New funding and an extension of the New Enterprise Allowance is said to help tens of thousands of new businesses, according to Prime Minister, David Cameron. The New Enterprise Allowance will be extended for new starters until the end of 2014 (creating an additional 60,000 mentoring places). In addition to this, £34 million for Start-Up Loans will support around 7,600 businesses.
In Northern Ireland, the Department for Social Development has published research into the attitudes and perceptions of benefit and tax credit claimants. The research was commissioned to gain a greater understanding of how the proposed move to Universal Credit would affect different claimant groups.
Data published by the Employment Related Services Association (ERSA) has shown that the Work Programme has helped 62,000 people into work between April and June 2013. This brings the total number of people helped into work to 384,000, up from 321,000 as of the end of March 2013.
BBC News has reported that a takeover deal of a Remploy factory in Wales can be expected in the coming week. Some workers (those who did not take redundancy) will continue work at the factory. The Welsh government has provided around £2.4m to support organisations who take on a former Remploy employee for four years.
For more information, please see the BBC News website.
The Social Security Advisory Committee (SSAC) has published a report on communications in the benefits system. The report makes nine recommendations to improve this ‘long standing challenge for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)’, as SSAC puts it. Clear and timely communications are especially important during this time of rigorous changes to the welfare system, and are vital to ensuring claimants understand when, how, and why they will be affected.
The report’s key findings and recommendations include:
Skills Minister, Matthew Hancock, has called for all schools and colleges to follow the example of the best and provide inspiring careers advice to young people. He also said it was vital that employers worked with schools and colleges to ensure all young people received high-quality careers advice, with employers taking centre stage in inspiring young people to get on in life.
The government has responded to the Work and Pensions Select Committee’s report, ‘Can the Work Programme work for all user groups?’ published on 21 May 2013. The response addresses the concerns raised by the report. Concerns addressing minimum performance levels, Work Programme statistical releases, impacts of the market share shift, attachment fees and post-Work Programme support are addressed below.