News story

English language training for job seekers on benefits

The Government has announced that jobseekers whose lack of English is preventing them from getting a job, will be required to attend English language training or face losing their benefits.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Prime Minister David Cameron made the announcement during a visit to the A4e (Action for Employment) offices in Brixton where he met Work Programme participants and advisers. 

Under new rules coming into force Jobcentre Plus advisers can mandate people onto training courses if they believe they lack the correct skills to get the jobs on offer in the local labour market.

People with poor English skills, which are preventing them from getting into employment, will be referred onto free specialist English language training courses.

If claimants refuse to attend any of the classes recommended to them, they could have their benefits stopped.

Speaking during the visit, Mr Cameron said the announcement will “ensure many more candidates gain the skills needed to get onto the first rung of the careers ladder”.

 ”We are getting rid of the old idea that you can get your welfare without conditions being put on that.

We’re saying that if there’s something you need to help you get a job, for instance being able to speak English and learn English properly, it should be a requirement that you take that course, do that study in order for you to receive your benefits.

The Work Programme is the biggest single payment by results employment programme the country has ever seen and is expected to provide personalised support for up to 2.4 million people over the next five years.

Minister for Work and Pension Ian Duncan Smith also announced today that benefit claimants will receive their money in monthly payments under Universal Credit, to help prepare them for the working environment.

With 75 per cent of people in work being paid monthly, the Government believes it is sensible that benefits are paid in the same manner, helping claimants to get used to managing their money and bills over a four week basis, to smooth the transition into work.

External site: Welfare reform (Department for Work and Pensions)

External site: The Work Programme

Published 13 September 2011