‘Help to Work’ scheme for long-term unemployed

Long-term unemployed people deemed to be capable of working will in future be 'asked' to do so as a condition for continuing to receive benefits, under an announcement made by the coalition at the start of the Conservative Party conference.

Key points

  • The new scheme will be called 'Help to Work'.
  • Those people 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), or to attend daily signings at their Jobcentre until such time as they find work.
  • People with multiple barriers to finding work, for example literacy or numeracy problems, will be provided with intensive support to address them.
  • Claimants who refuse to comply will lose their benefit.
  • The new scheme will be applied to all jobseeker's allowance claimants when they leave the Work Programme, from April 2014 onwards. It will not apply to claimants of employment and support allowance.

The new scheme closely mirrors recommendations made just a few days previously by a right-of-centre think tank. Policy Exchange said the government should pilot 'workfare' schemes for specific groups of jobseekers, including: some individuals who had left the Work Programme without finding work after at least two years of support, due to 'lack of trying' or lack of experience; and jobseekers who were not meeting their requirements to look for work. But the report warned against extending workfare to even larger numbers of benefit claimants: it said workfare schemes would be a poor use of taxpayer money, and that forcing people to work when they were not physically or mentally ready could also have a detrimental effect.

Source: Press release 30 September 2013, HM Treasury | Ed Holmes, Work Fair?, Policy Exchange
Links (coalition announcement)HMT press release | Citizens Advice press release | ERSA press release | Gingerbread press release | PCS press release | TUC press release | Work Foundation press release | BBC report | Guardian report (1) | Guardian report (2) | New Statesman report | Telegraph report
Links (Policy Exchange)Report | Policy Exchange press release

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Publication date: 
Sep 30 2013