For the first time, people in long-term unemployment who are capable of work will be asked to work in return for their benefits, the Chancellor has announced.
Those who have been unemployed for three years or more will be asked to:
- take part in community work placements, such as clearing up litter and graffiti in their local areas
- attend daily signings at the job centre until they find work; or
- participants with multiple barriers to finding work, for example literacy or numeracy problems, will be provided with intensive support to address their problems
Claimants will be expected to be on a training scheme, community work placement or intensive work preparation – losing their benefit if they fail to comply.
Help to Work will be applied to all claimants of Jobseeker’s Allowance when they leave the Work Programme from April 2014.
It will not apply to Employment and Support Allowance claimants.
The government has also announced it will fund a pilot scheme designed to get more Employment and Support Allowance claimants into work in Manchester.
The scheme, which will be run by Greater Manchester Council, will last for two years. It will seek to mirror the success of the troubled families programme by giving ESA claimants a single contact to help with their job search and health and social care support.
The scheme will see a key worker lead contact with an ESA claimant that is due to leave the Work Programme. The key worker will be responsible for identifying the best help, advice and actions needed.
This could include, arranging occupational health visits, mental health support, housing support and stage these in a way that enabled the claimant to move closer to, and into, work.
Picture by Helen Cobain on Flickr. Used under Creative Commons.