A JOB centre in Newton Aycliffe is considering helping the unemployed get on a bike and look for work by purchasing bicycles for those on the dole.

MPs heard the town's Jobcentre Plus is investigating the purchase of bikes due to the poor state of public transport.

Sedgefield Labour MP Phil Wilson questioned whether this was now official Government policy to avoid providing train and bus services.

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The move echoes the famous comment by Tory minister Lord Tebbit in 1981 that his father got on his bike and looked for work during the depression in the 1930s.

During questions on future Commons business, Mr Wilson (Sedgefield) asked Leader of the House Sir George Young: "Can we have a statement or a debate on the state of public transport in County Durham, which the Employment Minister (Chris Grayling) himself has called poor?

"It is now so bad that Jobcentre Plus in Newton Aycliffe is considering the purchase of bicycles so that people can now get to work.

"Is it now the policy of the Government to now actually purchase bicycles for people to get to work rather than provide public transport?"

Sir George, a keen cyclist, told Mr Wilson he would raise the issue with Transport Secretary Justine Greening.

He said: "The previous government introduced a scheme whereby employers could make bicycles available on preferential terms to their employees, so there is a precedent.

"I understand your concern about the poor quality of public transport in your constituency, I will raise this with the Secretary of State for Transport and see whether there is any action she can take to relieve the problem you have just touched on."

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