THE HOUSE: Young desert New Deal

THE GOVERNMENT'S flagship New Deal programme came under renewed attack yesterday when latest figures showed that 6,600 young people had deserted the scheme. Andrew Smith, the Employment minister, told MPs that more than 600 New Deal claimants aged between 18 and 24 had their benefit cut for not turning up to an interview.

Damien Green, the Tories' employment spokesman, said that the statistics proved that young people were increasingly disillusioned with the scheme.