The Rt Hon Iain Duncan Smith, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions was welcomed to Warrington JobCentre Plus on Thursday by David Mowat. Mr Duncan Smith wanted to see for himself how the Centre was implementing a Pilot Scheme. JobCentres in Cheshire are trialling a new scheme which gives greater flexibility to centre managers and to staff to exercise their discretion in tailoring a support programme to help people back in to work and to target resources where they are most needed.
Mr Duncan Smith also held a round table discussion with staff at the centre to understand the queries and concerns they had with the Government's new Work Programme. The Work Programme aims to tackle long term unemployment by getting private companies to get people ready to work. The longer a person on the work programme remains in their job, the more the company will get paid.
Mr Mowat said:
"Iain Duncan Smith is at the forefront of one of the most important reforms the Coalition Government is carrying out: getting people back into work and overhauling our bloated benefits system, so I am delighted that he has been able to visit Warrington.
"JobCentre Plus Warrington is pioneering a new approach to helping people back into work, one which empowers local people to set local priorities and use their local knowledge to help people back in to work, not just following box-ticking exercises laid down by Whitehall.
"But Mr Duncan Smith's visit also reminds us how tough it will be to reform Welfare so that people are always better off in work than on the dole. On Wednesday I voted in favour of a Bill which caps the total amount of benefits any one household can receive at £26,000, caps excessive Housing Benefit claims at £400 a week and introduces a new benefit which will ensure that people are always better off in work than on benefits. A lot of my constituents who work long hours to make ends meet will be astonished to learn that Labour MPs voted against these reforms."