Skip to main content

Future Jobs Fund

Volume 503: debated on Wednesday 6 January 2010

7. What recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on the progress of the future jobs fund in Wales. (308876)

The £1 billion future jobs fund is already creating 4,300 jobs where they are needed most in Wales, including through the successful Merthyr Tydfil borough council bid, which alone will create more than 700 jobs in Merthyr and the nearby communities, helping many of my hon. Friend’s young constituents to find jobs.

I thank my right hon. Friend for that answer, which is in stark contrast to the abandonment of young people in the valleys by the Tories in previous recessions. What discussions will he have about economic regeneration and training opportunities to consolidate those that are available, so that the future jobs fund becomes an opportunity for future employment?

I applaud my hon. Friend’s diligent application in supporting his constituents and his expert knowledge of the schemes. I am happy to continue to explore ways in which we can take them forward—they matter so much to Merthyr and areas such as my constituency. I agree with my hon. Friend: I do not understand how the Leader of the Opposition can want to stop the future jobs fund and prevent funding from coming in to support young people, thus condemning them to the misery and unemployment that they suffered in the 1980s and 1990s under a Tory Government. That would be repeated if the right hon. Gentleman got power.

Despite the benefits of the future jobs fund—I pay tribute to it for the jobs that have been created in my constituency—45 per cent. of those unemployed are under 25. Does the Secretary of State share the concerns of the Prince’s Trust about opportunities for young entrepreneurs to create businesses and jobs for the future?

I very much agree with the hon. Gentleman. As he knows, one of the future jobs fund schemes is in Ceredigion. The Prince’s Trust does fantastic work in Wales and elsewhere, and we should support its efforts to encourage young entrepreneurs to get themselves out of the crisis. That said, because of active Labour Government investment and the policies that we have pursued, youth unemployment is a third lower than it was in the early 1990s under the Tories. [Interruption.]

Order. There is still far too much noise in the Chamber. It is unfair to hon. Members asking questions and, indeed, to Ministers answering them.