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The BBC's Carole Walker
"They are calling it a pre-election manifesto"
 real 28k

Friday, 14 July, 2000, 11:16 GMT 12:16 UK
Tories 'will scrap New Deal'
Job Centre
Tories say their scheme will give jobseekers the right attitude to work
The Tories look set to say they will scrap the New Deal for the unemployed and bring in private companies, which will be paid to find people work.

The details of this and other key policies on which the Tories will fight the election are being hammered out by William Hague and his shadow cabinet at a London hotel on Friday.


To employers, attitude is far more important than qualifications

Tory spokesman
Dubbed 'Britain Works', the Conservatives' US-style alternative to the New Deal would pay private contractors a "bounty" to take on the unemployed and reward the firm with a further bonus if they find their "clients" permanent jobs.

The Tories say it would be cheaper and more effective than the government's scheme, which they have termed "an expensive flop".

'Real jobs'

William Hague said the scheme would get people into real jobs and not just training schemes.

Those who refuse the offer of work from a private firm would have their benefit cut under the plans.

A Tory spokesman branded the New Deal "the latest in a long line of schemes which train people with the skills that they will learn while in a job, but do not train people in the skills they need to get a job".

He said that was why "Britain Works" would try to give people the right attitude for work, focusing on ensuring that employees dress appropriately for work and are on time.

"Britain Works will... get people ready for the labour market, get people into the labour market and help to keep them there," the spokesman said.

'Employers' needs'

Modelled on the 'America Works' programme, the Tories say that unlike the New Deal the scheme will focus on employers' needs.

"Employers do not want more qualifications but basic skills and common sense.

"To employers, attitude is far more important than qualifications," he said.

Tories have criticised the cost of the New Deal, saying the cost of each job found under the scheme been 19,500, whilst the government says it is around 4,000.

But it is not just the Tories who have claimed the government has overblown the success of the New Deal.

This week the National Institute of Economic and Social Research said that many of those who had found work under the scheme would have done so anyway because of economic growth.

'Pre-manifesto'

The Tories will use this new commitment to counter persistent government claims that they attack the New Deal but have no alternative themselves.

This and other key manifesto pledges are being discussed by William Hague and his shadow cabinet.

They will agree the basis of their so-called "pre-manifesto," which will be put to a ballot of party members in September ahead of the party conference.

A spokesman admitted the exercise was very similar to the "Road to the Manifesto" consultation process conducted by Labour ahead of the last election.

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See also:

01 Jun 00 | UK Politics
New Deal 'an expensive flop'
12 Jul 00 | UK Politics
New Deal claims 'exaggerated'
12 Jul 00 | Business
Does the New Deal work?
12 Jul 00 | UK Politics
Blair denies 'annus horribilis'
13 Jul 00 | UK Politics
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