The Mayor of London Boris Johnson has appointed David Freud, the nominated Shadow Minister for Welfare Reform, to advise him on measures to help both long-term and newly unemployed Londoners move off state benefits and into work.
The London Development Agency (LDA) is shortly to announce plans for the first £10 million of a £30 million annual programme to tackle long-term unemployment. Pilot projects, starting in early summer, aim to target some of the capital’s hardest to reach unemployed, such as ex-offenders and refugees, and give them the skills and support they need to find and remain in work.
The LDA will be adopting a new approach to tackling long-term benefit dependency which is based on ideas submitted to the Government by David Freud in his previous role advising Tony Blair and then Gordon Brown on reforming the welfare system. This includes delivering greater value for money, and will focus on rewarding those organisations whose welfare to work projects help Londoners gain and retain jobs for six months or more.
The Mayor now wants this innovative twin approach, of targeted support for London's most vulnerable and rewarding success, to act as a trailblazer for improvements in welfare to work programmes in London, of which the majority are delivered by Jobcentre Plus. Freud will be instrumental in taking this policy forward as well as advising the Mayor on a wide range of other jobs, training and welfare programmes for the newly and long-term unemployed. He will also join the Mayor’s new Welfare to Work Steering Group which will be chaired by Economic Policy Director, Anthony Browne.