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Universal credit claimants must widen job search or face sanction

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Jobseekers on universal credit will need to look outside of their preferred sector after 4 weeks or their benefit payment could be reduced.

The change, which came into force yesterday, decreases the time frame from 3 months.

Introduced as part of the Way to Work campaign, ministers hope it will get 500,000 people jobs by June.

The initiative is focused on those who are able to work, but either are not working or are on a low income.

ONS recorded job vacancies had reached an all-time high of 1.2 million.

Work and Pensions’ Secretary Thérèse Coffey said: “Way to Work is a step in our offer to claimants and employers, making sure our job centre network and excellent Work Coaches can deliver opportunities, jobs and prosperity to all areas of the country.

“As we emerge from COVID, we are going to tackle supply challenges and support the continued economic recovery by getting people into work.

“Our new approach will help claimants get quickly back into the world of work while helping ensure employers get the people they and the economy needs.”

Claimants on universal credit are expected to receive more face-to-face time for “better, tailored support.”

Well-known companies such as TalkTalk and Whitbread Group are supporting the campaign.

Whitbread’s Head of Resourcing, Lisa Taylor, said: “Many of those who have joined us from the jobcentres during our time working closely together have gone on to build a successful career with us or maintain long term employment.

“At Whitbread, we passionately believe that by working together with Jobcentre Plus we can make a real difference to the lives of jobseekers in this country through our no barriers to entry and no limits to ambition approach, as well as being a force for good in our local communities.”

DWP also plan to work with thriving sectors such as construction, haulage and logistics and social care.

Chancellor of Exchequer, Rishi Sunak said: “It’s important that everyone has the opportunity and support to find a good job to help them get on in life. That’s why we’re doubling down on our Plan for Jobs with this new campaign to harness the talent of jobseekers and support employers to fill vacancies, find work and create new opportunities.

Together we will boost this country’s job-led recovery.”

However, the scheme has come under fire from Labour and Lib Dem members.

If claimants on universal credit are found to not make “reasonable efforts” in their job searching or turn down a job offer, they could face serious sanctions.

Lib Dem work and pensions spokesperson Wendy Chamberlain said: “This callous move could see skilled workers forced to accept insecure, short-term employment for fear of having the rug pulled out from under them, and create a cycle of unemployment.

“What is worse, these harsh sanctions could be applied within weeks of applying for Universal Credit – before people’s first payment even arrives.”

Labour’s shadow employment minister Alison McGovern criticised: “This announcement has more to do with trying to save the prime minister’s job than supporting people into work.

“It’s just tinkering at the edges – long-term unemployment is 60% higher than before the pandemic.

“People should be supported into good jobs that match their skills, which would give them a better chance to secure work long-term.”

What are your thoughts? Join the conversation here: https://www.facebook.com/NorthEastUpdates

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Saudi Arabia wants its investors to own Manchester United

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North East Updates - Breaking News

Sports minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal revealed the country’s latest sporting ambitions in an interview with Sky News – with the sovereign wealth fund already owning Newcastle and now funding a breakaway golf series.

 

Sports minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal revealed the country’s latest sporting ambitions in an interview with Sky News – with the sovereign wealth fund already owning Newcastle and now funding a breakaway golf series.

 

It follows the Manchester United board announcing that they are open to a sale of the club.

Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisalstated he would be keen on Ronaldo signing for a Saudi Pro League after the World Cup, with the 37-year-old a free agent following a controversial interview and exit to Manchester United earlier this week..

 

“Who wouldn’t want him to play in their league?” “He’s a role model to a lot of young players – him and Messi.”

 

Sky news are reporting – It is the availability of United – after the Glazers announced plans for a potential sale – and Ronaldo that is interesting Prince Abdulaziz.

 

What are your thoughts on this – join the conversation on our Facebook page.

 

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Entertainment

Sunday for Sammy Concert Cancelled For 2023 Due To Cost of Living

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A popular charity concert will not be held in 2023 due to the cost of living crisis.

Sunday for Sammy, which is held in memory of North East actor Sammy Johnson, is a biennial event aimed at benefitting young performers.

The long-running event has featured the likes of Joe McElderry, Johnny Vegas, Brenda Blethyn, Denise Welch, AC/DC’s Brian Johnson and Mark Knopfler, Jill Halfpenny and Ant and Dec.

Tim Healy, who hosts Sunday for Sammy, said: “We’ve had lots of enquiries over the recent months asking when the next Sunday for Sammy will take place.

“We are very much aware at the moment that people are struggling with day-to-day living costs and are watching their pennies. Everything is becoming more and more expensive and that includes the cost of putting on a show the size of ours.”

He added: “We can’t in good conscious put on a show that we aren’t sure people can afford to be tickets for. It would be wrong to risk your money you have generously given us.

“So sadly we have decided that there won’t be a show in 2023. We’re going to wait until the time is right.”

Often dubbed The Geordie Command Performance, the shows, which have been running for more than 20 years, are held in memory of Geordie actor Sammy Johnson, who died in 1999.

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STACK Newcastle Bosses Scrap Plans For Christmas Pop-Up Venue

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The owners of STACK have confirmed that there won’t be a pop-up version in Newcastle this Christmas, as plans have been shelved.

At the end of September it was reported that STACK’s owner, Danieli Group, were hoping to bring the brand back to the heart of Newcastle after its Pilgrim Street site was demolished earlier this year, after becoming a firm favourite with locals and visitors since 2018. The pop-up, close to the Crowne Plaza hotel in the Stephenson Quarter, looked set to be a massive draw before STACK makes its permanent return to the city next year, was planned to feature a number of shipping container bars, a new take on its famous Hadrian’s Tipi, street food vans, a stage and large screen, all on one level.

But, it has now been announced that the proposed STACK festive pop-up won’t be happening anymore. Confirming the decision, Neill Winch, CEO of Danieli Group said that while it was sad news that the pop-up would no longer take place, it meant the company can forge ahead with the Worswick Chambers plan.

He commented: “We know how much people miss not having a STACK in Newcastle so we are concentrating our efforts on creating what will become a flagship site back where STACK first began,” he said.

“Work is well underway on the scheme with a view to being open in winter 2023.”

In recent weeks it has announced new developments in Lincoln, Durham, Bishop Auckland and Carlisle.

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