Local councils to gain share of £1.5bn to get long-term unemployed back into work

Local councils are to share a new £1.5bn fund as part of a government drive to get long-term unemployed people back into work.

Local government minister John Healey announced that 66 local and 21 transitional authorities will receive a share of the Working Neighbourhoods Fund to develop more ‘community-led’ approaches to getting people in the most deprived areas of England back to work.

Allocations are based in part on a comprehensive mapping of prosperity and deprivation across England, the new Indices of Multiple Deprivation 2007.

This data shows that 20% of men and women living in the most deprived one-fifth of areas are not in work.

As part of a new approach, local areas that successfully turn around long-term unemployment will receive financial rewards. There will be at least a £50m package of incentives and rewards for councils that boost employment levels.

Healey said: “Through the new Working Neighbourhoods Fund we want councils and communities to work together to develop innovative ways of getting more people into work.

“Whether this is setting up job advice skills schemes in community settings like libraries, stepping up outreach schemes in council estates, or ‘in-work’ community support and skill schemes to end the ‘revolving door’ of worklessness – what matters is what works.”

The total fund of £1.5bn will be allocated over the next three years, with more than £450m in 2008-09, and £500m in 2009-10 and 2010-11.

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