§ Mr. Austin Mitchell
To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many jobs he expects to create with the aid of a subsidy for the employment of those out of work for at least two years; if he expects the level of unemployment to be reduced as a result; and what assessment he has made of the policies of the French Government to reduce the number of long-term unemployed.
§ Miss Widdecombe
The workstart employer subsidy aims to encourage employers to take on long-term unemployed people. In addition, it may have some beneficial effect on the number of new jobs and the level of unemployment. However, job subsidies are not cost free, and the control of public spending is essential to reduce non-wage labour costs and create more jobs.
France has several measures in common with the United Kingdom, including measures similar to restart and jobclubs. As in the UK, it has also implemented cuts in national insurance contributions for the lower paid. However, France also has other policies—a national minimum wage, high non-wage labour costs and support for the social chapter—which would in our view damage job creation if introduced in the UK. The UK has a lower rate of unemployment than France.