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Welfare to Work

Volume 474: debated on Monday 31 March 2008

The city strategy pathfinders are committed to increasing employment in their area, and have agreed targets for the client groups on which they concentrate. The pathfinders have now moved into the delivery phase, and are rolling out their business plans.

Does the Secretary of State agree that local strategic partnerships have an important role in bringing together health, skills, children’s services, and communities and neighbourhoods? Does he agree that such linking and joined-up work is necessary at national level too, involving Departments other than his own and relating to housing in particular? The new proposals to enable single parents in socially registered housing who are using the Foyer scheme to return to work is one of the most important initiatives that I hope the Secretary of State will be able to encourage—and will he also ensure that he makes the time to visit Nottingham?

As my hon. Friend knows, I am looking forward to visiting Nottingham on 22 April. He is right in saying that local strategic partnerships have a key role to play. I congratulate him on his own role as chair of his local strategic partnership, which is one of the leading partnerships in implementing our employment city strategy. He is also right in saying that we need to work closely with other Departments at national level. That is why we introduced the working neighbourhood fund, which brings together funding from my Department and from the Department for Communities and Local Government so that with a single fund we can target the problem together.