Government welfare reforms have boosted the number of benefit claimants training to improve their skills by almost 40%, according to government figures.
Business-backed local skills training schemes, called sector-based work academies, and mandatory skills referrals by Jobcentre Plus have contributed to the number of benefit claimants in England starting training going up by 39.1% in a year from 464,400 (2011 to 2012) to 645,800 (2012 to 2013).
The UK’s largest payday lender, Wonga, must pay £2.6m in compensation after sending letters from non-existent law firms to customers in arrears between October 2008 and November 2010.
If it wins the election, Labour will reduce the role of big outsourcing companies in delivering the government’s back-to-work programme. The Party is also exploring forcing them to pay all workers more than the minimum wage in exchange for Whitehall contracts, as part of their plan to end “business as usual” in the corporate world.
New figures published by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) show that almost two-thirds, or 63 per cent of councils paid out less than their total Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) allocation to tenants, leaving £13.3 million left over. In addition, around three-quarters of councils did not apply for a £20 million government top-up fund to help claimants adjust to welfare changes, leaving a further £7.1 million unspent.
The new figures also revealed that:
One in five Britons fear having to move out of their local area because of the high cost of housing, according to a new survey conducted by the Chartered Institute of Housing and Ipsos MORI.
The online poll questioned adults aged 16-75 across Great Britain, and found that 20 per cent of people agree they might have to leave neighbourhoods because of soaring housing costs.
Young people are particularly pessimistic, with more than a third (36 per cent) of 16-24-year-olds and a quarter (26 per cent) of 25-34-year-olds agreeing that they might have to move.
The European Commission has published the European Vacancy and Recruitment Report 2014, which found that low-skilled workers encounter increasing difficulties to find a job, face lower job stability and are out-competed by medium-skilled workers even in occupations with lower skills requirements. In contrast, job opportunities are growing in some high-skilled professions.
The shadow work and pensions secretary, Rachel Reeves, has announced that Labour will "pause" the build of the government's flagship welfare reform for three months to allow for a National Audit Office report on it, if it wins the next general election in 2015.
A report by parliament’s public spending watchdog, the public accounts committee has found that the government's handling of personal independence payments (PIP) has been "nothing short of a fiasco" that has caused distress to thousands of sick and disabled people.