Boris reveals long-term unemployment plan

A Boris Johnson mayoralty would see London’s agencies pool their resources to create a single fund tackling the long-term unemployed, it has been announced.

The Conservative candidate to take over from Labour incumbent Ken Livingstone in City Hall says the pooled resources would be a more efficient way to improve skills training in London.

He also backs the creation of a “one-stop shop” for advice on employment and careers.

With new figures showing 1,280 Londoners have been receiving jobseeker’s allowance for over five continuous years, 50 per cent more than the national average, Mr Johnson says the problem needs addressing urgently.

“Far too many Londoners are trapped on benefits and, in some communities, worklessness has become endemic,” he said.

“Ken Livingstone has done little to tackle the scourge of long-term unemployment in London.”

The proposals come a day after Mr Johnson found himself under attack over his initial pledge to scrap the smoking ban in London.

He subsequently denied having ever made such a statement, prompting attacks from both Labour and the Liberal Democrats’ Brian Paddick.

Mr Paddick said “Johnson continues to drop himself in it and his team have to follow him around with a shovel” while London minister Tessa Jowell said Mr Johnson was a “serious risk to London’s future”.