- Digital Tools, Mental Health.
- Welfare Changes, Monitoring
- Back to Work Plan: £2.5B
Under Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s Back to Work Plan, £2.5 billion has been pledged to assist long-term ill individuals and those with disabilities in reintegrating into the workforce. Following the pandemic, the figure has increased by approximately 500,000.
In an effort to boost employment rates, the government declared its intention to eliminate welfare benefits and increase monitoring of recipients.
Free prescriptions and legal aid will be withheld from job candidates deemed not actively seeking employment, according to the chancellor’s Back to Work Plan. The initiative aims to reintegrate 1.1 million individuals into the labour force.
“Digital tools” will track individuals’ attendance at job fairs and interviews, following proposed strategies.
Changes in Social Welfare Sanctions
Individuals under an open-ended social welfare sanction for six months due to noncompliance with a benefit condition will be transferred to universal credit with a slightly reduced payment. Additionally, these individuals will no longer be eligible for legal aid or prescription cost reimbursement.
The Back to Work Plan stipulates that no one should be eligible for complete jobseeker’s allowance for eighteen months without assistance from a Jobcentre.
Three months before July of this year, 300,000 individuals had been unemployed for over a year; these individuals could potentially be impacted by the policy.
According to the latest official statistics, 8.78 million 16-to-64-year-olds were economically inactive from May to July. The majority are either students, ill, caring for family or the residence, or retired early, according to Full Fact.
Increase in Inactivity due to Pandemic
The pandemic has added 500,000 economically inactive people with long-term illness or disability to 2.6 million.
The Back to Work Plan aims to lower this number by funding programmes that help people find and keep jobs.
Availability of Spaces in Support Initiatives
The investment will create over 500,000 government mental health and disability assistance spaces over five years. These initiatives include NHS talking therapies, individual placement and support, and universal support.
If they don’t meet Jobcentre job search and other conditions, job seekers may lose their benefits.
A maximum of 35 hours per week must be spent searching for employment within a 90-minute travel radius. However, this time commitment may be reduced for carers.
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said, “No.” when asked if the policies would harm public mental and physical health. He explained that the belief is rooted in the conviction that work benefits all individuals.
We maintain that receiving benefits while confined to one’s residence is detrimental to one’s mental health.
We are committed to expanding our economy, which necessitates addressing the increase in individuals who are not actively seeking employment. This is particularly crucial given the substantial number of unemployed who desire to work and the nearly one million job openings that provide such opportunities,” he continued.