Many of you will be concerned about the costs of our social security system, and whether it will be there for them when they need it.
This week Rachel Reeves, Labour’s Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, explained how a Labour government would address those concerns. She argued that reform of social security is essential to help us to earn our way out of the Tories' cost-of-living crisis by ensuring the system is fair and affordable.
Of all the problems we face in our drive to build a better economy in Waveney, one of the biggest and most urgent is unemployment, particularly long-term unemployment. The latest figures for Waveney area show 680 long-term unemployed.
One of the main reasons why so many of the long-term unemployed find it hard to get a job is their lack of basic skills in maths, English and IT. The startling fact is that many of the long-term unemployed will not receive any intensive training in basic IT, English or maths skills until they have been on the dole for three years under the Tories. That’s far too long. The longer people are unemployed, the less likely they will be to find work and the more they will cost the social security system.
So this week, Labour has announced that it would introduce a new requirement for job seekers to have an assessment of their basic maths, English and IT skills with proper training for those who don’t have the skills they need for a job - training they will be required to take up alongside their job search, or lose their benefits. Labour’s Basic Skills Test will assess all new claimants for Job Seekers Allowance within six weeks of claiming benefits, will give the long-term unemployed a better chance of finding a job and will help us to earn our way out of the cost-of-living crisis. With Labour, all new claimants of JSA would be assessed within six weeks and given the necessary training quickly - compared to spending years without basic skills under the Tories.
Our Basic Skills Test will work along with our Compulsory Jobs Guarantee for young people and the long-term unemployed to get more people in Waveney into work. The Compulsory Jobs Guarantee would mean that anyone over 25 who has been receiving Job Seekers Allowance for 2 years or more and anyone under 25 who has been receiving Job Seekers Allowance for one year or more would get a guaranteed job, paying at least the minimum wage for 25 hours a week and training of at least 10 hours a week.
Labour’s Basic Skills Test and Compulsory Jobs Guarantee will help get more people in Waveney back into work, and in better paid and more secure jobs. That’s how we’ll tackle rising social security expenditure, ensure the system is fair and sustainable for Waveney and to earn our way out of the cost-of-living crisis.