Islington Council calls for action on unemployment

Islington wants more powers devolved from central Government

Islington wants more powers devolved from central Government - Credit: Archant

Town hall joins 21 other authorities in plea to Government

The town hall has teamed up with a group of authorities calling for action to get people into jobs.

On Thursday, Islington Council joined 22 councils asking the Government to give local authorities more power, resources and responsibility to help get local people into work.

Currently, the Work Programme is run from Whitehall, but concerns have been raised that this centrally driven approach is ineffective at getting the long-term unemployed, disabled people and harder-to-help groups back to work.

The Co-operative Councils Innovation Network (CCIN), which includes Islington and 21 other councils from Sunderland to Southampton, argues that local authorities and their local partners are much better placed to tackle long-term unemployment.

Today it is calling for Government to put local areas in charge of part of the back-to-work programme, so they can convene and coordinate better services for getting residents into work.

Cllr Richard Watts, leader of Islington Council, said: “The biggest cause of poverty in Islington is unemployment, and too many people in our borough are out of work.

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“For far too long mainstream, national employment schemes run from Whitehall have failed the people who need them most, namely those who have been out of work for longest.

“Instead of resources being tailored to the needs of individual job-seekers, they’ve been squandered on a one-size-fits-all approach. Local areas like Islington best understand the challenges facing local residents who are out of work.

“We’re confident that through mobilising the energy and commitment of local people, local organisations and local employers – in a co-operative spirit – we can have a significant impact on long term unemployment in our borough.

“Today we are joining with councils the length and breadth of the UK, calling for Government to give local areas like Islington the resources, power and responsibility they need to get people into jobs they can keep and enjoy.”

According to CCIN research, devolving such powers to a local level would cut the cost of employment programmes by up to 25 per cent, saving £500m nationally.

The full CCIN report is available here.

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