Stricter New Deal set to herald full employment

The
Government has pledged to achieve full employment with a tougher version of the
New Deal that aims to lower skills shortages.

It
is keen to tackle pockets of long-term unemployment with the loss of benefits for
those older than 25 who refuse jobs or training.

Also
from April, lone mothers of children older than five receiving unemployment
benefit will be required to attend interviews with personal advisers to help
them find work.

Unemployed
people who find new work will receive job grants of £100 when they secure new
jobs.

Denise
Brogan, colleague relations manager at Asda, welcomed the New Deal update.

She
said, “We support any initiative that helps us recruit new colleagues.”

The
previous New Deal helped Asda recruit older workers in towns including
Harrogate, Yorkshire, and Broadstairs, Kent.

But
some companies were concerned that previous New Deal recruits lacked basic
skills (Personnel Today, 5 September 2000).

Tony
Blair pledged to spend an extra £200 million on the initiative, which the
Government believes has helped more than 250,000 people back into work.

Companies,
including financial giant Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, Asda, Tesco and NHS
trusts, have agreed to take on trainees from the scheme.

The
announcements came in the week when the number of people claiming unemployment
benefit dipped below one million for the first time since 1975.

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