§ Mr. Healey
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people his Department is committed to employing during 1998 under(a) the subsidised job option and (b) the unsubsidised job option of the New Deal programme. 
§ Mr. Straw
My Department is actively considering proposals for recruiting under the New Deal scheme and expects to sign up formally to participation as a New Deal Employer by autumn 1998.
The Home Office will act as an employer for the subsidised employment option and will aim to recruit approximately two to three per cent. of new intakes into appointments suitable for New Deal participants. Those seeking employment through the New Deal unsubsidised option may apply through open competition for posts in the Home Department. Selection will be made on the basis of merit alone.