Leeds & West Yorkshire

Jobs fund 'could help' Thomas Cook staff

Nearly £8m of money to tackle unemployment in Bradford could help Thomas Cook staff facing redundancy, the city council said.

Bradford City Council aims to create 390 new jobs, 400 apprenticeships and 300 work placements across the city over the next two years.

Council leader David Green said it was important to "take action now".

Thomas Cook said 537 roles would go when its administration centre closes in March 2013.

The money is aimed at tackling youth unemployment and improving education in schools, the council said.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics show 10.7% of people aged between 18 and 24 in Bradford are claiming jobseeker's allowance compared to the UK average of 7.8%.

'Of this scale'

The £7.7m funding has come from council reserves and departmental budgets.

The council said the scheme would provide people with a paid job for 12 months and "break cycles of long-term unemployment".

Mr Green said: "It is clear something of this scale needs to be done to make the required impact on unemployment, particularly among young people, in the district.

"The closure of the Thomas Cook office only adds to the importance of taking action now. This programme has been planned for well over a year but could be of real help to Thomas Cook staff facing redundancy."

Trevor Higgins, chairman of the Bradford Employment and Skills Board, which has helped to create the plans, said: "This is a major initiative which could make a huge difference to many people's lives in the Bradford district."

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