Archive for January, 2011

In Scotland

In April, 55,000 households will be given nine months to either lose housing benefit or move out of their home. It will affect households who already pay the average price of rent in their area and will now need to find available accommodation in the bottom third bracket of rental prices.

7,500 young people, 25 – 34 year olds, are set to lose nearly £55 a week from April when they will no longer receive support for their own homes and will be forced into shared accommodation.

In the coming weeks, the UK government is also set to publish a Welfare Reform Bill which is expected to propose further extensive cuts and changes to welfare and benefits.

The Scottish Government said today that an expert group will be established in response to the impending and proposed changes.

The group of Scottish Government, local government, charity and third sector organisations will share knowledge of local impacts to take the strongest possible case for stopping some measures to the UK government.

The Scottish Government will also press for the devolution of powers on welfare and benefits.

Read more….


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Chris Grayling pledges to get Britain working and announces a massive expansion of business opportunities for the unemployed

Today, Employment Minister Chris Grayling and David Frost, the Head of the British Chambers of Commerce, opened the first of a new wave of Enterprise Clubs that will support unemployed people who wish to start a new business.  The Minister also announced that specialist training and financial support will be made available via the New Enterprise Allowance (NEA).

Speaking at the Enterprise Clubs launch in St. Helen, Merseyside, the Minister said:

“The Enterprise Clubs and the New Enterprise Allowance are part of our drive to create a much more business friendly environment in Britain and to support the development of tens of thousands of new businesses to help rebuild our economy and create new jobs.

We want to make sure that unemployed people with a good idea get the support they need to move into self-employment, and also that there is easily accessible advice and guidance for all kinds of new small businesses across the country. We want to see experienced businesses roll their sleeves up and give a helping hand to newer entrepreneurs.”

The Clubs are designed to utilise the expertise of established local businesses to aid novice entrepreneurs in their area, thus adding further credence to the coalition-government’s Big Society agenda.  NEA, which will be introduced nationally from Autumn, will be available to those who have been unemployed for six months, and the DWP expects up to 40, 000 new businesses to be set-up within two years.

Concurring with Mr. Grayling, the Head of the British Chambers of Commerce said:

“As we grow the economy one option must be to encourage unemployed people to become self-employed or start their own business. These new Enterprise Clubs and the New Enterprise Allowance will offer real, practical help and financial assistance to the unemployed.”


Kuki Taylor

Research and Communications

Published on 31st January 2011

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Thursday 10 February sees your chance to grill a Government Minister about welfare reform

Many people affected by mental health issues are worried about the Government’s proposed changes to the welfare system. The benefits that millions currently receive are to be radically overhauled over the next few years.

But thanks to the amazing work of Rethink campaigners, anyone concerned about these changes now has the chance to hold Chris Grayling MP, Minister for Employment at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), to account.

On 10 February at approximately 11.30am, Rethink will be hosting a live web chat with the Minister, and anyone can join in. This is your chance to ask the question that you feel hasn’t been answered.

Post your question in advance, right now, by replying to this topic.


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Welfare to work?

Only the wealthy collect the benefits

The Guardian criticises the sector

Arec Balrin writes;

“The minimal help given to jobseekers by measures such as the Flexible New Deal benefits the providers, not the unemployed”

The article also criticises Merlin and DWP


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Work and Pensions Committee

Select Committee Announcement

27 January 2011

For Immediate Release:

AN20 2010–11


Work Programme: providers and contracting arrangements


Wednesday 2 February 2011, Grimond Room, Portcullis House

At 9.30am

  • Community Links: Jonny Boux, Head of Employment Links
  • Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council: Councillor Stephen Houghton, Leader
  • St. Loye’s Foundation: Christopher Knee, Chief Executive Officer
  • The Prince’s Trust: Caroline Taunt, Head of Fundraising (Prime Contractors)

At 10.30am

  • Employment Related Services Association: Kirsty McHugh, Chief Executive, and Rob Murdoch, Chair
  • G4S Welfare to Work: Sean Williams, Managing Director
  • Serco Welfare to Work: Richard Johnson, Managing Director
  • The Wise Group: Laurie Russell, Chief Executive

This is the second oral evidence session in the inquiry into the Work Programme: providers and contracting arrangements. It will provide an opportunity to discuss the proposed contracting arrangements with both prime contractors and sub-contractors, including representatives from the voluntary and community sector.

Further information

Committee membership: Dame Anne Begg MP (Chair) (Lab, Aberdeen South), Harriett Baldwin MP (Con, West Worcestershire), Andrew Bingham MP (Con, High Peak), Karen Bradley MP (Con, Staffordshire Moorlands), Alex Cunningham MP (Lab, Stockton North), Kate Green MP (Lab, Stretford and Urmston), Mr Oliver Heald MP (Con, North East Hertfordshire), Glenda Jackson MP (Lab, Hampstead and Highgate), Brandon Lewis MP, (Con, Great Yarmouth), Stephen Lloyd MP (Lib Dem, Eastbourne), Teresa Pearce MP (Lab, Erith and Thamesmead)

Specific Committee Informationworkpencom@parliament.uk/ 020 7219 5832

Media Information: Laura Humble  humblel@parliament.uk/ 020 7219 2003

Committee Website: www.parliament.uk/workpencom

Watch committees and parliamentary debates onlinewww.parliamentlive.tv

Publications/Reports/Reference Material: Copies of all select committee reports are available from the Parliamentary Bookshop (12 Bridge St, Westminster, 020 7219 3890) or the Stationery Office (0845 7023474).  Committee reports, press releases, evidence transcripts, Bills; research papers, a directory of MPs, plus Hansard (from 8am daily) and much more, can be found on www.parliament.uk

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Whats happening elsewhere…..

Drug testing requirements are being imposed on recipients of public assistance. Through the Bill, officials are required to assess the cost and benefits of drug testing welfare recipients, whilst in another Bill there is likely to be drug screening of participants in the Virginia Initiative for Employment not Welfare (VIEW).

Yes this is the US not Blighty!!

A Bill filed, calls on the state’s Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC) to review the cost and benefits of drug testing people on the state’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.

Another Bill would require local social service departments to screen each participant in the state’s welfare-to-work program to determine if there is probable cause to believe the participants are using illegal drugs. If there is probable cause to suspect drug use, the participant would be subject to a formal substance abuse assessment, which could include drug testing. People who test positive or who refuse to participate in the screening or assessment would be ineligible for TANF payments for a year.

Bills have been introduced in four states — Kentucky, Missouri, Nebraska, and Oregon
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Official statistics on Employment Support Allowance and Work Capability Assessment have been released by the Department for Work and Pensions.

From October 2008 to May 2010, 39% of new ESA claimants were deemed to be fit to work; a further 39% closed their claim before undergoing the Assessment, or their cases remain under review.

Yesterday, the Employment Minister Chris Grayling said:

“It’s unacceptable that so many people have been written off to a lifetime on benefits and these figures show just how vital it is that everyone who has the potential to work receives the right help and support.

“Our new Work Programme will ensure that those found fit for work will get the help and support they need to get a job.

“We are determined to get the medical assessment right and provide the necessary help for those that need it, however these figures show just how many people are found to be fit for work and not entitled to ESA.”

Of the 273, 900 people deemed fit for work between October 2008 and November 2009, 90, 300 appealed against the decision which was overturned in 40% of the cases.

However, Mr Grayling asserted that the government will help the 6% people who cannot for the foreseeable future:

“Those found too sick or disabled to work won’t be expected to and will continue to receive the support they need to lead fulfilling lives.”

Website:  DWP



.. and More….

Kuki Taylor

Research Communications

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