply. Work Link has been providing employment services to people with severe learning disabilities and mental health problems for several years and has had a remarkable success rate in placing people in work. However, because of changes in the structure of bidding for the European social fund, the long-term financial support for the project is now in doubt. Will my hon. Friend visit Work Link in my constituency, see for herself the excellent services that are being provided, and discuss the possibilities for sustainable, long-term funding to assure the future of the project?

Maria Eagle

I am keen to continue successful partnerships with organisations such as Work Link, which has developed specialist expertise to help many people who have traditionally been ignored by society and written off as incapable of work. I am more than happy to visit Stockport and Work Link as soon as I have the opportunity to do so to discuss those issues with the project's staff.