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Welfare Reform on the Web (August 2009): Social security - UK - New Deal

1bn scheme to create 'soft jobs'

J. Swaine and M. Wardrop

Daily Telegraph, July 29th, 2009, p. 1

The 1bn Future Jobs Fund is open to local authorities, charities and other voluntary organisations. The bodies will bid for money from the fund to create 'socially useful' jobs for unemployed people. Around 100,000 positions are to be created for 18 to 24-year-olds. The remaining 50,000 will be for older benefit claimants in unemployment hot spots. From January 2010, young adults who have been unemployed for a year will be obliged to take one of the new jobs, or a place on a government training scheme, or have their benefits cut.

(See also Guardian, July 29th 2009, p. 4)

DWP's commissioning strategy and the Flexible New Deal

Work and Pensions Committee

London: TSO, 2009 (House of Commons papers, session 2008/09; HC 59)

The design and delivery of employment programmes are critical to the success of welfare reform and fundamental to the Government's aspiration of an 80% employment rate. The new Flexible New Deal (FND) programme will be part of the revised JSA regime and will be delivered by large prime contractors who will work with subcontractors at a subregional level. Prime contractors will be given longer contracts and have greater autonomy to design individualised support for customers who have been unemployed for more than 12 months. The Committee welcomes the move towards longer contracts and endorses the principles of the FND programme but it is very concerned that the FND budget will not stretch to accommodate the additional customers an economic downturn could generate and that it will not be possible for providers to meet the targets on which contractor payments are principally based. The move towards greater customer responsibility should be balanced with a commitment to ensuring customers' rights are communicated and reflected in the programme. The Committee urges the Department of Work and Pensions to establish a customer charter that outlines the expectations of providers and customers alike.

Lone parents to be offered better pay incentives to work

P. Wintour

The Guardian, July 6th 2009, p. 13

The Welfare Reform Bill will now allow lone parents to earn up to 50 a week without their benefits being cut. The move was made at the committee stage of the bill in the Lords and is being seen as a softening in the Government's approach. Jobcentre advisors will also have to take into account the children's welfare regardless of age before imposing any sanctions on lone parents who refuse to work or prepare to work.

A rough guide to Access to Work

M. Taylor

London: SHAPE, [2009?]

Access to Work is a government scheme designed to meet additional costs of employing a disabled or deaf person, to provide advice and support to employers and to disabled or deaf people, and to help make sure that disabled or deaf people are considered for jobs on their merits. This practical guide to how the scheme works is aimed at both organisations and individuals.

Writing off workfare: for a green New Deal, not the Flexible New Deal

A. Gray and A. Wheatley

Green Party of England and Wales, 2008

This paper is a response to the consultation on welfare reform, No-one written off. The proposals in the consultation adopt a 'workfarist' approach that makes benefit conditions tougher. The Green Party calls for the adoption of an approach that offers the very poor incentives to work. This could be through the introduction of a minimum income guarantee for all regardless of employment status. The Green Party also calls for:

  1. no contracting out of employment services to private for-profit companies
  2. improvements in workforce skills
  3. a rethink of plans to move disabled people from Incapacity Benefit to Job Seekers' Allowance.
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