Department for Work and Pensions
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Employer Partnership and a new 'jobs pledge' the key to full employment in Britain, says Prime Minister

Employer Partnership and a new 'jobs pledge' the key to full employment in Britain, says Prime Minister

DEPARTMENT FOR WORK AND PENSIONS News Release (DRC - 039) issued by The Government News Network on 18 July 2007

A ground-breaking new "jobs pledge" aiming to find job opportunities for a quarter of million people currently on benefit is at the heart of a Green Paper on the next steps to full employment being published today by Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Work and Pensions Secretary, Peter Hain.

Building on the Local Employment Partnerships announced in the Budget earlier this year, major employers in both the public and private sectors have given a commitment to offer guaranteed job interviews for people who have been on benefit and who are ready and prepared to work.

At a launch event today in Downing Street, Gordon Brown and Peter Hain were joined by a group of Chief Executives and Directors drawn from some 30 employers which have already committed themselves to Local Employment Partnerships.

Announcing the reforms, the Prime Minister said:

"In Britain today there is still too much potential untapped, too much talent wasted, too much ability unrealised. Full prosperity for our country can only be delivered - and Britain only properly equipped for the future - if we transform the way we think: using not some of the talents of some of the people, but all of the skills of all of the people.

"And it is because of the scale of our ambitions, that we know this task can not be met by Government on its own or business on its own, but only by individuals, Government and business in partnership together. Government taking responsibility to fund basic skills training and reforms its provision; employees taking responsibility to take up the training on offer; but crucially also employers themselves taking greater responsibility for providing job opportunities and improving the skills of their workforce.

"This new jobs pledge today sees leading employers in Britain stepping up to that responsibility, aiming to help 250,000 more people into jobs within three years."

The employers that have committed to Local Employment Partnerships include ASDA, B&Q, Marks and Spencer, Sainsbury, Tesco, Debenhams, DSGI, Birds Eye, Transport for London, Greggs, John Lewis, Primark, Wilkinsons, Gala Group, Intercontinetal Hotel Group, Wetherspoons, McDonalds, Whitbread, G4S, OCS, Reliance, Securitas, Standard Life, Somerset County Council, Network Rail, Vodaphone, Carillion, Centrica, City Facilities Management, Aviance, Servisair, SERCO, Travelodge, and Diageo.

The Green Paper also sets out plans for a more personalised, flexible and responsive New Deal matched by new responsibilities for jobseekers to do all they can to help themselves.

There will be a new social contract for lone parents which promotes the value of work as the best route to tackle child poverty. Under our proposals, from October 2008 lone parents whose youngest child has reached the age of 12 will no longer be entitled to Income Support simply because they are a lone parent. Instead they will be eligible to claim Jobseeker's Allowance, where they will be expected to look for suitable work in return for tailored, personalised help and support that reflects the specific circumstances facing the lone parent.

And, building on the Freud Report earlier this year, the Green Paper sets out proposals to make much greater use of expertise across the private, public and voluntary sectors at both national and local level.

Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Peter Hain said,

"Ten years of progress has transformed work and opportunity in Britain - today the achievement of full employment and the eradication of child poverty are no longer simply seen as aspirational rallying calls - but as real targets that people expect to be delivered for our generation.

"Today's reforms offer a step change in our approach - with new support matched by new responsibilities. Those facing particularly severe barriers to work will now get fast-tracked help. Others who have a history of long-term benefit dependency could face tougher responsibilities from the start of their claim. And our reforms will not just be about getting people into work - job retention and progression are the new standards against which the success of welfare policy will be judged."

The Green Paper is published alongside 'World Class Skills - Implementing the Leitch Review of Skills in England' which sets out how the Government will respond the challenges highlighted by Lord Leitch and improve the skills of the workforce so they can access more job opportunities.

Notes to Editors:

1. In Work, Better Off: next steps to full employment Green Paper is at http://www.dwp.gov.uk/welfarereform/in-work-better-off/ . The Government is seeking views on In Work, Better Off. The consultation closes on 31 October 2007.

2. World Class Skills - Implementing the Leitch Review of Skills in England is published by the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills today.

3. Peter Hain's Statement to Parliament is at http://www.dwp.gov.uk/aboutus/2007/18-07-07.asp

4. David Freud's report 'Reducing Dependency, Increasing Opportunity: options for the future of welfare to work,' was published 5 March 2007. http://www.dwp.gov.uk/welfarereform//freud_report.asp

5. Working for children (March 2007) is at http://www.dwp.gov.uk/childpoverty

6. Lisa Harker's report Delivering on Child Poverty (Nov 2006) is at http://www.dwp.gov.uk/publications/dwp/2006/harker/

Website: http://www.dwp.gov.uk

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