Katie Schmuecker, Deputy Director of Policy and Partnerships for the independent Joseph Rowntree Foundation responded to today's announcement of a new Way to Work campaign by the Department of Work and Pensions
Good jobs should offer a reliable route out of poverty, but today's announcement won't help to deliver that and completely misses the point. It will only apply to about 130,000 people, which is around one in twenty of those out of work and claiming Universal Credit, and only just over a quarter of the government's stated ambition of getting half a million people back to work.
The more significant challenge we face is ensuring that the labour market and social security system works for people who are not subject to these conditions - because they're sick, disabled or have young children. While overall there may be job vacancies available, this doesn't mean that they will then match up with someone's location, skill level or flexibility requirements, and the threat of sanctions is no way to change that.
If the Government is serious about tackling poverty then it also needs to take urgent action on the rising cost of living, which has a disproportionate impact on low income families both in and out of work.