Unemployed could be incentivised to relocate to find work, government says

Unemployed people living in council homes could be incentivised to move to areas where there are jobs, the work and pensions secretary has said.

Iain Duncan Smith said millions of people were trapped in “ghettos of poverty” unable to move for fear of losing their homes.

He added the UK has one of the most static workforces in the western world, with people “trapped” in areas with high unemployment.

The coalition government wants to distribute unemployment more evenly across the country and to make it as easy for people on low incomes to travel to do a job as the better-off, he said.

Under the new proposals, the jobless would be able to go to the top of the housing list in another area where there are more employment opportunities.

The coalition is believed to be looking at providing incentives for workers to relocate, rather than compelling them to move.

But Duncan Smith said he did not expect people to relocate to different parts of the country, but where work was available up to 15 miles away from where someone lived, people would need support to take advantage of the opportunity.

He said his plans were about assisting people, not forcing them to uproot.

“It is not threatening people; far from it,” he told Sky News. “Most people I talk to on housing estates desperately want work but they are trapped. It is about trying to help them to find a way out.”

Chancellor George Osborne agreed anything which encouraged social mobility should be looked at.

He said: “We want to give people freedom of choice and we want to give that freedom of choice to people in social housing just as people in private rented housing or who own their own home have.

“It is about giving people on lower incomes in our society the kind of opportunities and aspirations that other people in our society take for granted.”

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