Published byREC

REC responds to plans for major welfare changes

Commenting on the Work and Pensions Secretary Mel Stride’s plan for major welfare changes, REC Deputy Chief Executive Kate Shoesmith said:

“Growth comes from a well-functioning labour market. A deeper discussion about welfare should be part of long overdue efforts by government to draw up a coherent and realistic workforce plan for the UK that helps overcome acute labour shortages in many sectors.

“But getting people well enough to work means providing them with a combination of a financial cushion when they aren’t well enough to look for or be in work, investing in the NHS and its staff to reduce waiting times for mental health treatment, together with the kind of talking therapy the government has outlined.

“Employers also have a key role to play in how they support their teams and new recruits. Recruiters frequently advise employers on the benefits and conditions that make them an attractive employer, and flexible working arrangements are often cited as the most important.

“Tougher sanctions regimes are only really going to work with the appropriate enhanced employment support that leads to more employment opportunities - not just a lower welfare bill. Evaluating and then building on public-private partnerships, like the Restart scheme, could help, and the recruitment industry stands ready to work with the policymakers on programmes that really help people achieve their potential in a changing labour market.”