A new study by the Sheffield Hallam University looks at how the various regions of Britain will cope with worklessness.
The study, called ‘Tackling worklessness in Britain’s weaker local economies’, identifies the 100 ‘weaker local economies’ outside London, estimated to hold around one third of the entire UK population.
Improving these areas depends on new job creation but with only modest growth in private sector jobs and 490,000 public sector jobs expected to be cut by 2014/15 the Coalition Government’s welfare reforms may not be enough, the study claims.
Job creation is the key to improving weak economies, the study claims
The study says, “The welfare reforms are predicated on an assumption that there are plenty of jobs for people to fill. This is a view that may hold in parts of southern England, where even now the economy remains fundamentally strong, but it seems wide of the mark in Britain’s weaker local economies.”
In order to boost job creation, the study suggests setting up job schemes that fund employment where it would otherwise not exist, similar to the Future Jobs Fund due to end next year, in order to create 100,000 new jobs in the 100 worst hit areas outside London as well as the 12 worst boroughs in the capital.
The schemes would focus on the 800,000 incapacity benefit claimants who say they want to work- a figure expected to rise when the welfare reforms kick in.
Professor Steve Fothergill, who led the research, said:
“We have worked out that the up-front cost to the Exchequer of creating 100,000 jobs for former incapacity benefit claimants would be around £1.2bn. But allowing for benefit savings and additional tax revenues, the net cost to the Exchequer would be just £440m.”
Commercial recycler and social welfare charity, Recycling Lives, has already proven the value of job schemes.
Recycling Lives provides employment opportunities to the long-term unemployed through a variety of schemes, such as the Future Jobs Fund and Achieve North West.
Through the Future Jobs Fund, 96 out-of-work young adults have been given the opportunity of employment.
The Achieve North West scheme, designed to help ex-offenders on probation become more employable, will see 250 participants undertake a preparation for employment course, 50 of whom will take part in a 16-week paid working programme, with 13 participants eventually being offered a full time position with Recycling Lives.
Recycling Lives Founder and Chairman, Steven Jackson, said: “It is of great importance that everything possible is done to help people into work in order to ease the burden on Britain’s welfare system. Recycling Lives have proven that job schemes are an effective way of getting people off benefits and into work.”