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Home > News > October 2006 > 31 October 2006

Minister announces new European Social Fund programme

Work and pensions minister James Plaskitt has announced that E2.75 billion of European Social Fund (ESF) money will be invested in jobs and skills in England over the next seven years.

The aim of the new ESF programme, which supports employment and training projects in the Member States of the European Union, is to help to extend employment opportunities and develop skills across the country.

Launching a consultation on spending future ESF money James Plaskitt said: "This money is a welcome investment in our employment and skills over the next seven years. Our national welfare reforms are delivering results and there are record numbers of people in work, but we still have further to go.

"The European Social Fund will enable us to provide additional support to people who remain unemployed or inactive in the labour market. In particular, we want to focus the new programme on disadvantaged people who face barriers to work, and people who lack basic skills and qualifications.

"Our aim is to align European Social Fund spending with our successful national and regional employment and skills strategies, so that EU money adds value to and complements our domestic spending."

The consultation seeks views from interested organisations on the activities that will be supported by the new programme and how it will be delivered. The consultation ends on 22 January 2007.

The consultation document, draft European Social Fund (ESF) programme, response form and supporting annexes are available on the ESF website at

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