6 Summary of Recommendations The 2007 Comprehensive Spending Review should set an unambiguous target to achieve an 80 per cent employment rate among all adults aged 16-64 by 2020. It should aim to halve the difference between the best and worst performing regions, and set a floor target of 75 per cent of all adults aged 16-64 in every local labour market. Tackling economic inactivity needs to remain the Governments labour market priority.
7 Summary of Recommendations The 2007 Comprehensive Spending Review ought to develop a broader definition of disadvantaged groups, including categories such as refugees, the homeless, ex-offenders and people recovering from substance addiction.
8 Summary of Recommendations Jobcentre Plus needs to start punching its weight in regional and local debates. The lack of institutional capacity at Jobcentre Plus threatens the success of the Governments strategy. The quality and quantity of Personal Advisers is crucial, and in particular the DWP cannot allow their number to be reduced.
9 Summary of Recommendations The private and voluntary sectors ought to have a greater role in providing employment support initiatives, and Jobcentre Plus needs to be more open in its procurement practices. The RDAs need to give greater priority to employment issues, and they ought to create a challenge- fund so that the voluntary sector can bid for resources to run active labour market policies.
10 Summary of Recommendations DTI and HM Treasury need to ensure that the employment strand of the new EU Structural Fund Competitiveness and Employment objective is prioritised, and that resources are concentrated on local labour markets with employment rates at or below 70 per cent. HM Treasury also needs to compensate lagging regions for lower levels of EU spending.
11 Summary of Recommendations Adult skills policy needs to be fundamentally restructured. Individuals need to be empowered to make their own learning choices, and the current focus on level 2 NVQs qualifications is far too narrow. It is failing to deliver on either the employment or the productivity agenda, and is squeezing out many worthwhile initiatives run by colleges and community organisations.
12 Summary of Recommendations Any reform to Incapacity Benefit needs to understand there are no hard and fast distinctions when it comes to disability and work; health and ill-health are not static experiences. The DWP should reconsider their reforms to Incapacity Benefit, which would create two new benefits. The Pathways to Work approach seems broadly correct and Jobcentre Plus needs to prioritise support for this client group.
13 Summary of Recommendations The New Deal for 50 Plus does not appear to be delivering for older workers. The Government should abolish this programme and divert resources towards expanding Pathways to Work for people with health problems or disabilities.
14 Summary of Recommendations Improved child care and early years education is necessary to improve employment rates amongst lone parents, and the public expenditure may need to rise to fund this objective. Greater conditionality on lone parents with children aged over 11 could also help improve employment rates.
15 Summary of Recommendations The Government lacks clarity over the appropriate spatial scale for different types of policy intervention. Regeneration policy at the neighbourhood level should focus on housing policy, particularly reducing residential segregation. The focus of employment policy needs to be at the broader Travel-To-Work Area, and policies are required to increase the demand for labour across travel to work areas with an acute lack of jobs.