Employment support launched for over a million people

New Back to Work Plan to help up to 1,100,000 people with long-term health conditions, disabilities or long-term unemployment to look for and stay in work.

"The Chancellor Jeremy Hunt and the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Mel Stride have unveiled their Back to Work Plan – a package of employment focused support that will help people stay healthy, get off benefits and move into work – as part of the Autumn Statement.

Building on the ambitious £7 billion employment package from Spring Budget the Chancellor is using his Autumn Statement to outline a new Back to Work Plan, which will expand the employment support and treatment available and reform the ways that people with disabilities or health conditions interact with the state.

Getting more people into work and ensuring work pays remains a key priority for the government. It is important for growing the UK economy, managing inflation, controlling spending, and improving living standards. Getting more people into good jobs is also good for those individuals and the best route out of poverty.

The government is boosting four key programmes – NHS Talking Therapies, Individual Placement and Support, Restart and Universal Support – to benefit up to 1.1 million people over the next five years and help those with mental or physical health conditions stay in or find work.

The new WorkWell service as announced at Spring Budget and delivered by the Departments for Work and Pensions and Health and Social Care is also being formally launched today and will support almost 60,000 long-term sick or disabled people to start, stay and succeed in work once rolled out in approximately 15 areas across England. The prospectus that will be launched in the coming weeks will provide information for all Integrated Care Systems across England to develop their localised work and health strategy.

Ministers are also planning to trial reforms to the fit note process to make it easier and quicker for people to get specialised work and health support, with improved triaging and signposting. Since the pandemic the number of people inactive in the UK due to long-term sickness or disability has risen by almost half a million to a record high of 2.6 million, with mental health, musculoskeletal conditions and heart disease being some of the main causes.

Stricter benefit sanctions will also be enforced by the Department for Work and Pensions for people who are able to work but refuse to engage with their Jobcentre or take on work offered to them. Benefit claimants who continue to refuse to engage with the Jobcentre will face having their claim closed. The latest published data shows that there were 300,000 people who had been unemployed for over a year in the three months to July."

The announcement today forms part of wider plans to grow the economy expected in the Autumn Statement on Wednesday 22 November. "

Read more:

Back to Work Press Release  

Written Ministerial Statement from Mel Stride, The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions