Welfare Earnback - an invest to save approach to the Work and Health Programme

Year of Publication: 

IPPR North has looked at the potential effectiveness and value of taking an 'invest to save' approach to the new Work and Health Programme and has proposed a radically different ‘welfare earnback’ approach, with the following key features:

  • Local welfare earnback companies should be set up by mayors or local leaders to cover major city-regions, with investment from across the public sector – local authorities, the Treasury, the Department for Work and Pensions and local NHS commissioners.
  • These companies should adopt an invest to save approach – that is, investing in employment support upfront, on the basis that getting people into work will result in both savings for the public sector and increased tax revenue.
  • Specialist advisors should use an intelligent diagnostic tool to select candidates for whom there is a ‘case for investment’ – where the financial cost of the intervention is likely to be outweighed by the financial benefits of their being in work.
  • These advisors should be able to commission whatever works on a case-by-case basis, including job placements. Local government would then be incentivised to align these advisors’ initiatives with their own job-creation or brokering activities because they would save when they are successful.