HC Deb 31 March 2003 vol 402 c593W
Mr. Hancock

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what data on working age employment rates in each ward of the Portsmouth area informed the selection of wards for employment action team status; and if he will make a statement; [104914]

(2) where peripatetic employment action team advisers are based in the Portsmouth area; how regularly they use these locations; if he will estimate the number of users at each location; and if he will make a statement. [104941]

Mr. Nicholas Brown

Action Teams for Jobs focus on the most disadvantaged jobless people in the most employment deprived areas of the country. They target the wards within these areas which have the lowest overall employment rates and the highest rate of people claiming all benefits.

There are no Action Teams for Jobs based in the Portsmouth area. However, through Jobcentre Plus, we offer a wide range of help for jobless people in the city. For example, the New Deals have helped almost 3,000 people in Portsmouth move from welfare into work. This has played an important part in increasing employment and reducing unemployment in the city. Since 1997, the working age employment rate has risen to over 75 per cent. and remains above the national average, claimant unemployment has been cut by 60 per cent., and the number of people unemployed for 12 months or more has fallen by 90 per cent.