Personal accounts to boost job hopes

30th January 1998 at 00:00
Jobless people could get their own publicly-funded personal account to boost their chances of training or setting up their own business. The plan is to be piloted in prototype employment zones, launched next week in areas of acute unemployment, writes Helen Hague.

Money available for benefits, education, training, and regeneration would be combined in a personal job account controlled by Government-appointed agencies running the zones.

This week employment minister Andrew Smith told a conference the sole aim of the PJA was to "spend public money wisely to improve individual's employability".

The zones would test the concept of the PJA which, if successful, will form part of the Government's long-term plan for tackling unemployment.

"We are redesigning the whole architecture of the welfarebenefits system, not just filling in the cracks," Mr Smith added. The Government spending Pounds 33 million in the five zones between now and next April.

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