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In conversation with Mark Hoban MP, Minister of State for Employment, Department for Work and Pensions

Tuesday, 11 December 2012
08:45 - 10:00
The Work Foundation, 21 Palmer Street, SW1H 0AD


  • Mark Hoborn MP, Minister of State for Employment, Department for Work and Pensions
  • Dr Neil Lee, Head of Socioeconomic Centre, The Work Foundation 

Details of the event

Encouraging growth in the labour market is an ongoing concern.  Welfare reform remains a keystone of the coalition’s policies, yet youth unemployment remains high, questions have been raised over the Work Programme’s ability to deliver its goals and heated debate continues over the Youth Contract. 

In an informal environment, the Minister discussed these and other issues, focusing on how the government might tackle the barriers to employment, what can be done to increase the efficacy of the Work Programme, and how personalised support could help the long-term unemployed back to work.

Key points from the session

  • The Minister proposed a three-pronged approach to help reduce the barriers to employment:
    • Personalise the support for the long-term unemployed to meet the individual’s needs, increasing support from the care sector and Work Programme initiative;
    • Reduce the risk to employers and therefore increase uptake by utilising the Youth Contract and Work Experience programmes;
    • Continue the welfare reform programme, which will act as a clear contract between the taxpayer and the state, and the unemployed and the state.
  • The Minister stated that unemployment is falling, as is employment inactivity.  A further 2.4 million jobs had been created by the private sector.  However, Dr Neil Lee noted that there had been a rise in part-time and self-employed work.  Mark Hoban reported that 80% of those in part-time work wanted to work less than full time.
  • Skills shortages were considered a growing issue. Changes in the economy meant IT skills  were needed in many lower-skilled jobs.  This affected the confidence of the long-term unemployed, who may not have had the training needed to be competitive in this environment.
  • The Minister also stated that there would be repercussions for Primes who fail to deliver on Work Programme promises and suggested that the worst offenders may lose their contracts when the review takes place in two years’ time.
  • It was also suggested that some bodies in the Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) may need restructuring, or training in commercial skills, so that they and Primes can work together to achieve the goals of the Work Programme.
  • The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) released their draft welfare reform regulations yesterday (10 Dec 2012)

This event was held as part of The Work Foundation’s Missing Million and Bottom Ten Million programmes on youth unemployment and in-work poverty, kindly supported by Barclays, the Barrow Cadbury Trust,  the Learning and Skills Improvement Service, the Private Equity Foundation, Trust for London, the Tudor Trust and Working Links.

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