Government support 'should include workers on furlough'

Support for long-term unemployed people must also apply to those on furlough, says the Learning and Work Institute

Kate Parker

Coronavirus spending review: Chancellor Rishi Sunak must invest £5bn in adult work and skills, and extend unemployed support to those on coronavirus furlough, says the Learning and Work Institute

The government must invest £5 billion in employment support and introduce a new work and skills initiative to tackle long-term unemployment over the next four years, the Learning and Work Institute has said. 

In a new report published today, Work and Skills for the Long-Term Unemployed, the institute estimates that by 2021, there could be up to 1.6 million people who have been out of work for 12 months or more. 

Ahead of the government spending review this week, the report calls for an offer that includes: personal advice and guidance on jobs, careers and skills; intensive job search support from a personal adviser; and up to 12 months in activities that will build employability as part of a clear plan to find a job.

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The report also calls for a subsidy to employers that may recruit people and a bonus payment if someone gets a job and stays in employment.

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The Learning and Work Institute says that the £5 billion in support must be open to all long-term unemployed people, but also include those who were furloughed. The scheme should also set clear minimum standards showing the support people can expect, improve skills as well as looking for a job, and have a clear leadership role for local government.

Stephen Evans, chief executive of the Learning and Work Institute, said: “Long-term unemployment is set to rise sharply, damaging livelihoods and communities. We need urgent action to help people find work. 

“We should learn the lessons from previous programmes by ensuring that employment support is locally tailored and integrated effectively with support to retrain and build skills. 

“And while effective employment support is vital, it alone will not be sufficient. It must also be part of a wider plan to get the economy going again, restarting growth and supporting job creation.”

The Association of Colleges, too, is calling for increased investment in adult education and skills. Today, the AoC has urged the government to increase the rate of adult education funding to be equal to the 16-19 rate – and has warned that the National Skills Fund will fail if it fails to do so. 

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Kate Parker

Kate Parker is a FE reporter.

Find me on Twitter @KateeParker

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