Budget to encourage over-50s, disabled and benefits claimants back into work

- Advertisement -


Ease to boost workforce participation will target over-50s, the chronically ill and disabled, and benefit claimants in the Chancellor’s upcoming budget.

Tackling economic inactivity is a key component of Jeremy Hunt’s plans, as employment numbers have fallen well below their pre-pandemic levels, hurting Britain’s already struggling economy.

- Advertisement -

As part of the billing of his “back-to-work budget”, Mr Hunt will on Wednesday announce a overhaul of the system used to assess eligibility for sickness benefits.

According to the Treasury, the biggest reform to the welfare system in a decade will mean claimants can continue to receive payments after returning to employment.

- Advertisement -

The change will allow them to go back to work without fear of being reassessed and losing their benefits.

The process is expected to be replaced with one that asks claimants to demonstrate what jobs they may be able to take, prompting disability equality charity Scope to warn that “people with disabilities should not be forced into unsuitable work”. should be done”.

The Chancellor will also set out a plan to encourage over-50s to return to work through the expansion of skills training.

The Resolution Foundation think tank recently said that while three-quarters of the increase in economic inactivity – up to 830,000 between 2019 and 2022 – was concentrated among those aged 50 and over, the pandemic is expected to “disenfranchise” retirees. The efforts were not likely to succeed.

Mr Hunt will detail an overhaul of the Universal Credit system aimed at encouraging claimants to go back to work or extend their hours.

The chancellor has faced pressure to act on childcare after it was shown to be the most expensive in the world.

The Treasury announced an increase in the maximum Universal Credit Childcare Allowance – which has been frozen at £646-per-month per child – by several hundred pounds, without providing the exact amount.

The government will start paying parents on Universal Credit childcare support in advance, instead of in arrears. This will help those who are struggling to get a job or are in debt due to sky-high upfront costs under the current system.

Other measures include:

, Stricter requirements for child care claimants to seek work or take on longer hours.

, Increase in minimum income threshold required to avoid regular meetings with work coaches equivalent to 15 to 18 hours a week. The partner of the employed person will also have to search for a job now.

, An increase in the earnings threshold for Universal Credit claimants whereby they must meet regularly with a work coach to the equivalent of 15 to 18 hours a week. The partners of employed people will also be forced to look for a job.

, A ramp-up of restrictions for claimants who do not seek or take up employment.

Mr Hunt said: “For many people, there are barriers preventing them going into work – lack of skills, a disability or health condition, or being out of the jobs market for an extended period of time.

“I want this back-to-work budget to break down these barriers and help people find the right jobs for them.

“We need to fill the skill gap and give people the qualifications, support and incentives they need to get into work. Through this scheme, we can address labor shortage, reduce inflation and put Britain back on the path to growth.

As companies struggle to fill the more than one million job vacancies in the economy, it is good to see the government finding ways to support people back in the workplace

With more than half a million workers missing from the UK workforce since the Covid outbreak, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak tasked Work and Pensions Secretary Mel Stride to review the issues holding back workforce participation in the autumn .

Their findings are due to be published in a white paper on Budget day.

Syma Culasi-Aldridge, chief campaign director at the Confederation of British Industry, said: “As companies struggle to fill the more than one million job vacancies across the economy, it is good to see the government finding ways to get people back into the workplace. Searching.”

She said it was “absolutely right” that childcare support would be paid for those on Universal Credit, but called for a review of childcare “to make sure it works for everyone”, as well as over 50 Called for reform of the apprenticeship levy to help more. back to work.

The TUC said changes such as greater childcare support are “long overdue” and welcomed “an end to assessments that cause anxiety rather than help people achieve their aspirations”.

But Paul Novak, the union’s general secretary, said proposals to extend the use of sanctions were “worrying”.

Scope’s director of strategy, James Taylor, said that scrapping the work capacity assessment was “the minimum change needed to start reforming a welfare system that routinely fails disabled people”.

He said: “To be successful these proposals must lead to a more person-centred system that provides specialist, tailored and flexible support for work.

“Those who want to work should be supported. But for some, it is not an option and people with disabilities should not be forced into unsuitable work.”

Labour’s shadow work and pensions secretary Jonathan Ashworth said: “In recent months, Labor has outlined welfare reforms to get Britons back to work and now the Tories are following our lead.”

Credit: www.standard.co.uk /

- Advertisement -

Recent Articles

Related Stories