HALF-a-million pounds could be set aside to boost employment opportunities.

Durham County Council’s Labour cabinet will next week (Wednesday, February 12) be asked to assign the cash to projects helping young people find work or start their own business.

The cabinet will also discuss giving an extra £10,000 to each of the county’s 14 Area Action Partnerships (AAPs) to help people affected by welfare reforms.

It is estimated 95,000 households across the county will be affected by such changes.

Council leader Simon Henig said: “By helping people find practical and longer-term solutions in response to welfare changes, we aim to limit the need for short-term emergency support.”

The issues will be debated at a cabinet meeting in Spennymoor next Wednesday (February 12).