Jobcentre Plus has recruited additional staff nationally to deal with the rising number of customers claiming jobseeker’s allowance and to support these customers back into work as quickly as possible. Specifically in the West Midlands we have recruited over 1,100 staff, in Yorkshire and the Humber we have recruited over 1,500 staff and in Scotland we have recruited over 1,500 staff.
The strengthened rapid response service provides help for people about to be made redundant. Funding nationally was doubled from £3 million to £6 million in 2008-09 and was doubled again to £12 million from April 2009.
Other measures include the day-one offer, which provides additional support from the first day of claim; the six-month offer, which introduces additional options for the longer-term unemployed, including a recruitment subsidy of £1,000, work-focused, pre-employment and in-work training and more support for those considering self-employment; the local employment partnerships extension, which extends this help to all newly unemployed customers and strengthens the links with participating employers; and the young person’s guarantee and associated future jobs fund, which will guarantee the offer of a job, work-focused training or meaningful activity for all 18 to 24 year-olds before they have reached the 12-month stage of their claim to jobseeker’s allowance.
The Government also direct substantial financial support to disadvantaged areas through the working neighbourhoods fund in England and the deprived areas fund in Scotland and Wales. These flexible funds enable areas to develop local solutions to help overcome problems of worklessness, complementing the Government’s broader national welfare-to-work programmes. Many of the areas receiving this financial support correspond to the same areas that have seen large rises in unemployment as a result of the recession. The funding provided through these programmes is worth approximately £0.5 billion per year in the current CSR period.
The 15 city strategy pathfinders supported by DWP include Birmingham City Region, South Yorkshire, Glasgow, Dundee and Edinburgh. City strategy pathfinders bring together local stakeholders, including Jobcentre Plus, in partnership to tackle worklessness, child poverty and social exclusion through aligning services behind shared priorities. Each pathfinder has responded to the recession by revising its business plans to reflect activity to tackle the high level of newly unemployed while retaining focus on the most disadvantaged areas.
The Government are pleased that the National Young Volunteers Service is supporting the Backing Young Britain campaign, which was announced by Ministers on 29 July.
The Government will be introducing arrangements early next year to make two-week work experience opportunities available to jobseekers aged 18 to 21 who have been on jobseeker's allowance for three months. They will remain entitled to jobseeker's allowance. We also committed, as part of Backing Young Britain, to increase the number of graduate and non-graduate internships available to young people, with 10,000 internship and work experience opportunities for non-graduates, and a total of 20,000 graduate internships.
On 4 November 2009, HM Treasury published a paper setting out the estimated effect on employment of discretionary economic stimulus put in place since November 2008 (see Employment Impact of Government Interventions http://www.hm-treasury.gov. uk/foi_economic_stimulus.htm).
Since Budget 2009, policy measures to directly and indirectly support jobs like the additional funding for Jobcentre Plus and support for business have continued. Going into 2010, there will continue to be significant government support in place, including discretionary measures and fiscal support provided by the automatic stabilisers. According to IMF data, the size of the UK’s automatic stabilisers compares very favourably with our international competitors.