HC Deb 23 March 1972 vol 833 cc350-1W
Mr. Scott

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will give details of the changes he intends to make in the Resettlement Transfer Scheme.

Mr. R. Carr

I have decided to make some major improvements in the Resettlement Transfer Scheme under which my Department gives financial assistance to unemployed workers who have to move their homes in order to obtain work. These are intended to benefit particularly those who live in development and intermediate areas and those, wherever they live, who are prepared to improve their employment prospects by taking a course of vocational training.

For moves originating in development or intermediate areas, whether to places inside or outside those areas, I propose to introduce some new benefits and to relax the eligibility conditions. Present benefits under the scheme include free fares and reimbursement of the cost of moving household effects. There is also a grant of £100 to help with the incidental expenses of moving house. This will be replaced by a rehousing grant of £400. I hope that this will be specially helpful to people moving to areas where family accommodation is expensive or difficult to get. For the first time, people without dependants who move away from home may be paid a weekly allowance of £2 per week for up to one year. The rules about non-availability of employment in the home area and of local labour in the area to which the worker is transferring will be relaxed. Because people may not wish to leave their home area permanently, the emphasis will no longer be on resettlement in the new area. Lodging allowances will be paid to eligible workers for temporary moves lasting up to two years.

Workers with dependants who have completed a substantial course of training under the Government's Vocational Training Scheme, whether or not they live in an assisted area, may receive a rehousing grant of £600 if they leave their home area to take up employment in their training trade within six months of completing the course.

Whether moves originate in assisted areas or not, the lodging allowance, which is paid to workers with dependants until they move their homes, will be increased by approximately £2 per week. This will also apply to the Key Workers and Nucleus Labour Force Schemes. The upper limit on the amount which can be reimbursed on legal, etc., expenses incurred in house sale or purchase will be increased to £145 or £240 where both are involved. The income limit above which people cannot benefit under the scheme will be raised to £2,650.

In view of the substantial nature of the changes in the scheme, its old name is no longer apt and it will be known in future as the Employment Transfer Scheme. The new scheme will come into force on 5th April, 1972.