Financial Times Reveals Welfare-to-Work Programme Chaos

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The Welfare-to-Work Programme has been described as “set to fail” by Sir Robin Wales, Mayor of Newham – the host borough for the 2012 London Olympics. In a fortnight, the winners of contracts are due to be announced, putting the unemployed and people on disability benefits back to work. However, Sir Robin believes that there is “a serious risk that some of the best prime providers may walk away”. Out of 11 bidders for the East and South London contract, 3 will be appointed in order to provide competition. Sir Robin said that he is yet to be convinced that ‘three prime contractors each delivering across 17 boroughs will do anything other than lead to confusion amongst job seekers and contractors’.

The rules the work programme has in place could themselves prevent people from taking one of the 100,000 jobs that the Olympics are meant to create. This is because providers will be paid the majority of their fee once they have managed to provide individuals with sustained work for a period of up to 2 years. However, given the short-term nature of most of the Olympic jobs on offer, the possibility of people taking jobs, becoming unemployed again and having to re-start the work programme a year later may prove discouraging.

Sir Robin believes that the government needs to ‘ensure that working in an Olympic job does not disadvantage the indivdual’ to avoid losing out on ‘the single greatest opportunity in Newham’s history to get our residents into work’.

To see the full article click Olympic jobless drive heads for ‘Chaos’

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England, N. Ireland, Scotland, Wales – Devolution and Disadvantage

Planning Map
Joseph Rowntree Foundation
have released a series of reports to mark 10 years of devolution. The reports look at the impact of devolved policies and recognise a need for the Westminster to continue to reserve certain powers in order to improve conditions across the board but picks up on a failure to communicate feedback and learning between central and devolved government policies.

While concluding that much of the improvement in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales stems from UK policy, the reports acknowledge promising results from devolved policies, especially in the areas of social housing and elderly care. Athough their impact so far has been limited in size these results should improve as the administrations stabilise and imbed.

A less positive equalising factor was raised by report author Jim McCormick, who warns –

“The scale of the projected cuts in public spending will cause some of the gains seen in the last 10 years to unravel.”

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