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Welfare Reform on the Web (December 2007): Social security - UK - New Deal

Achieving full employment and tackling poverty

P. Hain

Working Brief, Oct. 2007, p. 8-10

In this speech the secretary of state for work and pensions, Peter Hain, reiterates the government's commitment to eradicating child poverty by getting lone parents off benefits and into paid work. Building on the success of the New Deal, the government intends to introduce more flexible, responsive and personally tailored services to encourage lone parents for whom work is a possibility to enter the labour market. At the same time it will encourage employers to adopt more flexible working practices to help employees balance work and family life.

Engendering New Labour's workfarist regime: exploring the intersection of welfare state restructuring and labour market policies in the UK

J. MacLeavy

Gender, Place and Culture, vol. 14, 2007, p. 721-743

The New Labour government expects all working age adults, male and female, to be in paid employment. To this end, it has made receipt of welfare benefits to some extent conditional on participation in work-related activities through the New Deal for the Unemployed programmes. However the New Deal programmes fail to recognise women's unequal starting points in the labour market. They therefore do not redress the typically higher levels of responsibility assumed by women for parental and domestic duties.

Full employment and world class skills: responding to the challenges

Work and Pensions Committee

London: TSO, 2007 (House of Commons papers, session 2006/07; HC939)

In July 2007 the government published plans to improve the co-ordination of employment and skills policies so that people who are low-skilled and out of work have a better chance of finding and keeping employment. The Committee welcomes proposals for more flexible and personalised support for jobseekers and the increased focus on job retention. However, it is concerned about the impact of the proposals on lone parents and feels that increasing conditionality and benefits sanctions may not be the best way of getting them back into the labour market.

'In work, better off' is both right and wrong

D. Simmonds

Working Brief, Oct. 2007, p. 3-7

The author critically appraises In work, better off, the Green Paper on the future of welfare to work. He is supportive of moves towards more flexible and personalised provision of employment services and more devolution to local areas. He also welcomes the focus on sustainable job outcomes and the promise of greater freedom for employment service providers. There is concern that budget cuts may adversely affect the quality and extent of support available to job seekers. The Green Paper's increased stress on 'Work First' could undermine its proposals for increasing sustained employment. The procurement of new employment service contracts needs to engage local and specialist organisations if provision is going to be personalised for a wide variety of people.

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