As announced in the spending review, the DWP will enhance its support for universal credit claimants who are in work. From April next year, they will have access to a dedicated work coach to help individuals remove barriers, enabling them to progress in work. We will be introducing new Jobcentre Plus specialists, known as district progression leads, who will work with local employers and partners to identify progression opportunities, with support from work coaches.
Does my hon. Friend agree that with the introduction of various skills initiatives by this Government and a booming job market, people across the UK, and in particular in Don Valley, will be finding it easier than ever to get on the job ladder and progress in their chosen career?
I agree with my hon. Friend. The extensive support that the Government have offered through our plan for jobs has protected, supported and created jobs in Don Valley and beyond. In his constituency, for example, we have continued funding our successful sector-based work academy programme in new opportunities such as rail, warehousing, care, security and hospitality, where someone gets a guaranteed interview as part of the programme, which is offered to all his constituents.
The Government’s increase in the living wage does not make it the real living wage. It does not reflect the increased cost of living and it does not adequately support young people under the age of 23. Why are the UK Government refusing to increase the national living wage to the real living wage?
I understand that it is around 60% of the median wage. The reality is that through kickstart, there will be young people in the hon. Gentleman’s constituency who will have got on the jobs ladder sooner and earlier than ever before in sectors that one could not have believed, from viticulture to digital marketing to working in architecture—all different areas. That is because of the Government intervening in jobs and opportunities that can lead to apprenticeships, traineeships and progressing in work.