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Welfare To Work

Volume 301: debated on Thursday 27 November 1997

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24.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent representations he has received about his welfare to work strategy. [16608]

35.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what discussions he has had with industry about his welfare to work strategy. [16619]

The participation of employers is crucial to the success of the welfare to work initiative. Since I launched the New Deal for unemployed people at a business breakfast at No. 11, the Government have had extensive contacts with a wide range of employers— nationally and locally—in small firms and large—and in every sector of the economy and every region of the country.The response and good will have been extremely encouraging. Sainsburys, Tesco, BT, Lloyds Bank, Ford, Rover, Marks and Spencer, Unipart, WH Smith—and many others—are coming up with ways that they can help the New Deal.They realise that helping the unemployed people move from welfare to work is in the interest of business as well as the unemployed people themselves. It is only by helping to improve skills and employability, that we can address the long-standing weaknesses of our economy and allow businesses to thrive.