HC Deb 15 April 2002 vol 383 c698W
30. Ms Dari Taylor

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what plans he has to help people back into work in areas of acute social deprivation. [45044]

Mr. Nicholas Brown

Our policies, built on a foundation of a strong and stable economy, are helping people into work in all parts of the country. The New Deals have already helped well over 600,000 people into jobs.

We have introduced Action Teams for Jobs to tackle joblessness in the most employment deprived areas in the country. They are performing well, and by the end of February had helped over 23,700 people into work. Since October 2001 we have increased the number of action teams from 40 to 63. At the same time, we expanded the Stockton action team to cover six new wards, all in my hon. Friend's constituency. This expanded team has already helped over 100 people into work.

Employment Zones are helping long-term unemployed people in deprived areas into work. By the end of December, the 15 zones had helped over 20,800 people into work. We are in the process of extending the existing zones' contracts until March 2004, and are currently fully evaluating zone performance before deciding how to take the initiative further.

This month we have established Jobcentre Plus which will deliver a single, integrated service to benefit claimants of working age right across the country. Jobcentre Plus will provide a responsive, work-focused service, helping people to find jobs and the support to which they are entitled.