AS THE pilot scheme for supervised job search is rolled out in certain areas of the UK, the MP for Uttoxeter has said he welcomes the move.
The supervised job search activity trial will require some job seekers to attend a local centre where they will receive expert support and supervision while they search and apply for jobs.
They will be required to attend the centre for 35 hours a week for up to six months. The news comes soon after it was revealed just 34 people in Uttoxeter are claiming Job Seekers Allowance.
Two pilot schemes are due to be run for claimants – one targeting the very long-term unemployed, and the other focusing on claimants who are identified as likely to benefit from this intensive regime early on in their claim.
Attendance at the centres will be mandatory and failure to participate without good reason will lead to a benefit sanction.
Pilots are expected to be running by the end of 2014, and each of the pilots is expected to have around 3,000 participants.
MP Andrew Griffiths said: “I think it’s important that job seekers are given as much support and guidance as possible to find a job.
“The 9 til 5 supervision is not a penalty, it’s an opportunity to ensure instant advice is on hand to help with jobs.
“We’ve seen a dramatic fall in unemployment in Uttoxeter but there are many job seekers still to help.
“I am a strong advocate of volunteering – it not only gives people experience in the workplace but helps build confidence and does good things for the community.
“There will always be some people who never secure paid employment and in this case volunteering gives them opportunity to raise their self-worth.”
The news comes soon after it was revealed only 34 people in Uttoxeter are claiming Jobseekers Allowance
A record surge in employment means in one town almost no-one is on the dole.
And with Waitrose set to open with 180 new jobs, it means unemployment could disappear altogether.
Andrew Griffiths told the Advertiser: ‘These are astounding figures, and only go to demonstrate that the government’s long term economic plan is paying huge dividends in Uttoxeter.
“Overall, unemployment in my constituency has almost halved in the last four years this Government has been in power, but it is fantastic to discover that it has fallen to such a low level in Uttoxeter.”
The number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance nationally is now below one million and unemployment has seen the largest annual fall in a quarter of a century, figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show.
Secretary of state for work and pensions Iain Duncan Smith said: “Creating jobs is central to building a stronger, more resilient and stable economy.
“With millions more people in private sector employment under this government, it is clear that our long-term economic plan is helping Britain to recover following one of the deepest recessions in living memory.
“All of our reforms are focused on helping people off benefits and into work – giving people the peace of mind and security that comes with a steady income.
“We are helping people to break free from welfare dependency, look after themselves and their families, and play their part in getting our country back to work.”
Chris Plant, director of Burton and District Chamber of Commerce, which covers Uttoxeter, said: “The labour market is continuing to strengthen, with employment rising and the number of inactive people also falling.
“To build upon these figures, we need to take firmer action on youth and long term unemployment.”
By Joanna Craig (Uttoxeter Advertiser)