LGA calls for devolution of Work & Health Programme

The Local Government Association has issued a press release calling on the Government to ensure it avoids repeating the mistakes of its flagship Work Programme when it's replaced by new Work and Health Programme (WHP). Thousands more disadvantaged jobseekers and people with disabilities and health conditions would be supported into work if funding and responsibility for the new Work and Health Programme (WHP) is devolved to all local areas, councils say today.

The LGA, which represents more than 370 councils in England and Wales, warns a nationally run programme cannot provide the full support to deal with the needs of claimants who have been out of work for years. The funding for the Work and Health Programme is 80% less than the funding for its predecessor.

It is calling for the Government to use the Autumn Statement to ensure that:

  • The WHP is adequately resourced so jobseekers can be supported in the right way.
  • Funding and responsibility for the Programme be fully devolved to groups of councils across England and Wales s.
  • Local areas are guaranteed to receive every penny of planned EU funds for the unemployed to 2020
  • Cllr Mark Hawthorne, Chairman of the LGA's People and Places Board, said:

    "The Government needs to recognise that employment support alone is not the answer to help those furthest from the jobs market.
    "The Government will spend £10.5 billion this year on 20 national employment and skills schemes. It can also no longer afford to spend billions on separate national programmes when there are better more local solutions that can coordinate all local partners in a way which can most appropriately help those most in need of support."

    Source: Local Government Assocation