§ Mrs. Gillian Shephard
I am pleased to announce that the Employment Service—ES—achieved excellent results in 1995–96. It has met or exceeded all but two of its targets this year, giving record levels of help to unemployed people. I have today placed a copy of the ES's annual report and accounts in the Library. It shows that over 1.93 million unemployed people were placed into work, of whom almost 566,000 had been out of64W work for six months or more. They exceeded their targets for placing people with disabilities and people in inner cities.
I want the ES to continue to work as hard this year, as it has an important part to play in the successful delivery of the jobseeker's allowance. I have set the ES targets for 1996–97 that will require it to build on last year's extremely good performance; in the light of the introduction of the jobseeker's allowance in October, they will be especially challenging.
The targets include placing 1.97 million unemployed people into jobs, over 580,000 of whom will have been out of work for six months or more.