Secretarial Jobs Board

Purnell: Benefits should be a work 'contract'

12/06/2008

The secretary of state for work and pensions, James Purnell has said signing up for benefits should be like signing a work contract.

He explained that under new conditions claimants will attend compulsory skills training and agree "to do whatever they can to get themselves into work".

His comments followed the announcement of the government's new proposals to improve training schemes and fund educational development.

The joint announcement was made with the secretary of state for innovation, universities and skills, John Denham.

Mr Denham said: "Increasingly it is not the shortage of jobs but the shortage of skills that will frustrate our ambitions of full employment and economic success."

Under new proposals, job seekers allowance claimants with skills gaps will attend training and 19-25 year olds educated to less than A level standard will receive £7,000 worth of free tuition.

According to the latest labour force survey, the claimant count was 819,000 in May, up 9,000 since April.

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