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Ice and Snow

Volume 503: debated on Thursday 14 January 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if she will hold a consultation on the merits of using unemployed people to clear snow from outside the homes of disabled people; and if she will make a statement. (310654)

The Government have already put in place a number of programmes in which unemployed people undertake work experience and volunteering placements that deliver benefit to the community. However, the overriding aim of these programmes is always to provide activities that will equip jobseekers with the right skills and experience to help them move back into work.

Through our New Deal programmes, many thousands of jobseekers have been involved in activities that have delivered benefit to their local community or the environment. The Community Task Force, due to be launched at the end of this month as part of the Young Person's Guarantee, will match young unemployed people to work experience placements that deliver community benefit.

And in April last year, we launched a scheme to match jobseekers who have been unemployed for six months to relevant work-focussed volunteering opportunities, many of which also deliver environmental or community benefit.

We do not specify the exact nature of the placements that should be delivered through these programmes, rather ask providers to match jobseekers with placements that will best equip them to return to work. It is possible that activities such as snow clearance could be included in a programme of community works at a local level, but this would depend on local conditions and providers' view of the activities that best suit their client group.