Gavin Strang, Labour MP for Edinburgh East and Musselburgh, today congratulated local young people, employers and Employment Service staff as official statistics confirmed that Labour’s manifesto pledge to get 250,000 young people off benefits and into work through the New Deal has been met. The New Deal has played its part in creating a million new jobs since the election.
Labour’s Gavin Strang MP said: “Labour made a promise at the last election. We said we would get quarter of a million young people off benefits and into jobs through New Deal for Young People. Since May 1997 Labour has cut youth unemployment by 70%. A promise made is now a promise kept.
‘Today we’re congratulating the employers, Personal Advisers and young people themselves who have made this possible. We can be very proud that Edinburgh East and Musselburgh has played its part in the New Deal success story.
‘By boosting the skills of the long-term unemployed, New Deal is helping us ensure everyone can benefit from economic prosperity.
‘By cutting unemployment we have created a stronger economy, releasing more resources for public spending. In the early 1990s, 50p of every pound spent went on the costs of social and economic failure. Now that figure is only 17p – leaving more than 80p in every £1 of additional spending for hospitals, schools and vital public services, enabling us to tackle the long term under investment in Britain.
‘666 young people in Edinburgh East and Musselburgh have started New Deal, and 286 local New Dealers have moved into work from the programme – a tremendous achievement which has transformed lives and strengthened the local workforce. In addition 166 have gained work experience or training through New Deal options.
‘All this is in sharp contrast to the Tories’ plans to scrap New Deal. Theirs is a policy of economic madness and social vandalism which could only come from the party of high unemployment. Under the Tories unemployment twice hit 3 million.’
New Deal will be going from strength to strength with Labour. From next year, it will be available across the country to people aged 25 and over. Labour are extending specifically designed programmes for other groups such as lone parents, the disabled and people over 50 and we have already promised that New Deal will become a permanent deal in the next Parliament.