§ Mr. Forth
A prior options review of the Employment Service was completed in March this year. This concluded that the agency has significantly improved its performance since 1990; that it has a very important part to play in the effective operation of the labour market; and that it will perform a crucial role in implementing the jobseeker's allowance, which will be introduced next year. I refer the hon. Member to the reply given to the hon. Member for Colchester, South and Maldon (Mr. Whittingdale) on 29 March 1995,Official Report, columns 641–42, by my right hon. Friend the former Secretary of State for Employment. This set out the Government's response to the review in full and confirmed the agency status of the ES.
The ES, as part of the Department for Education and Employment, will provide as key element in our policies to improve competitiveness relating to the work force. By bringing together active labour market policy, education and training into one Department, we will build on the achievements in recent years which have helped to reduce unemployment.