Headlines: February 5th, 2010

Councils are to get more government support to tackle worklessness and to create jobs and apprenticeships. The Local Government Minister, Rosie Winterton, said economic opportunities would not happen by themselves and every layer of government needed to play its part.

Ms Winterton said councils and their partners had a key role to play in providing effective local leadership to create economic development. She highlighted a new report showing what authorities in deprived areas were already doing to tackle persistent worklessness using the Working Neighbourhood Fund. Examples included Liverpool’s ‘Streets ahead’ programme bringing together local agencies in priority neighbourhoods and the Jobmates scheme in Doncaster helping people to tackle barriers into work.

She set out three new areas of practical guidance designed to improve councils’ efforts. These were a series of ‘How to Guides’ developed by the Improvement and Development Agency and covering areas such as working with Jobcentre Plus, new guidance to help councils getting Future Jobs funding and help with setting up ‘Economic Prosperity Boards’ that would give groups of councils the ability to create an executive decision-making body to promote economic growth across a sub-region.

Rosie Winterton said recessions could cast a long shadow and the Government was determined not to leave behind a generation of people plunged into long-term worklessness. “We know we cannot tackle worklessness on our own sitting in Whitehall. Councils know their areas and residents better than anyone and all need to play their part.”