New scheme to help people back to work

04-08-2006

The government has announced a new scheme which will make the local authorities of 13 cities across the UK responsible for regional benefits spending, in a bid to increase the number of claimants going back to work.

Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland programme, minister of state for employment and pensions, Jim Murphy, announced the launch of a new drive to reduce the number of people claming incapacity benefit.

"The reason why we're focusing in on the cities, including the three in Scotland, is that we're trying to support a million people off of incapacity benefit by tailoring support to the individual," he stated.

"Too often these peopleā€¦ have been written-off, put on the scrap heap, not supported and forgotten about."

A further £5 million would be added to the £360 million already earmarked for investment in the welfare reform agenda, Mr Murphy announced.

The scheme was vital in helping people to refresh their skills and regain their confidence in order to get back to work, as well as in supporting them when they were back at work, he said.

The Scottish National Party gave the new scheme a cautious welcome, but stressed the importance of sufficient funding for it to succeed.



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