Government announces £22m European funding to help unemployed

The government has announced £22m of new European funding to improve employment opportunities in the UK and develop people’s work skills.

Some 32 projects which focus on helping disadvantaged groups back to work will receive money from the European Social Fund (ESF), specifically set aside to deliver innovative projects across England. Projects in the current funding round will support older workers and make sure the unemployed get all the help they need to find work.

Employment minister Tony McNulty said: “We want to provide real help for unemployed people. This extra money will support people on their journey back to work and make sure they have the right skills for the jobs available.”

Three of the projects will directly support City Strategy Pathfinders in East London, Tyne and Wear and West London. The Pathfinders are aimed at tackling localised pockets of worklessness.

Projects are expected to start between 1 April and 30 June. Each project is required to work with at least one other EU country to share good practice.

In 2007, the European Social Fund said it would give England £4bn to improve jobs and skills over the next seven years, 50% less than the amount awarded between 2000 and 2006. The fund was set up 50 years ago to improve employment opportunities in the European Union.

Meanwhile, the Scottish government has secured £5.6m funding from the ESF to help workers strengthen their existing skills, boost employability and help Scottish businesses survive the downturn. The funding will be allocated to 33 projects across the Highlands and Islands, and is expected to benefit up to 7,000 workers.

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