More apprentices progress into Higher Education

The Skills and Enterprise Minister, Matthew Hancock has announced that more apprentices are progressing into Higher Education following their apprenticeship.

Research shows that overall, almost 20 per cent of advanced apprentices moved onto Higher Education following the completion of their apprenticeship, which is an increase from 15 per cent the previous year. Cohorts of apprentices have been tracked for 7 years since 2005/2006 and there have been more than 32,000 people that have made the progression in total.

More sanctions imposed on jobseeker's allowance claimants

The number of sanctions imposed on jobseeker's allowance (JSA) claimants rose to 227,629 in the last three months of 2013, which is an increase of 69,600 on the equivalent quarter in 2012.

Universal Credit fraud fears raised by MPs

Government attempts to cut fraud by introducing the Universal Credit risk being "seriously undermined" by issues with housing benefits, the Department for Work and Pensions Committee has warned.

The government said its reforms were expected to cut losses due to fraud by £1bn over the next five years. But the committee argued that, alongside issues with housing benefits, gaps in the system could also increase the number of self-employed people working for "cash in hand".

Welfare-to-work groups seek scale before next round of contracts

Following the purchase of Avanta by the recruitment agency Staffline, private sector suppliers of the government’s £5bn welfare-to-work programme are braced for a wave of consolidation as they seek to bolster their position ahead of the next round of contracts in 2016.

Traineeships set to deliver for more young people

The Department for Business and Innovation (BIS) have published new guidance to expand traineeships and make them more accessible to young people.

Traineeships are an education and training programme offered to young people, including those who are unemployed. Trainees benefit from work experience, support with maths and English and work preparation training to improve their chances of gaining an Apprenticeship or other job.

Iain Duncan Smith used false statistics to justify disability benefit cuts

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) have repeatedly made false claims about the numbers of people living on disability benefits, according to the official statistics watchdog.

Ed Miliband: Labour will increase minimum wage by linking it to earnings

The leader of the Labour Party, Ed Miliband, has pledged to substantially raise the national minimum wage by linking it to average hourly earnings, in an effort to deal with the “scandal” that Britain is one of the worst places in the developed world for low paid workers.

Over the course of the next Parliament, Mr Miliband, has vowed to follow Barack Obama’s footsteps by ensuring that increasing the minimum wage is a “basic principle” for his party in government.

Minister highlights Wales’ support to help disabled to get into work

The Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty, Jeff Cuthbert, has said that helping disabled people into work is a key priority of the Welsh Government. He also outlined a number of schemes, which are helping support disabled people to maintain or gain new employment, at a UK Government Disability Confident Employers Event in Cardiff.

80 per cent of people who are deaf cite employers as a major barrier to work

Three out of four people with hearing loss feel their employment opportunities are more limited than their hearing peers, with almost 80 per cent naming employers as the major barrier according to new research by Action on Hearing Loss, to mark Deaf Awareness Week.

Their findings, which highlight the difficulties people who are deaf face at work, show that hearing loss prevented 70 per cent of people surveyed from fulfilling their potential at work and, of those that retired early; two-fifths said hearing loss contributed to their decision to retire.

Staffline has agreed to takeover Avanta Enterprise in a £65.5m deal

Staffline, a rapidly growing recruitment company with headquarters in Nottingham, has agreed to takeover Avanta Enterprise in a deal worth £65.5 million. It is also aiming to raise £16m through the placing of two million shares at £8 each.

Avanta provides welfare-to-work and skills training services across the UK. It currently employs about 600 staff operating through 43 sites with revenue of £70m.

More analysis of the cumulative impact of welfare reform needed says new report

The UK's main advisory body on social security matters has recommended that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) should carry out more analysis in order to properly assess the cumulative impact of welfare reform, but has accepted that this would be a difficult task.

OECD calls for tax overhaul to tackle income inequality

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has called for an overhaul of the tax system in developed economies to ensure that the very rich pay a large share of their incomes, and help limit or roll back the sharp increase in income inequality that has occurred over recent decades.

Holyrood given power to end 'bedroom tax' in Scotland

The UK government has moved to neutralise the impact of the bedroom tax on the Scottish independence referendum by giving the Scottish government powers to mitigate the measure.

Stop treating ethnic minority communities as one voting bloc, argues new Policy Exchange report

A major new study by the think tank Policy Exchange has outlined the clear and meaningful differences between ethnic communities, and revealed that people from ethnic minority backgrounds will make up nearly a third of the UK’s population by 2050.

Benefits risk to jobseekers refusing zero-hours contracts

A study by the independent think-tank, Resolution Foundation, has found that the typical self-employed worker earns 40 per cent less than the typical employee, and that weekly earnings for the self-employed have seen a 20 per cent fall since 2007. In contrast, the average employee has seen a six per cent fall in their weekly earnings.