Work and pensions secretary Peter Hain calls on employers to hire long-term unemployed

Work and pensions secretary Peter Hain spelled out the benefits of hiring the long-term unemployed as eight more firms signed up to Local Employment Partnerships (LEP) on Tuesday.

Hain called on more employers to join the scheme, which sees them agree to offer job interviews and placements to unemployed people specially prepared for work by Jobcentre Plus.

Hain said that companies benefited not just by filling vacancies – but by gaining keen workers with good attendance figures.

“There are many employers who tell me they prefer to recruit from the benefits queue as those people have been given skills and job preparation, and also are so keen to work that their sickness rates are low, and they stay with the company longer. They are also often from the local community.”

Companies including construction firm Skanska, hotel chain Jury’s Inn and recruitment agency Randstad Inhouse Services signed LEPs at an event in east London yesterday.

This took the total number of London firms that have signed up to the scheme to 68, while Hain said that 70 more signatures were in the pipeline. More than 250 companies have committed to LEPs across the UK.

The government wants LEPs to get 250,000 people back into work by the end of 2010 as it works towards full employment.

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