HC Deb 21 October 2002 vol 391 c108W
Ann Coffey

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make a statement on the Progress 2 Work Scheme for recovering drug mis-users. [73078]

Mr. Nicholas Brown

We are introducing progress2work to give unemployed people who are recovering from their drug problem the extra help they need to get into work.

Progress2work provides additional specialist support to help recovering drug users to make the best use of our welfare to work initiatives. It will also equip Jobcentre Plus staff with the skills and knowledge they need to better identify, and refer to appropriate provision, people whose drug misuse puts them at a disadvantage in the labour market. And it will bring more local and national co-ordination to provision in this field.

We launched the first progress2work projects in the spring in 27 pathfinder areas throughout the country. The second phase of the initiative begins in a further 36 areas from this month, and we plan to roll out the programme nationally from next year.

Lawrie Quinn

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what help he will give to people considered by employers to be unemployable. [73087]

Mr. Nicholas Brown

We are committed to the goal of employment opportunity for all. Building on a foundation of a strong and stable economy, we have introduced measures to ensure that everyone of working age has the chance, and is encouraged, to be in work.

In April we launched Jobcentre Plus to deliver work focused support for all people claiming working age benefits. Jobcentre Plus will provide a single, integrated service, providing people with the help they need to move into work, and working closely with employers to encourage them to open up more job opportunities to Jobcentre Plus clients.

Our New Deals are providing the help people need to overcome the barriers they face when trying to move into work. The New Deals have already helped nearly three-quarters of a million people move into work and improved the job prospects of thousands more by giving them the skills, experience and confidence to succeed in the labour market.

We are also introducing further measures to help those people who continue to face significant barriers to work. For example: we are introducing 20 StepUP pilots to provide transitional jobs for long-term unemployed people; we will shortly roll out the second phase of progress2work, providing recovering drug mis-users with the extra help they need to get into work; and later this month we will begin piloting extra support for other disadvantaged groups such as ex-offenders and homeless people.

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