No extra cash for training offenders

There will be no new money behind government plans to boost training and employment for offenders, a senior Department for
Work and Pensions official admitted last week.

Sharon White, director of the Welfare to Work programme, blamed cuts in the department’s budget for a lack of funding for the
green paper on reducing reoffending through employment, published at the end of last year.

The paper’s proposals include increased training for offenders and performance targets for Jobcentres to get offenders into work.

White, speaking at a conference in London for criminal justice workers, also said that the government would launch a final version of the paper on 13 December, following a consultation that ended earlier this year.

Delegates at the conference expressed concerns that the benefits system puts obstacles in the way of offenders getting jobs because they would immediately lose their benefits when entering employment.

Stephen Mason, area business manager for Stonham Housing, said a “phased approach” was needed to help offenders make the transition from benefits to employment.

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