The Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary will make a speech tomorrow at the Centre for Social Justice
Labour is promising a package of welfare reforms to get people back into the workforce and end a “monumental waste of human potential”.
Shadow work and pensions secretary Jonathan Ashworth will set out plans including measures aimed at making it easier for people out of work on sickness benefits to return to work.
The need for benefits claimants to have their ability to work reassessed would be removed for potentially thousands of people under the plan.
Labour will allow claimants to agree with their benefits adviser that if they try paid work and it does not work out, within a period of a year they can go back to the exact benefits they were on, with no fresh work capability assessment (WCA) required.
The plan will also see further reform of employment support, devolved to local areas, and targeted help for the over-50s.
The access to work scheme, which provides financial help for disabled people to start or stay in work, would be streamlined with improved targets for assessment waiting times and “in principle” indicative awards.
In a speech at the Centre for Social Justice, the think tank founded by former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith, Mr Ashworth will say: “Our most precious resource as a country is the extraordinary talents of the British people and everyone deserves the chance to find work to build a life, a home and save for their future.
“Yet under the Tories, for too many work doesn’t pay, employment is lower than pre-pandemic and record numbers are out of work for health reasons.”
He will say there is an urgent need to help get them into jobs but “the Tory alternative is to write people off”.
“That approach means a monumental waste of human potential and an economic cost too, when there are over a million vacancies in the economy.
“The truth is there are hundreds of thousands who would want to participate in employment if given the chance and right support.
“Helping people find appropriate and supportive work is good for them, good for society and good for the economy.
“Yet the tragedy is, today only one in ten out-of-work disabled people or older workers receive any support.
“That’s frankly a scandal.”
Mr Ashworth will claim Labour’s welfare reforms “will offer genuine support for people who want it and provide more independence, inclusion and fulfilment”.
Talks aimed at resolving the rail workers dispute will be held on Monday after a week of disruption to services because of strikes. Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union and Aslef took industrial action which crippled services, with only one in five trains running between Tuesday and Saturday. Union leaders will meet rail minister Huw Merriman as they continue to insist the Government is blocking a deal […]