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New Deal (Leicester)

Volume 403: debated on Monday 14 April 2003

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7.

If he will make a statement about progress with the new deal in Leicester. [108711]

The new deals are performing well in Leicester. Up to the end of last year, more than 4,000 people in the city had moved into work through new deals, including 1,200 in my hon. Friend's constituency.

Is my right hon. Friend aware of the success of a company called Business2Business, which provides ethnic minority projects under the new deal and has taken on 800 clients since it began? Does he agree that the best way to deliver the new deal to the ethnic minority communities is to ensure that organisations within the communities are used so that they can fully engage with their potential clients? Will he come to Leicester to see our success?

My hon. Friend makes an important point in a powerful way. I am aware of the work carried out by the minority ethnic outreach providers. It is a relatively new initiative and is having an impact. The House might be interested to hear some examples of the work undertaken by the providers. They include holding surgeries in mosques to attract a wider range of people from minority ethnic communities and working in partnership with good employers, such as Sainsbury's, by having a stall within the shopping area to incorporate discussion of outreach services, but more needs to be done. I am happy to take up my hon. Friend's invitation to visit Leicester to see at first hand what is being done there and to discuss with the minority communities what more they believe we could and should do.