HC Deb 25 June 1997 vol 296 cc551-2W
Ms Hewitt

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what will be the minimum period of unemployment which will qualify lone parents under the age of 25 years for inclusion in the welfare-to-work programme. [4841]

Mr. Alan Howarth

We will offer young people aged 18–24 (including lone parents), who have been unemployed for six months or more, a choice of high quality options designed to help them into work. These include a job, the chance to train, or an opportunity to work in the voluntary sector or on the Environmental Task Force.

We also propose to offer lone parents who are on income support, regardless of age, a package of Employment Service guidance and support in their search for work once their youngest child reaches the second term of full-time education.

Ms Hewitt

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if, as part of the Welfare to Work programme, he will assess the advantages of introducing, on a pilot basis, social enterprise zones to promote new approaches to generating sustainable employment in disadvantaged communities. [5064]

Mr. Howarth

We are currently working to implement our manifesto commitment to introduce Employment Zones in areas of high unemployment. By encouraging innovative approaches to bringing together and making more coherent different streams of help and funding currently available, Employment Zones will greatly benefit long-term unemployed people and their communities.