Brown promises help for jobless

Men shaking hands

Gordon Brown has pledged to help 500,000 people back into work by providing training opportunities for people who have been unemployed for six months.

An employment summit led by the Prime Minister has put forward a host of ‘golden hellos’ that will be offered to long-term jobseekers. The government will increase its unemployment funding by £0.5 billion to nearly £2 billion over the next two years to launch the scheme.

Proposed measures include paying businesses up to £2,500 to recruit and train unemployed people; providing extra funding to train places; introducing work-focused volunteering options; and giving extra help to people who want to set up a business.

After the summit concluded, Gordon Brown said the proposals are part of his government’s battle to prevent the recession turning into a depression.

"That's why we say 'invest not cut’,” he added. “And that doing nothing doesn't help. It hurts more today, and worse still, it harms us for the future.

“My message is simple: we won't give up on you but in turn you must not give up on work, on skills, and on training."

And James Purnell, secretary for work and pensions, said that with half a million jobs available, people who have been unemployed for six-months or more must be trained to help them fill vacancies.

The Conservative Party, which has itself proposed a similar scheme to help the out-of-work, has welcomed the proposals.

But Chris Grayling, shadow work and pensions secretary, says: “What the government now needs to do is adopt our plans for a National Loan Guarantee Scheme to help existing businesses and to protect jobs.”

The Conservative Party’s proposal is for the government to guarantee credit to businesses.