British people need to be made more employable if the government wants more of them to have jobs, the CBI warned today.
The employers’ body told work and pensions secretary Peter Hain that drastic action was needed to encourage companies to hire British workers.
It said in its submission to the government’s Green Paper on welfare reform that people on sickness benefit needed to be given support, and those with low skill levels required training.
CBI deputy director-general John Cridland said: “The success of the prime minister’s exhortations to employ Britons is dependent on action to make them more employable. If the quality isn’t high enough then no business can or should be expected to choose second best.”
Prime minister Gordon Brown told delegates at the TUC annual congress this year that he would create 500,000 jobs for British workers.
The CBI published four recommendations:
- Seven-year contracts for welfare-to-work providers, to allow long-term investment in services and staff development.
- A ‘prime contractor’ model to manage welfare-to-work provision and decide which sub-contractors – from the private, voluntary or public sector – would be most appropriate.
- The creation of 25 to 30 ‘super districts’ to allow a manageable number of contracts for the Department for Work and Pensions yet encourage providers into the market.
- The Department for Work and Pensions to improve its commercial capacity, and equip its staff with the necessary procurement and contract management skills.
Cridland added: “The government knows what it has to do. But ministers need the political courage to push through with reforms and help people get back into, and stay in, work.
“Employers are creating job opportunities every day. But they should have the confidence of recruiting from their local communities, which would help tackle social exclusion and lift individuals out of a cycle of benefit dependency.”