Cre­ate work places for long-term job­less

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Front Page -

YOUNG peo­ple in some of Kent’s poor­est ar­eas should be made to take on places on work­fare pro­grammes cre­ated by coun­cils and other pub­lic agen­cies, says the leader of Kent County Coun­cil.

Cllr Paul Carter raised the idea of a work­fare-style pro­gramme at the an­nual con­fer­ence of the Kent Part­ner­ship.

He said of­fi­cial gov­ern­ment data showed many parts of Kent were see­ing ris­ing lev­els of poverty and de­pri­va­tion and that in the poor­est parts of the county, the pop­u­la­tion was ris­ing - buck­ing the na­tional trend.

“There are some re­ally wor­ry­ing trends in our ar­eas of great­est so­cial de­pri­va­tion where we are slip­ping down the league ta­ble.”

On the ba­sis of the most re­cent data, only Dart­ford and Can­ter­bury of Kent’s 12 dis­tricts had made any progress in tackling so­cial de­pri­va­tion.

Cllr Carter said the great­est chal­lenge was clos­ing the gap be­tween the poor­est and most af­flu­ent parts of Kent amid signs that it was get­ting wider.

One way of break­ing the cy­cle of wel­fare de­pen­dency would be for the money spent on wel­fare and ben­e­fits for un­der-25s to be used in­stead to cre­ate work pro­grammes.

“I think you would get a very pleas­ant sur­prise if you ap­proached those long-term un­em­ployed peo­ple and said to them: ‘I can give you a job that can be sus­tained into the fu­ture, with choice and di­ver­sity.’ I think 60 to 80 per cent would want to get off the sofa and into work.”

Places would be funded by coun­cils and the NHS. “With pub­lic sec­tor agen­cies the size and scale of KCC and the NHS, we could of­fer a guar­an­tee of em­ploy­ment for young peo­ple.” IT IS the birth­place of Genghis Khan and is renowned for its ex­ten­sive nat­u­ral grass­land.

Now the Chi­nese prov­ince of In­ner Mon­go­lia is be­ing tar­geted by Kent County Coun­cil.

The au­thor­ity is con­sid­er­ing send­ing a del­e­ga­tion of le­gal chiefs to try and se­cure po­ten­tially lu­cra­tive com­mer­cial le­gal con­tracts from the Chi­nese state, which is 5,000 miles away.

It is the lat­est ini­tia­tive to come from KCC’s le­gal team, which has de­vel­oped a grow­ing com­mer­cial sec­tor and now wants to in­ves­ti­gate if it can pick up con­tracts for han­dling le­gal work for re­gional gov­ern­ment in the Chi­nese state.

In­vest

County so­lic­i­tor chief Ge­off Wild, who has been re­spon­si­ble for de­vel­op­ing KCC’s busi­ness of sell­ing le­gal ser­vices to other clients, said: “The re­gional gov­ern­ment is looking to in­vest in UK real es­tate. Our lo­cal au­thor­ity is press­ing for this en­gage­ment and we’re hop­ing to pick up the le­gal work as­so­ci­ated with that. If they’re go­ing to be buy­ing up land we’d be able to deal with all the is­sues that arise.”

How­ever, while KCC has an of­fice in Brus­sels, it ap­pears there are no plans to set up a sim­i­lar HQ in Bao­tou.

The pos­si­bil­ity of wider cul­tural and busi­ness links be­tween KCC and In­ner Mon­go­lia were first floated last year when it emerged that the Chi­nese am­bas­sador Fu Ying – a for­mer stu­dent of the Uni­ver­sity of Kent – had broached the idea of build­ing re­la­tions be­tween the two.

Dar­rell Healey of GSE

KCC leader Paul Carter open­ing Dart­ford Tech­nol­ogy Col­lege with head Tr­ish Burleigh

Ali­son Co­ley of South Kent Col­lege

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