Tory benefit plans present little benefit for Stockport

October 5, 2009 6:17 PM
Mark Hunter MP in Westminster

Mark Hunter MP in Westminster

Today's Conservative announcements of plans on welfare reform are more about political posturing than tackling unemployment, research by Liberal Democrat MP Mark Hunter suggests.

As unemployment figures in Stockport reach their highest point since the Major Government, the Tories have announced new measures on welfare. But the plans have faced criticism because many of them - such as reviewing people on incapacity benefit - are already happening.

Research by Mark Hunter MP has shown that Job Centre Plus in Stockport already employ people specifically to review and advise the current 11,610 people who receive ESA/incapacity benefits in the area.

For job seekers allowance claims, people are required to answer an extensive number of questions by telephone before going in to the Centre in Stockport for a 40 minute interview with a professional adviser. The interview is held to ensure the legitimacy of every claim, and to get people back into work as soon as possible, through job searches and assessing whether the applicant could benefit from any extra training or advice.

Commenting, Mark said:

"There is nothing new about this weekend's announcements on welfare. It is a shame that the Conservatives have no positive suggestions to improve our welfare system.

"At a time when there are parts of the country with 100 people applying for every vacancy, forcing more single parents and people with health problems to apply for the same jobs is not going to deliver positive change for our jobless.

"But the fundamental assumption behind the plans - that unemployment is simply about people being workshy - is ridiculous in the midst of the worst recession in recent history."

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