Job-seekers in long-term unemployment are to receive extra support from a new help to work scheme being launched in May.
Pushed into Work
The scheme aims to encourage and support those that have spent two years on the current Work Scheme by enrolling them on the new Help to Work course. Those who refuse to attend the new courses could face reduced benefits. Failure to attend in the first instance will result in a jobseeker‚Äôs allowance being stopped for four weeks. This will then be increased to a further 13 weeks if a participant fails to attend for a second time.
What is the Help to Work Scheme?
If job seekers have not found work after being on the Work Scheme for two years, they will then be transferred to the Help to Work Scheme. Aspects of the new initiative include, daily attendance at the Job centre for training, and community placements for appropriate candidates who are able to work.
Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary believes this scheme gives people that are capable of working the opportunity to use and improve their skills whilst they are unemployed. Others believe the Government are more concerned with reducing the amount of people on benefits rather than looking for new ways to get them into paid employment.
Working for Free
Robert Jones has been unemployed for over three years and has already spent two years on the Work Scheme. Mr Jones is adamant the new rules are not being introduced to help people find paid employment. Jones says, “If you listen to the rhetoric of MPs it’s not about getting people into work, they always talk about getting people off benefit, and I think that’s their emphasis.” Over 70 businesses have joined the scheme which will see people working for their benefits without receiving a wage. Mr Jones believes the scheme will only encourage companies to hire job seekers for “cheap labour” and will “destroy jobs”.