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'HIT SQUADS' WILL TACKLE UNEMPLOYMENT

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A package of measures aimed at tackling unemployment announced yesterday by chancellor Gordon Brown met with a mixe...
A package of measures aimed at tackling unemployment announced yesterday by chancellor Gordon Brown met with a mixed response, reports The Financial Times (p4).

In a speech yesterday, Mr Brown said 'hit squads' of employment advisers would be used to encourage jobless people into work.

But Paul Convery of the Unemployment Unit, the campaigning group, said: 'For a lot of people, if they are only going to be£10 a week better off in a job, they will say, 'is it really worth working really hard for 37 or 40 hours a week?''

And the hit squads, modelled on US policies that use direct persuasion to get people off welfare, may be of only limited effectiveness, the FT says.

'The US evidence, based on very carefully controlled experiments, suggests that putting pressure on people to take jobs is not very effective,' said Andrew Oswald of Warwick University.

Meanwhile, figures released by the treasury yesterday show that there are tens of thousands of vacancies even in areas of relatively high unemployment.

Pockets of high unemployment persist, scattered throughout the county. Even in booming London, there are 10,000 people unemployed in the borough of Haringey, which, at more than 13%, has the highest unemployment rate in the country.

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