Welfare reform Green Paper promises to get people off benefits and back to work

A new “jobs pledge” aiming to find employment opportunities for 250,000 people currently on benefit is at the heart of a Green Paper published by prime minister Gordon Brown and work and pensions secretary Peter Hain.

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.

The scheme builds on the Local Employment Partnerships announced in the Budget earlier this year.

Prime minister Gordon Brown said: “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.”

Employers that have committed to the scheme include Asda, B&Q, Marks and Spencer, Sainsbury, Tesco and John Lewis.

And, building on the Freud Report on welfare reform published earlier this year, the Green Paper sets out proposals to make much greater use of expertise across the private, public and voluntary sectors to help benefit claimants.

Work and pensions secretary Peter Hain said: “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.”

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