§ Angela Eagle
Welfare to Work is a key priority for us. We believe in a modern welfare state which encourages and helps people to work when they can, as well as providing support for them when they cannot. We have already set in place many innovative projects, some involving the public and private sectors working in partnership, to do just that.
We have a wide range of initiatives already in place, including the New Deal for Young People and the New Deal for Lone Parents which have helped over 200,000 find employment, and the New Deal for Disabled People which is providing practical help enabling those who want to work to realise their ambitions. Two million disabled people already work and over one million more want to. From April this year, the New Deal for the Over 50s will be rolled out nationally.
In addition, the ONE Service is currently being tested in 12 pilot areas around the UK. This offers personalised advice and support through a Personal Adviser to those of working age. Participation in ONE is, at present, voluntary but, from April this year, participation in a work-focused meeting with a personal adviser will become part of the normal process for people of working age claiming benefits in the pilot areas.
These reforms link in with the wider Government agenda. Colleagues in the Treasury and the Inland Revenue are ensuring that work pays by improving in-work incomes through initiatives such as the National Minimum Wage and the Working Families Tax Credit.