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New Deal ‘failing neediest’


Labour's New Deal for the unemployed works best where it is needed least, according to Ron Martin of the University of Cambridge.

Speaking at the annual geographers' conference in Brighton yesterday, he said the first proper study of the scheme's effectiveness has shown that in the South (but not London) the New Deal has worked reasonably well. But in the North and inner cities it is not getting people into jobs.

The New Deal made benefits conditional on applicants' willingness to accept jobs, training, voluntary work or joining a government-funded environmental task force.
Dr Martin and colleagues from the University of Edinburgh found that "it is working quite well in the South, where unemployment is already low and where almost all the new jobs are being created. But in the North, no matter how employable you make people, if jobs aren't there they won't get them."

There are also wide differences in how long people remain employed. Six months after leaving the New Deal for a job, as few as 10 per cent of people are still employed in the least-advantaged areas. In the best areas about 50 per cent were still in work.


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