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CHANCELLOR EMBARKS ON TOUR OF UNEMPLOYMENT BLACKSPOTS

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Gordon Brown, the chancellor, will embark on a two-week tour of unemployment blackspots tomorrow to carry the messa...
Gordon Brown, the chancellor, will embark on a two-week tour of unemployment blackspots tomorrow to carry the message that enterprise and hard work - not handouts - are the answer to their problems, reports The Financial Times (p2).

At the same time, the chancellor is working on measures to stimulate enterprise in the poorest regions. Treasury source say this will involve a range of new steps, 'some of them nitty-gritty', in the 21 March Budget and beyond.

Mr Brown will publish a study of regional employment and job vacancies. It will show there are job vacancies even in areas of high unemployment. Officials estimate there are more than one million vacancies in the economy, just below the 1.1 million receiving unemployment benefit.

The FT also says that Mr Brown is planning extra funding for the most deprived areas. The cash would be directed towards depressed areas to help improve health and educational facilities as part of the forthcoming spending review.

Councils and health authorities receiving the cash would have to prove they are using the money effectively to narrow the gap between the haves and have nots.

A Whitehall souce said some resources should be diverted from better-off areas into rundown neighbourhoods.

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