Workfare and “swift and severe sanctions”: Diktats from Chancellor’s Autumn Statement

FOI Watch: Compulsory Work Experience, Traineeships and Community Work for 18 to 21 year olds

“1.285 Autumn Statement 2013 confirms that the government will invest £700 million over 4 years in a new Help to Work scheme. This will require all JSA claimants who are still
unemployed after 2 years on the Work Programme to undertake intensive, often daily, activity to improve their employment prospects, or put something back into their community, with swift and severe sanctions for those who fail to comply.

1.286 Advisers will be given the power to mandate claimants to community work placements if their time out of the labour market has left them short of basic employment skills, experience and motivation – working full time for 6 months to maintain local green spaces, clear up litter or work for a local charity. A third of claimants will be required to intensify their job search by signing on daily for up to 3 months. For those with underlying problems, like homelessness and illiteracy, there will be an intensive regime of help.

1.287 Help to Work will provide the long-term unemployed with the experience and motivation they need to move back into work, and will particularly benefit those at the bottom of the income distribution. The different options for support will allow advisers to provide tailored help to individual claimants, while sending a clear message that every claimant must do everything they can to find work in return for their benefits.

2.179 Help to Work – From April 2014 the government will introduce a new package of
targeted measures to help the long-term unemployed, who are still unemployed after 2 years on the Work Programme, back to work. Claimants will be referred to 3 different types of support depending on need: daily signing, mandatory intervention or community work placements.

2.180 Jobcentre Plus support for 16 and 17 year olds – Through Jobcentre Plus, the government will support 16 and 17 year olds not in education, employment or training to find apprenticeships and traineeships, in partnership with local authorities.

2.181 16-hour study rule for traineeships – The 16-hour study rule currently prevents
Jobseekers’s Allowance (JSA) claimants from doing more than 16 hours of study per week. The government will exempt claimants undertaking a traineeship from this rule.

2.182 Piloting skills support for unemployed 18 to 21 year olds – The government will pilot a new scheme of support for young benefit claimants. From day 1 of a claim, training will
be mandatory for young people without level 2 qualifications in English and maths. After 6
months of a claim, all 18 to 21 year old JSA claimants will be expected to participate in a work experience placement, a traineeship or community work placement.

2.183 New Enterprise Allowance – The New Enterprise Allowance scheme, which helps
unemployed people to set up their own business, will be extended to March 2016. (14)

2.184 Supporting Work: 3-monthly interviews – As announced at Spending Round 2013,
to support people back to work, the government will require all JSA claimants and Universal Credit claimants in the full conditionality group to undertake an interview every 3 months to take a detailed look at their strategy for job search.

2.185 Supporting Work: additional interviews throughout claim – As announced at Spending Round 2013, to support people back to work the government will introduce more frequent (weekly) signing for half of all jobseekers. The individual claimants called in every week will be chosen at adviser discretion – with focus given to those who most need support or who are not engaging fully with the system.

2.186 Supporting Work: 7 waiting days for out-of-work claims – As announced atSpending Round 2013 to support people back to work, all income-related and contributoryJSA claimants, and Universal Credit claimants who are subject to work related activity, will be required to wait 7 days before becoming eligible for financial support.

2.187 Supporting Work: annual verification – As announced at Spending Round 2013, all Universal Credit claimants who have been subject to full conditionality for at least 12 months and all JSA claimants who have been claiming for 12 months will need to verify their claim each year, supporting this government’s efforts to reduce fraud and error in the benefits system.”

From: Chancellor George Osborne’s Autumn Statement 2013