Government takes on long term unemployment

31st Mar 2010
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The government is guaranteeing to provide jobs or work placements for people on Jobseekers Allowance who have not worked for more than two years in a bid to prevent long-term unemployment from soaring.

Under Labour’s new so-called “something for something” approach, however, claimants will be required to take up such positions or risk losing their benefits. The new new jobs will be provided by extending the existing £1 billion Future Jobs Fund as well as through the private and voluntary sector internships and work placements.
This ‘Jobseekers Guarantee’ will be funded out of the Department of Work and Pension’s existing budget by reshaping its Job Centre Plus support for the long-term unemployed to provide them with a more personalised service and by changing its £300 million Pathways programme, which it says is neither flexible nor cost-effective enough.
Work and Pension Secretary Yvette Cooper said: “As the economy recovers, we have to ensure no one is left behind. In the ‘80s and ‘90s, too many people were abandoned to long-term unemployment or sickness benefits, pushing families into poverty, devastating communities and hurting the economy and the taxpayer too.”
In a new Command Paper entitled ‘Building Bridges to Work: New Approaches to Tackling Long-Term Worklessness’, the government also pledged to provide places on its expanded ‘Work Choice’ disability employment programme from October for people that have been claiming benefits for 24 months. The scheme is aimed at those with disabilities or serious health conditions who want to work, but may struggle without support.
The budget for its existing Access to Work scheme will also be increased, but larger employers will be expected to contribute more towards the cost of adapting their workplace and introducing specialised equipment. The money saved by the government will be used to subsidise smaller employers who cannot currently afford to make the ‘reasonable adjustments’ required under equality legislation.
By scrapping existing incapacity benefits and reassessing more than 10,000 long-term claimants each week under new criteria to see whether they are entitled to a new Employment Support Allowance, the government hopes to save £1.5 billion over the next five years.


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