To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Statement by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, James Purnell, on 4 December 2008 (Official Report, House of Commons, col. 19WS), whether Professor Gregg's report suggested how the final recommendations may be adapted to the particular problems of unemployed persons who live in rural areas; and, if not, what steps they will take to consider their situation. [HL759]
Professor Gregg's report, Realising Potential: A Vision for Personalised Conditionality and Support, laid out a comprehensive approach to help individuals back to work, including those that are unemployed. The report recognises that claimants will face a wide array of possible circumstances (the area in which they live being just one) and that both the support on offer and what we expect of individuals should react to those circumstances. The Government's recent White Paper, Raising Expectations and Increasing Support: Reforming Welfare for the Future, strongly accepts this principle, and lays out our plans to test Professor Gregg's core recommendations around personalising conditionality and support.
DWP is also working with the Government Office network to ensure that localities support and prioritise employment and skills issues in their areas through the local area agreements and local strategic partnerships. Local solutions will therefore support and add value to DWP's priorities in getting people back into work, particularly from disadvantaged communities, including rural areas.