Sefton Council is set to formally express its concerns over the implications of the Government’s ‘Help to Work’ scheme.

A report requested by Cllr Ian Maher, Sefton Council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Tourism, recommends Sefton Council should not become involved in the direct delivery of the Community Work Placement Programme.

Cllr Ian Maher said: “Both I, and Sefton’s Labour Group of councillors, believe that the Help to Work scheme, along with other increased Claimant Conditionality measures introduced from April 2014, will lead to increased poverty and distress among our workless communities as more people will face a greater threat of benefit sanctions.

“The scheme removes claimants’ ability to sustain a reasonable quality of life for themselves and their family members whilst looking for employment.

“It also exposes claimants who experience benefit reductions to the risk of problem debt. In particular, Sefton Council takes the view that the enforced deployment of workless people into full time work schemes is ineffective at promoting longer term sustainable employment and positive attitudes to re-engagement in the workforce. We believe it also stigmatises benefits claimants and locks them further into poverty.”

The report recommends:

Sefton Council will not be involved in the direct delivery of Community Work Placement Programme.

Sefton Council will not provide opportunities for Community Work Placement within any of its departments.

Sefton Council should take all reasonable steps to ensure that its contractors or service providers do not use unpaid claimants engaged on the Community Work Placement Scheme to undertake any contracts or services on its behalf.

View the full report.

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