The government’s Budget 2012 has just been revealed. The headlines have focused on the so-called 'Granny Tax', but what will the budget mean for unemployed and economically inactive people?
The latest news on unemployment, employment, benefits and the economy. Find out who’s hiring, who’s firing, changes to benefits, the unemployment rate and everything that’s new in our world.
UK unemployment rose by 28,000 to 2.67 million during the three months to January, with the unemployment rate at 8.4%, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
Unemployment amongst women accounted for most of the increase.
The government said the data showed the situation was "stabilising" but Labour said ministers were being "complacent".
Ministers have dropped the threat of sanctions for unemployed youngsters on a controversial work experience scheme.
It follows a meeting with dozens of firms with concerns, after criticism it amounted to "unpaid forced labour".
The government is meeting companies involved in its unpaid work experience initiatives, following protests about the way the schemes operate.
Employment Minister Chris Grayling will hold talks with dozens of firms. Some want a threat to withdraw benefits from those leaving placements early removed.
Public concern has prompted firms such as Waterstones and Burger King to quit.
Critics call the schemes "slave labour" but ministers insist they help prepare jobless young people for employment.
Campaigners have argued they are not voluntary because people can have their benefits docked if they do not complete the placement.
Disabled people ‘portrayed as scroungers’ by Government
The focus on fraud as a reason to cut benefits and make the application process more stringent has caused more resentment and abuse targeted at disabled people, six major charities suggest.
The charities – Scope, Mencap, Leonard Cheshire Disability, National Autistic Society, RNIB and the Disability Allowance – have cited an increase in contacts concerning public taunts and disbelief of disabled people’s ability to work.
Ann McGuinness should be at the forefront of the drive to create a Digital Britain, an ambition which the government believes will help drag the country out of recession and compete on the world stage in the 21st century. Instead, the 52-year-old former IT engineer was made redundant days before Christmas with 21 other people and now faces an uncertain future.