On Monday 26th January, Kate Shone Head of Service attended meetings with Lord Mike German (Liberal Democrats), The Rt Hon Stephen Timms MP (Shadow Minister Work and Pensions) and The Rt Hon Esther McVey (Minister of State Department of Work and Pensions). Kate is Chair of the Give Us A Chance (GUAC), the leading employment and skills consortium in the social housing sector.
The purpose of the meetings was to learn more about each parties intentions post General Election 2015 and also to promote the work that is being done by housing providers to help their residents and tenants move into work as well as the GUAC ERSA (Employment Related Services Association) Manifesto (http://www.giveusachance.co.uk/news/2014/10/housing-work-manifesto/). Lord Mike German was keen to understand whether housing providers would be able to shoulder the risk of large scale payment by result contracts such as the Work Programme.
Stephen Timms appraised member of Labours proposed Jobs Guarantee Scheme which builds on the back of the success of the Future Jobs Fund. He noted that despite a decrease in the overall national levels of unemployment, groups such as young people and the long term unemployed were still seeing increases in the level of unemployment. In particular he highlighted that in December 2014, youth unemployment had risen by 30,000. Stephen encouraged GUAC members to look at how they were aligning themselves with regional structures as a full range of partners would be needed around the table to drive down unemployment. Stephen also talked about Jobcentre Plus and how there needs to be a change to ensure that jobseekers view the service as one which can help, not just one who deals with sanctions.
Esther McVey re affirmed her support for the GUAC ERSA Manifesto and was keen to know more about the detailed work that GUAC members are undertaking which is having real results in moving residents and tenants into work.
For more information please contact Kate.