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Minister for Work announces 90 million to combat discrimination and disadvantage

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Minister for Work, Nick Brown yesterday announced almost £90 million support for combating disadvantage and discrimination in the labour market.

Over 70 organisations across Great Britain will be awarded funding from the EQUAL programme, part of the European Social Fund, aimed at testing and encouraging new ways of promoting employability, entrepreneurship, adaptability and equal opportunities.

Mr Brown said, “This programme, with its broad-based partnership approach, has the potential to make a difference to the employment opportunities of disadvantaged groups.

“Money through the EQUAL programme will help groups break down barriers to work, such as helping to combat racism in the workplace.

“This money made available through EU funds demonstrates the benefit to some of the poorer communities in the UK of being part of Europe. Working with European partners offers the opportunity to exchange expertise and develop good practice in a wider context.

“Seventy seven groups across the country will benefit including several local authorities, careers services, Learning and Skills Councils and organisations such as the Prince’s Trust and the Prison Service.

The EQUAL programme – background

EQUAL is a Community Initiative Programme funded through the European Social Fund and was launched in March 2001.

EQUAL will test and promote new means of combating discrimination and inequality in the labour market, both for those in work and those seeking work. The programme will be implemented by strategic partnerships called Development Partnerships (DPs), which may operate, at local, regional or national level. They will work in close cooperation with appropriate organisations from at least one other Member State or applicant country. EQUAL is administered at GB level with Scotland and Wales responsible for selection of their own Development Partnerships. Northern Ireland has its own separate programme but joins with GB under the Asylum Seekers theme.

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