New priorities for Work and Pensions Secretary19 May 2015
NIACE and our strategic partner Inclusion, jointly congratulate Iain Duncan Smith on his reappointment as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. We are committed to working closely with him to help deliver his core priorities over the course of this coming parliament.
Drawing on the proposals within our Ten Policies for Ten People document, we are particularly keen to support the new Secretary of State to:
- Implement Universal Credit – particularly building on Inclusion’s evaluation of the Universal Support Delivered Locally trials.
- Work to design and deliver a successor to the Work Programme to maximise employment and skills outcomes for the most disadvantaged.
- Help implement the Government’s important manifesto commitment to aim to halve the disability employment gap by improving provision.
- Raise levels of basic skills, a key barrier to labour force participation and productivity, through the NIACE Citizens’ Curriculum.
- Build on our successful work undertaken across Local Enterprise Partnerships to broker better local employment outcomes.
- Ensure changes are made to the benefit system so that everyone in a household in receipt of any benefit should be required to learn English if they need to, extending the current requirement for Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants to other benefits.
David Hughes, Chief Executive of NIACE, said:
“These are crucial times for the economy. We are not alone in having pointed out how the current employment and skills systems are not working for the UK, for businesses, for people in low pay, for the unemployed and for everyone who wants to get on and realise their ambitions.
“NIACE and Inclusion’s joint proposals for the first 100 days of this Government – Ten Policies for Ten People – focus on delivering sustainable growth and improved productivity by tackling long-term unemployment, supporting career progression and supporting businesses to get the skilled people they need. These are a range of practical and fiscally-neutral proposals which we believe can be implemented quickly with positive and sustainable impact.
“Together we are calling for urgent reform to the current employment, learning and skills systems so that everyone has the opportunities to get on in work and in life – and to support businesses to secure long-term growth. These have to be key priorities for this Government. We are very much looking forward to working with the new Secretary of State on this vital agenda.”