The Crusade for Full Employment Peter Hain MP Secretary by jzq21381

VIEWS: 4 PAGES: 11

									The Crusade for Full Employment

Peter Hain MP Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

I want to thank the IPPR for the invitation to be here at the
launch of this important report.

And to congratulate Lisa and Carey as the new joint
Directors of IPPR.

The IPPR always has a very positive and important
contribution to make on all aspects of public policy and I
welcome this opportunity to discuss how we will take
forward the next crucial phase in what I make no apology
for calling the crusade for full employment and against
poverty.

In one of the strongest economies in the world, I refuse to
accept that ‘the poor are always with us’.

I refuse to accept that I have to tell people who want to
work that there is no room for them in one of the strongest
labour markets in the world.

I refuse to accept that children born into poverty have to
live in poverty.


We have to build on the foundations of ten years of
unparalleled progress with the most sustained period of
economic growth for over two hundred years:

- the highest level employment in our history.

- 2.6 million more people in work than just a decade ago.

- the fastest falling child poverty in Europe.


                               1
For the first time in a generation the number of people on
incapacity benefit is falling compared to the three-fold
increase between 1979 and 1997.

For the first time in our history more than half of working
age lone parents are in employment.

Over 2 million pensioners are no longer living in absolute
poverty.

For the first time we can talk about ‘full employment in our
generation’ and full employment is at the heart of our anti-
poverty strategy.

But let’s be honest about it.

The challenge of taking 2.8 million children out of poverty
to achieve our historic ambition to halve child poverty by
2010 and eradicate it by 2020.

The challenge of helping many of the four million people of
working age who are on an out of work benefit – mostly
incapacity – in to a job,

The challenge of helping lone parents into work, will be
greater than anything we have faced to date.

The hurdles that the long-term unemployed, the disabled,
lone parents face are high and we have to help them over
them.

The principles and values remain constant as they have
done since Beveridge and Attlee and through our own
New Deal: equality and opportunity, rights and
responsibilities: work for those who can and support for
those who can’t.


                                2
But how we do it needs a step change in reform and that
is what ‘In Work, Better Off the next steps to full
employment’ sets out.

It will mean building on the success of the New Deal with
a more flexible, responsive and personally tailored
programme for job seekers including fast tracked support
for those who have previously struggled to find a stable
pattern of work.

At the end of the day what we need and what we are
striving for is a ‘whole customer approach’.

We want better customer insight and a more sophisticated
understanding of their needs and through that the most
effective ways to deliver for them through tailored and
personalised intervention.

The key to it is working with the person and not defining
them by their circumstances.

Less focus on what benefit they are on and how long they
have been claiming and more on what their needs are.

That is what I want.

I know that that is what you want and I will be studying
Carey and Lisa’s paper closely.

To do that, we will strengthen Jobcentre Plus’ role at the
heart of the system of help and support, particularly early
in a benefit claim.

I trust our fantastic staff, to have greater freedom and
discretion to provide job seekers with the help and support



                             3
they need to get and sustain a job – something I will be
saying more about in the coming weeks and months.

It will mean an increased and intensified level of
engagement both from us and the individual the longer a
person is out of employment.

And we will make better use of specialist support for the
disadvantaged who need it most and that will come in at
the most appropriate point in their benefit claim.

What that will mean in practice is that after a specific
period of time that person will get the specialist help of
private and/or voluntary sector providers.

The handover period would generally be 12 months but if
the individual’s circumstances or characteristics dictate
that a shorter period is appropriate then it will be.

Let me take this opportunity to be absolutely clear about
this point because frankly some mischief has been made
about the role that I foresee the private and voluntary
sectors playing as we go forward.

It is a fact that Government does not have all the answers
to meet every challenge.

And so the private – and voluntary—sector must and in
my plans will have an enhanced role to give individualised
attention and support and to lever in new finance.

The old sterile battle for territory between public and
private sectors is redundant.

No one has ‘gone cool’ on reform, no one has ‘gone cool’
on the role of the private sector.



                              4
I am interested in one thing and one thing only: What
Works.

The reality is we will work with large providers.

They can bring scale and integration.

Smaller providers already have great records in delivering
very specialised, innovative and targeted help that is
essential to overcome deep seated problems.

And we will continue to work with the voluntary sector
which has produced extraordinary results with some of the
hardest to reach people.

While, at the same time, Jobcentre Plus –which has
shown what a transformed public service can really be
like—will stay at the core of the system both providing
direct help and ensuring that no one gets overlooked or
lost in the system.

We will get no where if we revert to an argument about
dogma that says either only the public sector can do this
or only the private sector can do this.

I think that those – like the Opposition - who seek to
present policy in this way are living in a political Jurrasic
Park fighting an old battle which has no relevance to
where we are today at all.

Sensible people should not collude with them in seeking to
divert debate from what are important issues about how
we best harness the expertise of public, private and third
sectors for this crusade.

I met David Freud last week and it is clear that we are in
the same place.


                               5
On the one hand we need to lever in up front private
finance.

Equally neither of us wants to stifle smaller successful
private and voluntary providers.

 What I said at the time I published the green paper
remains the position.

