Prime minister Gordon Brown marks 10-year success of New Deal getting jobless into work

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has praised the success of the New Deal, initiated 10 years ago to modernise the welfare system.

Since its launch in 1998 the scheme has helped 1.8 million people to move from benefits into jobs, representing one person every three minutes.

The New Deal programme offers a mix of skills training, work experience and advice to help those who have been out of work for six months or more.

Brown said the next challenge for the government was to help people find new skills to assist them in finding a decent job.

He said: “This week marks 10 years of the New Deal, a time for celebration of what has been achieved but also a time for looking ahead to the next 10 years of labour market reform.

“In the old days, the problem may have been unemployment, but in the next decades it will be employability. If in the old days lack of jobs demanded priority action, in the new world it is lack of skills. And that means that our whole approach to welfare must move on,” Brown said.

A number of national newspapers reported that cash incentives would be offered to New Deal participants who complete training to improve their skills, but Brown made no reference to this in his speech.

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