Chancellor George Osborne has announced a pilot scheme to get ESA claimants in the work related activity group into work which will be based on work with troubled families.

The scheme will run in Manchester and will “seek to mirror the success of the troubled families programme by giving ESA claimants a single contact to help with their job search and health and social care support.”

It will apply to claimants who are about to leave the work programme after two years of not being helped into employment. A key worker at Jobcentre Plus will be able to tell claimants about “the best help, advice and actions needed.” to move into work.

The key worker may be involved in “arranging occupational health visits, mental health support, housing support” and whatever else is viewed as being needed.

ESA claimants will no doubt be relieved that they are not to face the compulsory work and training or daily signing on announced for long-term JSA claimants today. However, the use of a ‘troubled families’ approach for ESA claimants whilst ignoring the failure of employers to take on sick and disabled workers is not only insulting, it is likely to lead to disastrous sanctions for claimants who refuse to follow inappropriate health interventions.


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