Vale of Clwyd MP Dr James Davies has welcomed the Conservative Government’s new ‘Back to Work Plan’, which will help people in North Wales and elsewhere to stay healthy, be less dependent on benefits, and look for and stay in work.
Building on the ambitious £7 billion employment package announced at the spring budget, the Chancellor outlined a new ‘Back to Work Plan’ in his Autumn Statement, expanding employment support and reforming the ways that people with disabilities and health conditions interact with the state.
As part of the plan, four key programmes – NHS Talking Therapies, Individual Placement and Support, Restart and Universal Support – will be expanded, benefitting up to 1.1 million people over the next five years and supporting those with mental or physical health conditions into employment. In devolved areas, such as NHS Talking Therapies, the Welsh Government will receive equivalent funding.
Alongside these programmes, stricter benefit sanctions will also be enforced by the Department for Work and Pensions for people who are able to work but refuse to engage with their Jobcentre or take on work offered to them. Benefit claimants who continue to refuse to engage with the Jobcentre will face having their claim closed.
Further measures are also being explored, including trial reforms to the fit note process to make it easier and quicker for people to get specialised work and health support, with improved triaging and signposting.
The Back to Work Plan is part of wider package of measures to grow the economy within the Autumn Statement.
Getting more people into work and making sure that work pays remains a key priority for the Conservative Government, ensuring fairness and helping to grow the economy, manage inflation and boost living standards.
Commenting, James said:
"Being in employment improves living standards and boosts health and wellbeing. It also helps our local businesses by giving them the workforce they need to grow.
“This is why I am delighted that the Conservative Government has set out its new Back to Work Plan, building on our proud track record of getting four million more people into work since 2010.
“The package of measures will help over a million people into work and give everyone the opportunity to fulfil their potential.
"The Government is taking the long-term decision to help more people into work, ensuring that work always pays, boosting living standards and growing our economy.
Commenting, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt, said:
“We’re serious about growing our economy and that means we must address the rise in people who aren’t looking for work–especially because we know so many of them want to and with almost a million vacancies in the jobs market, the opportunities are there.“
“These changes mean there’s help and support for everyone–but for those who refuse it, there are consequences too. Anyone choosing to coast on the hard work of taxpayers will lose their benefits.”