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Brown Lures Lone Parents and Benefit Claimants Back to Work


“It is time,” announced Chancellor Gordon Brown in his Pre-Budget Report to the Commons to “attract into work lone parents and incapacity benefit recipients with the capacity to work.”

Forty pounds a week will be offered to 250,000 lone parents or £2000 a year for the first year they get back to work.

While Brown patted himself on the back for what he referred to as the ‘successful’ Pathways to Work Scheme which gives £40 a week to return to work credit allied to rehabilitation help for those on incapacity benefit and vowed to extend it nationwide.

Employment advisers will also be positioned in GP surgeries to provide onsite advice while £30million will go to expand the numbers who can benefit from the New Deal for Disabled People.

To assess the reasons for rock-bottom employment among ethnic minorities, Brown has asked the National Employment Panel, working with the Ethnic Minority Business Forum, to report by the Budget on measures to address this issue.

The announcements echo findings from professional body the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development last month which warned that rosy employment figuresmar the record numbers of economically inactive people.

The inactivity rate for people of working age increased slightly to 21.5% for the three months ending in September 2004.

John Philpott, Chief Economist at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) commented at the time:

“Despite the good news on jobs, the number of economically inactive people - those without jobs and not looking for work - continues to rise to ever higher record levels, reaching 7.9 million.”


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