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Employment Schemes: Financial Services

Volume 506: debated on Wednesday 24 February 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) whether her Department operates programmes to assist workers made redundant from the financial services sector to find employment; (315898)

(2) how much her Department has spent on measures to fund employment for workers previously employed in the financial services sector in the last 12 months; and what steps it has taken to that end.

The Government are taking decisive steps to tackle the effects of the recession and reduce unemployment and are committed to helping every unemployed person return to work.

While we do not operate programmes specifically aimed at supporting redundant workers from the financial services sector, we have made available up to £5 billion, since November 2008, to offer a substantial package of new back to work support to all jobseekers, irrespective of their background, throughout their time on jobseeker’s allowance.

We have quadrupled funding to the Rapid Response Service which provides support to employees under threat of redundancy, helping them to find new employment quickly.

We have also significantly increased the funding to maintain and increase the existing support that is available to newly unemployed claimants through Jobcentre Plus and its external partners. As well as help with jobsearch, skills and access to basic skills training, newly unemployed people now have day one access to Local Employment Partnership vacancies, help to meet the expenses involved in finding work and, for some, access to Work Trials.

In April 2009, we strengthened this support by introducing group jobsearch sessions specifically targeted at newly unemployed people, as well as specialist back to work support for newly unemployed professionals and executives, delivered through recruitment agencies. We built on this in the recent White Paper “Building Britain’s Recovery: Achieving Full Employment”, and from spring 2010, we will be strengthening the support offered to professional customers by offering further access to a follow-up session with these agencies to maintain the momentum of their journey back to work.

Further back to work support is available to all jobseekers throughout their claim and the longer somebody is on jobseeker’s allowance, the more support they can get. This currently includes access to recruitment subsidies, self-employment support, work focused training and volunteering at six months and more intensive personalised support from external providers later in a claim.

There is also a substantial package of support available to 18 to 24-year-olds to help them get back to work which includes a guarantee of a job, work focused training or work experiences at the six month stage in a claim.