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.

New benefit fraud campaign targets tiny part of UK unnecessarily

Fri, 03/01/2014 - 14:21 -- nick

The government is today launching a new anti-fraud and error campaign - but in just six small areas of the UK.

The chosen few - Southwark, Blackburn, Hounslow, Blackpool, Epping Forest and Cardiff - will be targeted with billboards, newspaper adverts, Facebook adverts and letters to claimants.

These will ask claimants to report changes in their circumstances and also ask all citizens to shop those they believe are claiming benefits fraudulently.

Minister for Welfare Reform Lord Freud said:

Councils filling jobs with unpaid forced labour says Boycott Workfare

Fri, 03/01/2014 - 13:16 -- nick

Councils in the UK have used more than half a million hours of forced labour, a Freedom of Information (FoI) request has revealed.

Submitted by campaigning organisation Boycott Workfare, the response showed that 62% of councils which provided information had given work experience to unpaid unemployed people since June 2011.

Young unemployed suicidal and without hope, says charity

Thu, 02/01/2014 - 12:52 -- nick

Young unemployed people are under severe stress leading to many feeling suicidal, a survey has found.

Charity The Prince's Trust commissioned YouGOV to find out how those aged under-25 feel about being out of work, with more than 900,000 still not in employment, education or training.

40% of youngsters have experienced the symptoms of mental illness, while even more shockingly one in three of the long-term unemployed have thought about suicide as a way out of their plight.

Half of UK companies will hire staff next year, but wages may fall further

Tue, 17/12/2013 - 13:39 -- nick

More than half of companies in the UK plan to hire new workers next year.

This is the biggest proportion since 2008, but there is a fly in the ointment - more than half are not planning to give pay rises that will match inflation, meaning many British workers will keep getting poorer.

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) surveyed businesses with Accenture and found that 51%  plan to take on new staff, suggesting that recent drops in unemployment are likely to continue.

MPs call for bedroom tax to be scrapped

Tue, 17/12/2013 - 12:59 -- nick

A committee of MPs has called for the government's hated bedroom tax to be scrapped.

The Scottish Affairs Committee, which deals in Westminster with issues north of the border, includes MPs of all parties, although Tory and Liberal Democrat members did not support the report.

Its chairman, Labour MP Ian Davidson, called the tax a "cruel burden" on the poor.

He said:

EU migrants must speak English or no benefits

Fri, 13/12/2013 - 13:28 -- nick

New immigrants to the UK are to be tested on their English language ability before they are allowed to claim out-of-work benefits, the government has announced.

The new test requires those trying to claim to answer more individually-tailored questions, provide more detailed answers and submit more evidence before they will be allowed to make a claim.

The tougher regime has been rolled out across the UK from Monday this week, and the Department for Work and Pensions provided no reasons for announcing the change days after it took place.

The ten green jobs that will employ thousands by 2020

Fri, 13/12/2013 - 12:20 -- nick

A big rise in the number of green jobs in the UK economy is likely by 2020, according to a new report.

Global Action Plan (GAP) used government figures to estimate the number of new environmental jobs as well as talking to some big companies including Sainsbury's, Siemens and Bosch about their future work opportunities.

While expansion in higher-profile areas like wind farms and solar panels will continue, the next seven years will see green jobs move into the mainstream and they will be based everywhere.

Rent arrears rising - but BBC forgets why

Thu, 12/12/2013 - 12:36 -- nick

Phone calls on rent arrears are the most common received by the government's Money Advice (MA) service, and 37% more people have contacted them for this reason over the last year.

But the BBC's reporting of this makes no mention of the likely main cause - the government's hated bedroom tax.

Whistleblower tells of sanctions targets as IDS sticks head in sand

Tue, 10/12/2013 - 11:39 -- nick

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith was faced with more accusations of sanction targets when he was questioned by MPs yesterday.

Appearing before the work and pensions select committee, Smith denied that sanction targets existed, despite being presented with evidence to the contrary.

This evidence included the testimony of a whistleblower who spoke to the committee on the same day, a former jobcentre worker from Manchester.