Council poised to spent £7.7m on tackling unemployment

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A YORKSHIRE council outlined plans yesterday to invest almost £8m to tackle unemployment.

The Get Bradford Working programme is believed to be the largest job creation fund created by any local authority in the country.

The £7.7m plan will be discussed by Bradford Council’s executive on Friday, June 22.

More than 450 staff axed by the shock planned closure of Thomas Cook’s Bradford office which was announced on Tuesday could benefit from the programme, which it is hoped will get underway later this year.

Get Bradford Working seeks to create hundreds of new jobs, apprenticeships and work experience placements across the district over the next two years, as well as encouraging more people to get better qualifications and improving the way skills are taught in the district’s schools.

Unemployment in the district is higher than the national average, at 5.9 per cent compared with four per cent in the UK. Youth unemployment (people aged 18 to 24) in Bradford is 10.7 per cent compared to 8.9 per cent in West Yorkshire and 7.9 per cent in UK.

Coun David Green, Bradford Council leader, said: “This is the biggest employment scheme the council has ever proposed and is the first of a number of proposals we are planning over the coming months to further support the local economy.

“It is clear something of this scale needs to be done to make the required impact on unemployment, particularly among young people, in the district.

“The closure of the Thomas Cook office only adds to the importance of taking action now. This programme has been planned for well over a year but could be of real help to Thomas Cook staff facing redundancy.

“The aim of Get Bradford Working is to make a difference in the short, medium and long term by creating new jobs, getting people access to more qualifications and making sure schools are teaching the skills our businesses are looking for.

“We are investing in creating the conditions for residents to help themselves to find work.”