Public sector fails on New Deal

27 Jan 00
The public sector has failed to get behind the New Deal in the same way as business, Education and Employment Secretary David Blunkett said this week.

28 January 2000

Speaking at the annual conference of the Centre for Local Economic Strategies, Blunkett said that in the new century many key areas of work would be in the public sector.

'The public sector is a major employer, and so far, in comparison they could do much better in taking on people under New Deal, setting them on the ladder of opportunity, and realise the significant potential of tapping into a motivated pool of labour', he said.

In many areas, public sector organisations are the main employer and should 'build on that role and play their part in supporting a strong, sound economy,' Blunkett said on January 23.

But the Local Government Association said significant barriers had hampered take-up of the New Deal among authorities. Officer Gill Bolan said it had found many authorities had problems with the calibre of the applicants and often lacked suitable vacancies.

Research from the New Deal Task Force found only 8% of subsidised new deal job starts in the public sector, even through 25% of all employees work in public services.

Bolan added: 'Often authorities do not have the right amount of information. The Improvement and Development Agency has been carrying out a quarterly survey to try and get more information of the big picture. But often the information is not getting through to the correct person.'

In a separate announcement on January 25, neighbourhood renewal minister Hilary Armstrong said eight New Deal for Communities partnerships would share £370m to revitalise their neighbourhoods.

Located in Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Leicester, Newham, Sandwell, Southwark and west Middlesbrough, the partnerships have developed detailed plans to reduce crime, improve community health and job prospects and raise educational standards.


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