"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

The UK government's back-to-work plan is roofed – and why it's unlikely to spice up people's job prospects

Ahead of the UK government's latest economic statement, the Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, and the Secretary for Work and Pensions, Mel Stride, unveiled a brand new employment support package. Back to work planning.

The government goals to assist a couple of million people who find themselves either long-term unemployed or in long-term health conditions to (re)enter the workforce or stay in employment. These measures include providing additional individual support, particularly for those with health conditions, in addition to revised profit conditions and restrictions.

The UK unemployment rate for 16 to 64 12 months olds is 4.4%. Although barely higher than pre-pandemic levels, it is comparatively low by historical standards.

But the speed of what economists call “economic inactivity” has followed a distinct trend. Economic inactivity refers to people who find themselves neither working nor actively in search of work. This might be as a consequence of retirement, studies, caregiving responsibilities. Long term ill health.

In recent years, the number of individuals reporting being out of labor as a consequence of health problems has increased significantly. In the period May to July 2019, the Office for National Statistics reported that 2,048,000 people aged 16 to 64 were economically inactive for long-term health reasons. The pandemic has seen this figure rise even further. Half a million to achieve 2.6 million.

In terms of job availability, the UK currently counts. 957,000 Jobs across the economy are about 150,000 greater than before COVID.

Failure to attend consecutive job center appointments may lead to people being sanctioned.
Michael Heath | International.

What is behind the work plan?

The plan focuses on each health and unemployment support by expanding 4 existing programs.

Mental health treatment initiative NHS Talking Therapies is now set to be accessed by a further 384,000 people, and individual placement and support programmes, integrated into community mental health services, by a further 100,000 people.

Restart, the long-term unemployment scheme for Universal Credit claimants, is to be prolonged by two years in England and Wales and the time-frame for interventions brought forward. People will now receive support from Restart after six months of being on Universal Credit as an alternative of nine months. In addition, additional job center support has been announced for England and Scotland.

The number of individuals assisted under the Universal Support Program will increase to 100,000 (from 50,000). Participants will profit from 12 months of private support, a dedicated key employee, and funding of as much as £4,000 for training and health condition management.

The Back to Work plan also formally launched the brand new Workwell programme, which will likely be piloted in 15 areas across England. Here, the aim is to assist 60,000 long-term sick or disabled people find work.

Perhaps probably the most controversial changes are those regarding the medical assessment system for claims for disability advantages, a system the federal government has targeted. Long term reforms. From 2025, work capability assessment (used to find out the severity of health limitations for employment purposes) goals to cut back the variety of claims for “limited capacity for work and work-related activity”. will likely be replaced by – if successful, these will likely be eligible for A high profit rate.

But Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR) predicts that changing the assessment of labor ability would scale back the more severe disability caseload by 371,000, while the less severe disability caseload would increase by 342,000. Overall, the OBR says the changes to the assessment system will increase employment by just 10,000 by 2028-29.

The plan also introduces additional levels of conditions and restrictions, including additional contact with job centers for some Universal Credit claimants, a compulsory workplace trial, and a review for many who are unemployed after restarting. live This review can trigger additional job search conditions – if the claimant doesn't follow them, they might see their claim rejected outright.

The plan specifies more stringent restrictions for people who find themselves considered “disconnected” — for instance, individuals who don't attend multiple job center appointments. Possible restrictions here include stopping profit claims and stopping extra help, similar to free prescriptions and legal aid.

What will likely be the impact on the project?

Enhancing service delivery and linking health and employment inside the support provided to jobseekers are positive steps. Research shows That specialist provision can play a vital role in helping individuals with health conditions stay in work, or return to work.

However, these measures are prone to have a comparatively limited impact on the labor market within the short term. The OBR estimates that, by 2028-29, the combined effect of all of the welfare measures within the Autumn Statement, including those within the back-to-work scheme, will increase employment. 50,000.

The government must take other measures, including tackling long waiting times for hospital treatment. The workforce with poor health has also increased over the past decade, with 2.3 million people reporting a work-limiting health condition. 3.7 million. This shows that the UK needs a far more comprehensive and bold approach to work and health in the long run.

Moreover, punitive measures are less helpful in solving existing labor market problems. research shows that while restrictions can have small positive effects on the speed of employment of individuals, the standard of those jobs is reduced; Sanctions also add to financial hardship.

The government's rhetoric surrounding the plan, similar to people referring to it as “taking the taxpayer for a ride,” as Stride has put, also appears unproductive. It is more prone to be separated. A lot of people The project's support mechanism goals to interact by discrediting return to work support.

Research on sick health and work shows how essential it's for people to receive individual and integrated support. In this regard, several announcements within the plan are positive developments. However, they're relatively minor when it comes to the size of the issue. More broadly, the potential effect of the plan is that it would limit access to the profit relatively than improve people's employment prospects.