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Rural Support

Volume 455: debated on Monday 8 January 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what programmes his Department operates to make particular provision in rural areas; and what the cost of such programmes is expected to be in 2007-08. (108258)

Our welfare to work programmes are delivered primarily at local level through Jobcentre Plus and local partnerships and are generally tailored to meet the particular needs of individuals. Additional support is targeted at those areas in greatest need, with the lowest employment rates, regardless of whether they are in urban or rural locations.

We have recently introduced the Deprived Area Fund (DAF) which is a flexible discretionary fund targeting the most disadvantaged wards, some of which include rural areas. This initiative is intended to feed into our Public Service Agreement target of increasing the employment rate in the 903 wards with the worst initial labour market position. The fund is given to local Jobcentre Plus districts to tackle the particular employment problems faced by their communities and the individuals living within them.

Information on the costs of providing such programmes in rural areas alone could be provided only at disproportionate cost.