Thurrock Council joins forces with Jobcentre Plus and Work Programme providers to tackle unemployment

Thurrock Council is joining forces with Jobcentre Plus and two Work Programme providers to tackle unemployment. The agreement will particularly focus on people who find it most difficult to get work. The plans aim to equip local people with the skills and confidence to fill thousands of new jobs planned for Thurrock by 2021.

Welfare reforms leaving many in Wales struggling to cope, warns Citizens Advice Cymru

‘One Day at a Time’, a new report launched by Citizens Advice Cymru, highlights that many of the most vulnerable in Wales are being forced into hardship due to the biggest changes to the welfare system in over sixty years. The report is based on evidence from across the Citizens Advice Bureaux network in Wales as well as bespoke qualitative research commissioned by Citizens Advice Cymru to explore the ‘lived experience’ of the recent benefit changes.

Treasury has not signed off on universal credit, MPs told

The Treasury has still not signed off on the government's troubled universal credit benefits reform, Sir Bob Kerslake, the head of the civil service, has revealed. He made the admission that the project was being drip-fed money by the Treasury after Margaret Hodge, the chair of the Commons public accounts committee, repeatedly pressed senior civil servants about its financial status.

CIPD 'Manifesto for Work' calls for shift in employment policy

With the general election less than a year away, the CIPD has published a ‘Manifesto for Work’ to urge politicians to focus on new ways to future proof UK employment. In its proposal, the CIPD said that policy makers will need to tackle fundamental skills and productivity issues or risk letting the country fall behind its overseas competitors.

Converting Conversations into Actions – “No complacency: No more NEETs”

The 2014 Youth Employment Convention sought to put young people at the heart of next year’s general election. The legacy report, sponsored by Shaw Trust, is comprised of 25 short essays from contributors to the convention, all experts in their field. It describes why youth unemployment remains a systemic issue despite an improving economy and makes the case for policy changes that will support the skills and employment needs of our most valuable national asset – our young people. It is hoped that that the report and the contributor’s recommendations will influence the manifestos of all the major political parties.

'Flawed' Work Programme contracts costing millions, say government auditors

Tens of millions of pounds is being paid in bonuses to under-performing contractors responsible for the Government's flagship back-to-work scheme, government auditors have warned.

Flaws in contracts mean the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has to pay incentives for the Work Programme to even the worst performing providers, the National Audit Office (NAO) said.

European Commission outlines measures to maximise job opportunities in the green economy

The European Commission has adopted a Communication outlining the employment challenges and opportunities of the transition towards a green, low carbon, energy and resource-efficient economy.

Government eases sanctions for homeless people

Homeless people have been granted new exemptions from benefit sanctions under regulations laid before parliament today. Under the new rules, Jobcentre Plus advisors will be given the discretionary power to exempt rough sleepers and those in supported accommodation from looking for work.

It comes after a report by Homeless Link in September found that 31 per cent of homeless people on jobseekers’ allowance benefits have been sanctioned, compared to 5.5 per cent of the typical claimant population.

£27m cut leaves London's needy at risk, says London Councils

Government plans to withdraw £27 million of emergency support risk harming the capital’s most vulnerable people and undermining the introduction of Universal Credit, London boroughs are warning in a report published today.

Universal Credit to take the first new claims for couples

Universal Credit has been extended as the service opens up to new claims from couples in five sites. Hammersmith, Bath, Rugby, Harrogate and Inverness will take new claims from couples as well as those from single people. Other sites in the north west of England and Wales will also make this change from this summer.

Minister for Welfare Reform Lord Freud said:
“Universal Credit is transforming people’s lives and is available in a growing number of areas. Today we take on the first new claims from couples.”

New UK child poverty strategy 'ignores impact of government's welfare reforms', says CPAG

The Child Poverty Action Group has accused the government of ignoring the impact of its welfare reforms in drawing up its new child poverty strategy.

Launched by Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith, the new strategy has identified supporting families into work, improving living standards and raising educational attainment as the fundamental ways to achieve the long-term goal of ending child poverty by 2020.

Welfare reforms boost skills training by 40%, according to government figures

Government welfare reforms have boosted the number of benefit claimants training to improve their skills by almost 40%, according to government figures.

Business-backed local skills training schemes, called sector-based work academies, and mandatory skills referrals by Jobcentre Plus have contributed to the number of benefit claimants in England starting training going up by 39.1% in a year from 464,400 (2011 to 2012) to 645,800 (2012 to 2013).

Government "could breach its own welfare spending cap"

Leaked internal documents have revealed that the government could breach its self-imposed cap on welfare spending as a result of the cost of the main sickness benefit.

The memos suggest Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) costs are rising with few cost-cutting options.

In March, MPs agreed a 2015-16 welfare cap of £119.5bn, excluding the state pension and some unemployment benefits. The Treasury said it was "confident" of remaining within the cap, saying delivery of ESA was "back on track".

Watchdog attacks the government's handling "fiasco"of disability payout

A report by parliament’s public spending watchdog, the public accounts committee has found that the government's handling of personal independence payments (PIP) has been "nothing short of a fiasco" that has caused distress to thousands of sick and disabled people.

Labour pledges to "pause" universal credit if elected in 2015

The shadow work and pensions secretary, Rachel Reeves, has announced that Labour will "pause" the build of the government's flagship welfare reform for three months to allow for a National Audit Office report on it, if it wins the next general election in 2015.