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House of Commons Hansard
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Unemployment: Coatbridge
11 November 2009
Volume 499
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To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent steps her Department has taken to reduce levels of unemployment in Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill constituency. [296525]

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Jobcentre Plus has recruited 140 new staff in Lanarkshire and East Dunbartonshire district on fixed term appointments to deal with the rising number of customers claiming jobseeker’s allowance and to support these customers back into work as quickly as possible.

In addition, we have quadrupled the funds for the Rapid Response Service from £3 million in 2008-09 to £6 million and to £12 million in 2009-10 and 2010-11, extending the service into all areas affected by large scale redundancies or cumulative redundancies.

Jobcentre Plus offers pre-unemployment assistance and Partnership Action for Continuing Employment (PACE) redundancy support. Lanarkshire has been heavily hit by redundancies and there have been numerous companies supported from February 2008 to date, including 16 companies in July and August alone.

For the newly unemployed, we have significantly increased funding to maintain and increase support through Jobcentre Plus. As well as help and advice to find a new job and access to thousands of vacancies, the newly unemployed now have access to help to meet expenses involved in finding work through the Adviser Discretionary Fund and help to find work through local employment partnerships.

Everyone reaching six months unemployed from 6 April onwards will receive significant extra support from Jobcentre Plus employment advisers.

This new package of support will involve extended meetings every four weeks or so to discuss the best strategies for finding work, including access to recruitment subsidies, new training places, volunteering and help to take up self-employment.

The six-month-unemployed employer subsidy of £1,000 is designed to help improve the job prospects of customers who have been claiming jobseeker’s allowance for six months or more. All eligible customers in the constituency area are being issued with the employer subsidy voucher to self-market at any interviews they may attend. Employers are being marketed extensively to alert them to the Recruitment Subsidy which, for eligible customers, attracts further funding for training.

Flexible new deal was launched in Lanarkshire and East Dunbartonshire on 5 October. Flexible new deal is designed to ensure a unified approach for all jobseekers, whatever their age, skills or barriers to work. At the 12 month stage of unemployment customers receive more flexible and personalised help, which is delivered by contracted providers, dependent on customer needs and local labour market requirements.

The £1 billion Future Jobs Fund, part of the Young Persons Guarantee announced in the Budget, will create new jobs for the long-term unemployed, particularly young adults and those in unemployment hotspots. This initiative will create 150,000 jobs of which 100,000 are targeted at young adults and 50,000 focused on unemployment hotspots.

While there are no specific bids to the fund for Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill constituency, North Lanarkshire council was successful in a bid that will create 1,080 jobs, of which 390 jobs are being created between October 2009 and March 2010. This includes jobs in Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill constituency. National bids will also create additional jobs in this area.

In September we announced the Backing Young Britain campaign, £40 million of funding for new internships and work placements for graduates and 10,000 places for non-graduates, a new mentoring network to help young people find their feet in a tough jobs market and more help from day one of unemployment through job clubs and one to one support. Business, charities and public sector employers are being called upon to join the 280 organisations already signed up to the Backing Young Britain campaign.

There is a wide range of training courses (including part time and evening study) available from Jobcentre Plus, local colleges and other providers. Training will be focused to meet both the individual's work aspirations and the needs of the local job market.

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To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent steps her Department has taken to assist unemployed people seeking work-related training and education in Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill constituency. [296527]

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In the Lanarkshire and East Dunbartonshire area we have received 200 applications for help from the Rapid Response Fund to provide additional training and education support by way of skills analysis and job focused training. Of these, 90 people have been helped since April 2009 and we are currently processing the remaining applications.

In Lanarkshire we expect to have approximately 110-150 vacancies each month in the first six months of the Future Jobs Fund. The Future Jobs Fund is a part of the Young Person’s Guarantee and from early 2010, everyone between the ages of 18 and 24 who has been looking for work for a year will get an offer of a job, work experience, or training lasting at least six months. We are currently advertising 136 Future Jobs Fund vacancies across Lanarkshire to 18 to 24-year-olds.

In addition to helping young people, the Future Jobs Fund can also help in unemployment hotspots. In the first round of bids for Future Jobs Fund, North Lanarkshire council, which covers the constituency area and further, has guaranteed 440 jobs, 90 of which are targeted to unemployment hotspot areas and therefore are open to people in those areas aged 25 plus. Looking ahead to 2011, a further 119 jobs will be made available to unemployment hot spot areas.

Overall responsibility for adult training in Scotland rests with the Scottish Government and is delivered by Skills Development Scotland is ongoing under Work Focused Training with local colleges and Skills Development Scotland to develop job focused training relevant to the local labour market. Jobcentre Plus in Lanarkshire and East Dunbartonshire has an excellent working relationship with Skills Development Scotland. We work together to ensure that the budget for this operational year is focused on providing the right training to assist our customers to secure employment.

The Community Taskforce is due for launch early 2010. Tenders to deliver this work will be assessed in November. This will involve 13 week work placements for 18 to 24-year-olds, aimed at enhancing their skills and experience.

Excellent partnership arrangements have been set up across Lanarkshire through the group Routes to Inclusion. Members of the group include officials from the two local authorities, Jobcentre Plus, local colleges, NHS and Skills Development Scotland. Jobcentre Plus is chair of this group and the agenda is focused on helping people back to work and making the most of funding that is available.