Whitehall fails to employ New Deal trainees

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The Independent Online
THE GOVERNMENT was accused of undermining its ownNew Deal programme yesterday as figures showed that Whitehall departments had taken on only tiny numbers of jobless young people.

The Department of Culture, Media and Sport employs no "New Dealers", while there are just two at International Development.

Under the scheme, under-24 year-olds who have been on the Jobseeker's Allowance for more than six months must enter full-time education and training, an environment taskforce or a voluntary organisation.

Funded by the windfall tax on utilities, the Government claims the project has cut youth unemployment. But critics claim the private sector is unhappy with the quality of trainees, and the Whitehall figures show that few departments are taking on large numbers.

The Lord Chancellor's Department, the Home Office and the Foreign Office each took on just three unemployed 18 to 24-year-olds as part of the scheme.

The Treasury and the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food had five trainees each, while the Ministry of Defence had 17. The department with the best record was the Northern Ireland Office, which has nearly 10 per cent of its staff taken from the trainees.

The Department for Education and Employment, which runs the scheme, was second best, with 365 New Dealers.

John Bercow, Shadow Employment Minister, said the figures highlighted the hollowness of ministers' personal commitment to the programme: "This proves the breathtaking hypocrisy of New Labour. They tell the private sector to take on New Dealers but spurn the chance to employ them in public service," he said.

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