Work plan

Jobless told to learn skills or lose benefits

Mel Stride
Mel Stride: targeting potential returners

Benefits claimants in an area of Glasgow are taking part in a trial that will mean they risk losing their payments unless they sign up for an intensive return-to-work programme.

It aims to tackle the problem of benefits dependency and encourage more claimants into the workforce at a time of severe labour shortages.

Partick in Glasgow is one of four areas across the UK where universal credit claimants will attend a two-week programme of daily face-to-face appointments at Jobcentres.

The programme applies to those who have been out of work for three months, after which the chances of getting work becomes more difficult.

The current pilot areas are Crawley in West Sussex, Pontefract in West Yorkshire, Partick in Glasgow and Coalville in Leicestershire.

Mel Stride, the work and pensions secretary, said: “Evidence shows that the longer a person is out of work the harder it is for them to return, and it is at this 13-week point that a claimant’s likelihood of securing employment begins to decrease.”

In September, the former Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng unveiled a welfare-to-work programme as a key part of Liz Truss’s plan to boost economic growth and shake-up the welfare system. 

He announced changes to Universal Credit requiring benefit claimants working up to 15 hours a week at National Living Wage to meet regularly with their Work Coach “to take active steps to increase their earnings or face having their benefits reduced”.

The Treasury says rising economic inactivity in the over-50s is contributing to shortages in the jobs market, driving up inflation and limiting growth. Returning to pre-pandemic activity rates in the over-50s could boost the level of GDP by up to 1 percentage point.

More than 1.2 million people are unemployed in the UK, while a further nine million are neither in a job nor looking for one. The government believes that the scheme could form part of a “carrot and stick” approach to encourage people back into work.

10 Comments to Jobless told to learn skills or lose benefits

  1. Persistent lateness, missed meetings, forgotten appointments, losing, misplacing and failing to return important paperwork on time, are debilitating symptoms of one of our most common, most misdiagnosed “usually as anxiety and depression” and far too often undiagnosed health conditions. Being left undiagnosed and unaware of this condition the only explanation we have for our failings is our own stupidity, we can’t even secure
    what little food money we need to survive How bloody stupid are we? Stupid enough to believe it’s our fault and accept the punishment, we may have passed through the system long before our schools knew about ADHD but those left suffering from this so-called “hidden impairment have never been invisible, ADHD symptoms cause accademic underachievement, school failed us we fail in the job market and the benefits system treats our symptoms as punishable offenses, This persecution needs to stop!

  2. Why not get employers to pay a living wage rather than using the unemployed as cheap labour that they can throw away after a while and simply go and get another mug forced into their jobs?

  3. Easier said than done..
    I’m fifty two & not worked since to 2011 due to health issues…
    Soon as you put down your ill health on applications for any job they turn you away..
    Can’t see it working. Waste of time, if you ask me

  4. And how is it going to work when you’re not allowed to train as i did when i first lost my job in 2017 and was told that i could not train as i was making myself unavailable to look for work? And what about older people? i am 63 and find it pointless looking for work as no employer wants to take you on at that age.

  5. Maybe they should concentrate on getting non British citizens living in the UK on benefits into work or return them to their own country.
    As usual attacking people on benefits and protecting the wealthy.

  6. I was on full time education 4.5 days a week, UC decided to ruin my life,sanctions and forcing me to find job. I had to quit education coz had nothing to eat

  7. Many unemployed people are over the age of 50.They have updated skills as well as old transferable skills and experience but are finding it impossible to gain employment especially in remote places around Pershire.They don’t give up learning but are told that they are then not making themselves available for w because they are trying to better themselves.These people are married,have a home,they are looking after their mental health and wellbeing as best they can can with little or no help from yourselves!

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