Long-Term Unemployed Must Work for Benefits

Daily Mail (London), February 24, 1997 | Go to article overview

Long-Term Unemployed Must Work for Benefits


Byline: WILLIAM CLARK

SCOTLAND'S

long-term jobless will be forced to work for their unemployment benefit under a radical new scheme to be unveiled by the Government today.

Those out of work for two years or more will be given the chance to earn an extra [pounds sterling]10 a week - or risk having all benefits scrapped if they refuse.

The 26-week Project Work scheme aims to give practical work experience as a route to finding a permanent job.

Scottish Secretary Michael Forsyth will launch the [pounds sterling]10million scheme today in Lanarkshire, where the Government aims to get 3,600 long-term unemployed back to work under the system.

Similar initiatives are to go ahead in Dundee, Edinburgh and Dunfermline in April, taking a further 7,000 people out of idleness. A further pilot will be launched in Glasgow in June.

If Project Work, modelled on American workfare programmes, proves sucessful, it is likely to be extended across Scotland in a concerted Government bid to slash the country's huge unemployment benefit bill and get people back to work.

An extension of the scheme, which has already been piloted in England, will also be announced today by Employment Secretary Gillian Shephard. She and Mr Forsyth believe the [pounds sterling]10million total cost is well worth it because Project Work will `flush out' fraudsters who work while illegally claiming dole, as well as those who refuse to help themselves get back to work.

Mr Forsyth said: `This is a massive step forward. I am confident long-term unemployed people will gain good job-finding skills and more people will move off benefits into work.'

The scheme offers a programme of structured job-search help followed by practical work experience for people aged 18-50.

In the first 13 weeks a range of opportunities and programmes is offered to claimants, including a series of interviews with employment and training advisers, the opportunity of a work trial andTurn to Page 2, Col. 1

SCOTLAND'S long-term jobless will be forced to work for their unemployment benefits under a radical new scheme to be unveiled by the Government today.

Those out of work for two years or more will be given the chance to earn an extra [pounds sterling]10 a week - or risk having all benefits scrapped if they refuse.

The 26-week Project Work scheme aims to give practical work experience as a route to finding a permanent job.

Scottish Secretary Michael Forsyth will launch the [pounds sterling]10million scheme in Lanarkshire, where the Government aims to get 3,600 long-term unemployed back to work under the system.

Similar initiatives are to go ahead in Dundee, Edinburgh and Dunfermline in April, taking a further 7,000 people out of idleness, followed by one in Glasgow in June.

If Project Work, modelled on American workfare programmes, proves sucessful, it is likely to be extended across Scotland in a concerted Government bid to slash the country's huge unemployment benefit bill and get people aged 18 to 50 back to work.

An extension of the scheme, which has already been piloted in England, will also be announced today by Employment Secretary Gillian Shephard.

She and Mr Forsyth believe the [pounds sterling]10million total cost is well worth it because Project Work will `flush out' fraudsters who work while illegally claiming benefits, as well as those who refuse to help themselves get back to work.

Mr Forsyth said: `This is a massive step forward. I am confident long-term unemployed people will gain good job-finding skills and more people will move into work.'

A Government source said: `This is a genuine initiative backed by a real threat: take part or else the benefits are cut or stopped.' Labour has already announced proposals to spend [pounds sterling]3billion raised from the public utilities windfall tax to get the long-term unemployed back to work. …

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