(2) what steps she has taken to reduce levels of long-term unemployment in Leeds West constituency since 2001; and if she will make a statement.
As part of the Government's commitment to support people into work, £5 billion has been made available across the UK since November 2008 to offer extra support to jobseekers to help them find work at all stages of their claim.
The Department has quadrupled the available funding for the rapid response service, which provides advice and support to customers facing redundancy. Also, we launched an enhanced offer to all jobseekers at day one of their claim which includes targeted group sessions in jobsearch techniques, access to local employment partnership vacancies and access to help with the costs of getting back to work through the adviser discretionary fund.
At the six-month point in a claim, all jobseekers now have access to a substantial package of extra support including recruitment subsidies, work-focused training places, volunteering opportunities and support to become self-employed.
In addition, 18-24 year olds in Leeds West who have been claiming jobseeker's allowance for six months or more have access to the new deal for young people, and customers aged 25 and over who have been unemployed for 18 months continuously or for 18 out of the last 21 months or more have access to the New Deal 25 Plus programme.
The new flexible new deal and supporting interventions, which build on the success of the New Deal programmes, will be introduced in Leeds West from April 2010.
The Government have also targeted significant new resource on young people in recognition of the particular challenges young people face during a recession. These measures are designed to prevent, wherever possible, young people experiencing prolonged spells of unemployment early in their working lives.
On 29 July 2009, the Government launched a campaign called “Backing Young Britain”, calling on businesses, charities and government bodies to create more opportunities for young people, such as internships, work experience placements, links to mentors and apprenticeships. Almost 18,000 graduate internships have already become available across the UK and thousands more opportunities will follow early in 2010. Over 470 organisations are supporting the campaign, with numbers growing all the time.
Furthermore, on 25 January 2010, the Government launched the “Young Person's Guarantee”, meaning all 18-24 year olds who have been claiming jobseeker's allowance for six months are now guaranteed a job, work placement or work-related skills training.
Leeds is already benefiting from successful future jobs fund bids from Leeds City council and Yorkshire and the Humber Regional Forum Ltd, which will create up to 734 jobs in the Leeds area.
In addition, we are introducing access to a named personal adviser to all young people from day one of their claim. This will be available to all from April.