Headlines: January 6th, 1999

There’s been further, mixed news, on the Government’s New Deal programme. The Federation of Small Businesses says job centres are not doing enough to connect young people with small firms. At The same time, the TUC has given the scheme its backing.First results of the pilots show that New Deal has got thousands into jobs, but a new survey undertaken by the Federation suggests there are still teething problems.

It says that only fifteen per cent of members who responded to the survey have been contacted by job centres. Further, then a candidate has been put forward, small employers have in more than half of cases found them unsuitable for a position.

Dr Bernard Juby, from the Federation, said there was evidence that job centres were not performing their ‘gateway’ role effectively.

At the same time, John Monks from the TUC has praised the Government’s performance in cutting employment among 18-24 year olds by 28 per cent in one year, and he has called for the New Deal to be extended to include older long-term unemployed people.