Blair to go after the layabouts with welfare reforms
Following the publication of a top-level report, Prime Minister Tony Blair has said that people on benefits need “to make an even greater effort” to get work if the UK investment in the welfare state is to be sustainable in the long term.
He said that this extra effort on the part of claimants was required in return for more help being provided for the long-term unemployed to find work – a project into which he is committed to make a significant UK investment.
The report’s author, David Freud, suggested that private firms and charities give one-to-one help to cut the long-term jobless figure by 1.3 million.
He also suggested making single parents look for work once their child or children reach the age of 12, rather than 16 as at present.
John Hutton, work secretary, who joined Blair and Gordon Brown at the launch of the report, said: “The plan will now be vigorously debated and we envisage a type of public-private partnership where firms or charities sign contracts to get the long-term unemployed into work.”
He continued: “They would put in the initial UK investment – in training, coaching of the claimant and so on – and then receive payments over a period of three years if the person remained in work.”
Chancellor Gordon Brown confirmed that he “will champion” the proposals – presumably meaning when he becomes Prime Minister.