Windfall tax plan to pay for bigger back-to-work scheme
Monday 23 February 1998
Andrew Smith, the employment minister, said: "We are considering whether it would be possible to broaden the general approach." And David Blunkett, Secretary of State for Education and Employment, said the Chancellor had indicated that funds from the windfall tax might be available to fund an extension of the initiative.
Pilot schemes for the New Deal for young people are under way before the national programme begins in April, while in June a separate scheme for older long-term unemployed workers will begin. But the number of young people qualifying for the scheme is less than half the figure expected when the plans were first drawn up. There are now 118,000 16- to 24-year- olds who are eligible, compared to 250,000 a year ago.
The fact that unemployment has fallen so rapidly since the election has therefore created the leeway for an extension of the New Deal to essentially all of Britain's long-term unemployed. It will be funded over four years by the pounds 5.2bn windfall tax on the privatised utilities.
Mr Blunkett and Mr Smith were speaking after the Jobs Summit hosted by Britain yesterday for ministers from the other six leading industrial nations and Russia. The ministers, meeting in London, agreed a set of principles for ensuring high levels of employment and high social standards. Gordon Brown, the Chancellor, said after the conference: "Unemployment for some, inequality and low pay for others, may seem to be a feature of the global economy. In all our countries, the challenge is greater cohesion."
The first three of the seven principles, sound macroeconomic policy, flexible markets and fostering entrepreneurship, could have been drawn up by the last government. But the rest had a distinctly New Labour flavour, emphasising education, tax and benefit reform and equal opportunities. The British delegation was pleased by the consensus at the summit, as similar events in the past have been scarred by a clash of philosophies.
Mr Brown also emphasised the need for improved childcare, on which The Independent is campaigning for more Government help for working mothers.
On Wednesday Mr Blunkett will launch a Green Paper to consult on the Government's proposals for education and training throughout people's working lives.
Comment, page 16
- 1 Woman 'suffocates newborn baby in plastic bag and puts it in her desk minutes after giving birth'
- 3 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 5 Chinese student carries disabled friend to school every day for three years
Nepal earthquake in pictures: Photos show devastation caused by 7.8 magnitude earthquake
Royal baby: Live updates as superbug closes ward at St Mary's Hospital in London where Duchess of Cambridge is due to give birth
Nepal earthquake: Rescuers forced to dig with their bare hands in search for survivors as images show damage to historic buildings
Ed Miliband and Boris Johnson in angry clash live on BBC's Andrew Marr Show
Bali Nine executions: British grandmother on death row in Indonesia Lindsay Sandiford says she 'just wants to get it over with'
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove
£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...
£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...
£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...
£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...