The Child Poverty Action Group has slammed Tory proposals to toughen up welfare-to-work schemes.
Shadow work and pensions secretary Chris Grayling announced a series of policies this week to tackle growing inequalities in health and income in cities. The policy paper, Uniting Britain’s Divided Cities, repeated an earlier pledge to force people who claim jobseeker’s allowance for two out of three years to carry out community work in return for the benefit.
But CPAG chief executive Kate Green said that putting further burdens on vulnerable adults and parents was “unworkable”. She added: “Get tough messages pander to prejudice but do not tackle child poverty.”
Income divide in cities
The Conservative paper highlighted inequalities within cities where wards with high levels of child poverty neighbour those where almost no children live in poverty.
Grayling said: “We should not be tolerating a society where the social divide has become so vast. We should not have communities with glass walls around them, invisibly trapping their residents in a life of dependency.”
Other policy proposals included providing job placement schemes for 18- to 21-year-olds in areas affected by gang crime, creating over 220,000 new school places in the most deprived areas and increasing the number of health visitors across the country by 4,000.
The Tory proposals were followed by the announcement of a government review into the role of benefit sanctions and conditions in encouraging people off welfare and into work.
The recent welfare reform green paper outlined a number of plans to make receiving benefits conditional on various “work-related activities”, including making people who have been on JSA for over a year do at least four weeks’ full-time work in return for the benefit.
Recipients will be docked up anything from one to 26 weeks’ benefit for failure to comply with conditions.
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