HC Deb 17 July 2003 vol 409 c561W
Mr. Sanders

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what proposals he has for addressing seasonal unemployment fluctuations in seaside towns; and if he will make a statement. [124772]

Mr. Browne

In a dynamic economy, like the UK, jobs begin and end frequently and we cannot legislate to prevent change. Seaside towns suffer more seasonal fluctuation, but this can be reduced over time as broader employment bases are established. However, where there are job losses, the people affected need help and support to find a new job as quickly as possible—whatever part of the economy they work in.

Jobcentre Plus is providing everyone of working age with advice and guidance on the full range of support available to help them move into work, including where this need is as a result of seasonal fluctuations. For those who need more help, we have introduced a wide range of programmes and initiatives designed to tackle the barriers that can prevent individuals from returning to work. We are making sure that people who become unemployed get back into employment as soon as possible.

These policies have contributed to a reduction in unemployment across the country. For example, in Torbay, 2,277 people have been helped into work through the New Deals and the percentage of the working-age population in Torbay who were unemployed and claiming benefit has fallen from 5.8 per cent. in May 1997 to 2.9 per cent. in May 2003.