Almost 50,000 people in areas hardest hit by unemployment will
benefit from a radical new scheme that empowers job seekers to take
more control of the process of finding and keeping a suitable job.
unemployed person was twice as likely to find and keep a job if they
were in an Employment Zone than in other comparable areas.
This joined up approach - bringing welfare, training and European
funds together -not only helps the individual, but also the local
economy. For every individual placed in work there is a saving to the
taxpayer of some #4,500 a year on benefits and other costs.
The 15 new Employment Zones - where job seekers can access Personal
Job Accounts worth up to #5,000 in some areas to help them find jobs,
gain the right skills or set up a small firm - were launched by
Secretary of State for Education and Employment David Blunkett at a
conference in London today.
Mr Blunkett said: 'For three years this Government has been fighting
unemployment and we've been getting results not least from the New
'800,000 more people are in work and the New Deal has helped 200,000
people into jobs. Unemployment is at its lowest level for 20 years,
and long-term youth unemployment has halved since 1997.
'But long-term unemployment remains concentrated in relatively small
pockets of the country. It makes sense therefore to focus our efforts
to make the greatest impact in the
areas of greatest need. We believe Employment Zones will provide real
results in unemployment black spots - as the prototype zones have
'By giving people a say as well as the help they need, we will match
them up to lasting jobs. In doing so, we give people who have been
out of work the dignity of a job and the chance once again to support
themselves and their families. And the savings we make on welfare
bills enable us to invest more in schools and hospitals. 'The
Employment Zone programme confirms this Government's commitment to
working at the grass roots level in areas where support is needed the
The Personal Job Accounts will help get job seekers back onto their
feet by using the account in the best possible ways for each
individual - for training, to buy tools, new clothing, transport,
child care or achieving professional registration as a pre-requisite
Most zones will run in partnership with private firms with experience
in the jobs field to tackle the unemployment black spots.
Some Employment Zones contractors will join forces with banks to
introduce new methods of benefit payments and access to an
individual's Personal Job Account. This account will also be used by
employers for payments for wages once the job seeker is employed or
it could be used to help set up a new business.
Working Links - a private/public partnership in nine zones - will
visit local communities and provide subsidised and in some cases free
transport. They will establish websites and internet cafes in many
Reed in Partnership will provide pagers to get messages about job
opportunities to job seekers as soon as they are available. Other
contractors have promised further innovations to identify job
opportunities for as many people as possible.
NOTES TO EDITORS
1. Employment Zones affect individuals who are over 25 and unemployed
for more than 12 months/18 months.
2. The Employment Zones and the organisations that will run them are:
Plymouth Working Links
Southwark Working Links
Brent Working Links
Brighton & Hove Working Links
City of Glasgow Working Links
Heads of the Valleys and Caerphilly Working Links
Tower Hamlets Working Links
Middlesbrough, Redcar & Cleveland Working Links
Haringey Reed in Partnership
Newham Reed in Partnership
Liverpool & Sefton Reed in Partnership
Nottingham City Nottingham Employment Zone
North West Wales North West Wales Partnership
Doncaster Reed in Partnership
3. The Employment Zone initiative will begin on 3 April in Plymouth,
Southwark, Brent, Brighton and Hove, City of Glasgow, Heads of the
Valleys and Caerphilly, Tower Hamlets, Haringey, Newham, Liverpool
and Sefton and Birmingham.
4. The remaining four zones of Nottingham City, Middlesbrough, Redcar
and Cleveland, North West Wales and Doncaster will start on 2 May
5. The Government is committing #112 million over two years to fund
the 15 zones. It pools funds from a range of sources including money
that would have been spent on benefits, training, and employment
services programmes to make existing funds work more effectively to
help individuals into work.
6. The prototype zones were introduced in five areas in February
1998: Plymouth, Liverpool and Sefton, Glasgow, Tees Valley and North
7. The three small development projects, Wembley, Birmingham and
Solihull and Doncaster and Wakefield, began in Autumn 1998.
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