Unit bids to improve access to paid work

Home Office minister Barbara Roche launched two projects to tackle
the social exclusion of vulnerable groups last week.

In the first, the social exclusion unit will aim to improve
delivery of welfare to work and enterprise policies in the most
deprived areas in England.

The unit will also investigate whether more should be done to help
people become self-employed or leave cash-in-hand jobs for formal

“We need a new approach that removes barriers to enterprise so that
excluded people are truly able to help themselves,” Roche

The second project will address social exclusion among adults with
mental health problems.

Roche said mental illness affected at least one in six adults and
was often a contributory factor to social exclusion.

The unit will look at how it can help people with mental health
problems into work and how to retain employment.

It will also examine the broader issues of social participation and
access to services.

Mental health charity Rethink welcomed the announcement but added
that it was vital that the project consulted service users and

Rethink’s director of public affairs, Paul Farmer, said: “We urge
the government to make sure that its agencies work together to make
sure that this important project has positive results for the
250,000 people who use specialist mental health services.”

A public consultation exercise will be launched in May and both
projects will put forward recommendations to government ministers
early next year.

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