Help to Work to prevent "leaving the long-term unemployed behind"
Earlier this week at the Conservative Party Conference, the chancellor, George Osborne, unveiled 'Help to Work', a plan to help the long-term unemployed.
Around 200,000 people could qualify for the scheme, which is due to start in April 2014. It will affect anybody who has been on the Work Programme, but has not managed to find a job after two years.
To continue claiming Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA), claimants will have three options:
• Accept a community work placement, such as making meals for the elderly
• Visit a Jobcentre every day
• Take part in further training
Anybody who refuses will face losing a month's worth of benefits. If they refuse again, they could lose three months of benefits. Currently, if someone has not found work after two years on the Work Programme, they are free to continue claiming JSA and are offered ongoing support with their development needs, weekly meetings with Jobcentre advisers but no compulsory programmes.
The scheme, devised by Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith, will cost approximately £300 million to implement, with the money likely to be found from departmental underspends. The Chancellor said he believed it would make savings on the welfare bill by helping people get off benefits.
To learn more about the proposed scheme, visit the gov.uk site