I have yet to be convinced that David’s specific proposal
based around 11 regional contacts, thereby replacing a
one-size-fits all state monopoly approach with a one-size-
fits all private monopoly approach is the answer.

But if a regional or sub regional private contractor is the
answer we will go for it.

If it isn’t we won’t.

But there will be an increasing role for private contractors,
about that let there be no doubts whatsoever.

I will work with every business that will deliver for me, big
and small.

And, of course as you all know, since 1997 we have been
working in partnership with private and voluntary sector
providers on programmes like Employment Zones and the
New Deal for Disabled people.

They are part of the roll out across the country of our
Pathways to Work pilots which have been hugely
successful in getting the inactive—many of whom had
given up on ever working—into jobs which transform their
life opportunities.



                              6
There are tens of thousands of success stories and
independent research shows that Pathways has a real
and lasting effect on people’s ability to fulfill their
employment aspirations.

Getting work not only lifts people out of poverty, it
improves their health, their self-esteem, their quality of life.

That is why I have committed to extending the Pathways
to Work programme to every part of Great Britain by April
2008.

Today I can announce that we have appointed a mix of
private and voluntary sector providers, including Action for
Employment, TNG and the Shaw Trust, to deliver
Pathways to Work in 15 areas of Great Britain.

A second phase of contracts will be announced later this
year ensuring that anyone on Incapacity Benefit or
Employment and Support Allowance in the future will have
access to a local Pathways service.

Providers will offer personalised training and support
tailored to individual needs, including equipping them with
the skills they need to manage their health condition on a
day-to-day basis so that it won’t hold them back.

No where is the partnership between government and
business more ground breaking and, I am convinced,
more central to the task of getting the disadvantaged into
work than in the Local Employment Partnerships that the
Prime Minister spoke so powerfully about at the TUC
Congress this week.

It builds on the ‘something for something’ principle that
underpins the Welfare State: individuals taking advantage



                               7
of the help that is available to be ready for work including
the ground-breaking Pathways to Work.

And employers considering them for vacancies within their
businesses.

People will get help through Jobcentre Plus working with
the Learning and Skills Council to ensure that they get the
right type of training to get them to the point of being ‘job-
ready’, following through on the Leitch recommendation
for greater integration between employment and skills
delivery.

In exchange for that they will have help and support in
finding work –for example a guaranteed job interview or a
work trial with an employer.

And employers will provide mentoring schemes to help
people make the transition into a working environment, as
Marks and Spencer have already done very successfully
within their Marks and Start scheme.

Allied to this there is a new ‘Jobs Pledge’ which will see at
least 250,000 people who are at disadvantage in the
labour market finding work through the LEPs by the end of
2010.

We have to break through the old barriers that have
prevented people from getting work.

And because our motivation in pushing forward with our
crusade is based around our commitment to social justice
and our passion to raise families out of poverty, I want
every person in our country to aspire and achieve not just
a job, but a career.




                              8
So there will be a new focus on sustainable work and
making work pay.

I have no interest in compelling lone parents or anyone
else for that matter into jobs in which they and their
families will be worse off.

Because that will not tackle poverty.

That is why the PM’s announcement at the TUC on
Monday on the expansion of In Work Credit is so
welcome.

It is also why ‘better off calculations’ are playing an
increasing role in our dialogue with our customers and
why from March next year job seekers will be able
undertake ‘better off calculations’ themselves on-line at
our improved website.

We will also be doing more to ensure that particularly lone
parents know that Housing and Council Tax benefit are
‘in-work’ benefits too and I think that that should
encourage lone parents to get connected to the labour
market as their children get older.

We must ensure that poor information is not a barrier to
people considering a return to work.

When the Green Paper was launched, I wanted the title ‘In
Work Better Off’ because that is where I think the
emphasis should be.

Too often the terms of the discussion on welfare reform
are exclusively on benefits.




                             9
Of course the benefit system and how it functions –or
doesn’t - is a central part of the debate.

We said last year in ‘A New Deal for Welfare: Empowering
people to work’ that there may be advantages in moving to
a single system of working age benefits and I welcome
Roy and Kate’s contribution to the discussion.

Though I think they would agree that moving to a single
benefit would be a huge change, involving some difficult
issues about the way we provide support for people with
additional needs, for example.

Clearly we want to maximise employment opportunities for
everyone on benefit.

And it follows that it is in everyone’s interest that the
problems caused by an over complex benefits structure
that are a disincentive to getting into work must be
addressed.

And that is what we are doing:

Through the Employment and Support Allowance which
will provide a single integrated benefit to people with an
illness or disability and a new regime to ensure they can
take advantage of the support we can provide.

Through a much more practical approach to child
maintenance.

Through a simpler form of housing support.

And crucially, through a modern and more generous
provision for pensioners.




                             10
But whether on the need to simplify our frankly mind
boggling benefit system; or the need to make our welfare
to work programmes more flexible and personalised, you
always push us to go further, faster.

It is right that you do that.

But I think that we are agreed that we are all going in the
same direction and that it is a destination worth arriving at.

There will be those who will say that seeking full
employment and an end to child poverty is impossibly
naïve and too ambitious.

I don’t accept that.

If we are ambitious, we are right to be ambitious and we
must be ambitious.

The dispossessed and the disadvantaged deserve no
less.




                                11

								
To top