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MPC: Government employment initiatives fail to target older, low-skilled men

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The Financial Times reports today that government initiatives designed to get the unemployed back to work are failing to address the needs of older, low-skilled men.

The paper quotes research from the Bank of England's monetary policy committee (MPC), which argues that initiatives such as New Deal and the Working Families' Tax Credit are failing to stem an increase in male inactivity, despite increases in the number of jobs available. Apparently figures show that the number of men neither working nore unemployed rose nearly 11 per cent between 1975 and 1998 – for women, the figures fell 10 per cent. In addition, nearly a third of male workers with no qualifications were not working in 2000, although extra claims for sickness and disability account for some of the inactivity.

Professor Steve Nickell, who authored the report, said: "The existing policies do not seem likely to help in significantly reducing the high levels of worklessness among unskilled men, particularly in the older age groups".

Other factors such as the increasing number of workers who have been through higher education, and the greater proportion of low-skilled workers in Britain compared to other developed countries are making the situation more acute.

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