Welfare reform in South Wales

As the owner of a small business in South Wales, the news of an economic turnaround has really benefited us and created a fresh positivity amongst our customer base. Demand for our services is up to the point that we have gone regional and are on the verge of national expansion. However, I like many small business owners, are falling foul of the benefits system and a largely incompetent DWP.

As reported by ‘This is South Wales’, Jean Rashbridge, a local businesswoman from South Wales, has similar problems. She encountered a situation where her company ‘Smokers Angel’ received over 100 job applicants for an £8ph position within an hour of posting an advertisement with her local Job Centre Plus. After filtering the candidates and interviewing the final few, sadly Mrs Rashbridge found that the successful candidate didn't even show up for the job.

She said she soon feared people had just been applying in a bid to fill an applications quota set down by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) in order to keep their benefits, and this is the same position I find my business facing. Of the ten applicants we received on Tuesday this week, three were from varying parts of England; four submitted an application but their personal profile didn't have any contact details; and out of the three remaining candidates, all declined an interview. One candidate, who could be described as being long-term unemployed, remarked that the £35 paid for five hours work would be an insult to him and his hard-working grandfather.

The Chancellor’s announcement this week that the Government is going to accept the recommendations we made in our ‘Work for the Dole’ report and yesterday’s announcement that people under the age of 25 who are not in education, employment or training should not be allowed to claim benefits, are welcome.

For small and medium sized businesses to grow, we need people with the right skills and a good work ethic. The majority of unemployed people do want to find employment, however there is a stubbornly number of people who have fallen into a rut, do not have the right skills, and the system needs to do everything it can to get those people into work.

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