A NEW jobs scheme has helped slash the number of long-term unemployed people in the region to its lowest level for five years.

Latest figures show the Government-backed Work Programme has assisted more than 37,000 people in Yorkshire and the Humber into work.

Nationally, nearly 640,000 people have started a job thanks to the initiative.

In the Craven District Council area, there were just 298 people claiming Jobseekers Allowance in November - 0.9 per cent of the working population.

Work and Pensions Secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, said: "This Government's welfare reforms are designed to ensure that everyone who is able to work gets the support, skills and opportunities to do so, and the latest jobs figures suggest that it is working.

"Long-term unemployment fell by almost 200,000 over the last year and many of these people, who are now looking forward to a better future with the security of a regular wage, will have been supported into a job by the Work Programme.

"The programme revolutionises the way we provide support to the long-term unemployed and is helping more people to turn their lives around than any previous scheme. That is a real achievement for every one of those individuals."

The venture provides support, work experience and training for up to two years to help people find and stay in employment.

Most of those who do find work remain employed beyond six months and many have spent 18 months or longer in work.

Job providers receive a small start-up fee for each participant, and a 'job outcome payment' when the person has been in the post for three or six months.

So-called sustainment payments can then be claimed, for up to two years, when the person remains in employment.

"The scheme offers payment for results – with incentives for helping people into sustained work," said a Department for Work and Pensions spokesman.

Visit gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-work-pensions for further details.