Retail union Usdaw is backing Labour’s New Deal programme because, it says, it has put a million people back into work and created job opportunities for shop workers in the UK.
As the election campaign hots up, both the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats have said they will scrap the New Deal, which gives people claiming benefits the help and support to look for work, including training and job preparation.
The Conservatives say they will create and alternative programme called Work First, which would put an end to “so-called training schemes which play such a cruel trick on the young unemployed by raising their hopes of a job only then to dash them again”.
The Liberal Democrats say they would would refocus the £750m annual New Deal budget into “support for those who need most help in accessing the job market”.
John Hannett, Usdaw general secretary, said Conservative and Liberal Democrat plans would “wreck the retail sector where big and small companies have had great success using this innovative initiative to give people real hope of real jobs”.
“Our members work side by side with people who have come through the New Deal and understand how it actually works in the real world,” he said.
However, he warned that Usdaw was committed to making sure Labour lives up to its promise to extend the New Deal to an extra million people.