New research on economic inclusion in the West Midlands

Cover of economic inclusion baseline reportThe Observatory’s Economic Inclusion team has published a Baseline Report on Economic Inclusion (PDF, 2.16MB) pulling together regional analysis of key issues relating to worklessness, unemployment and economic inclusion in the West  Midlands.

This is the first comprehensive review of these key issues at regional level and the analysis enables consideration of the scale and distribution of worklessness problem within the region.

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New measures to help sufferers of depression and anxiety back to work

Department of Health logoNew measures to help unemployed people experiencing depression or anxiety back to work were announced last week by the Secretary of State for Health, Alan Johnson, and the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, James Purnell.

The government is investing £13m in the support package, which will fund provisions such as:

  • A faster roll out of talking therapy services across the UK in 2009
  • Employment support workers linked to every talking therapy service
  • Health advisers on a dedicated NHS Direct phone

It’s hoped that many of those on long-term sick leave or unable to find work because of depression will be helped to recover and return to work.

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Changes to benefits system

Employment and Support Allowance - Working for a better lifeImportant changes were made to the benefits system in October 2008 which will have a major impact on claimants of incapacity benefits.

The aim is to simplify the system, and support claimants to return to work in line with the Government’s welfare to work policies and target of 80% employment rate.

Employment and Support Allowance is the new benefit that replaces Incapacity Benefit and Income Support (on incapacity grounds) for new customers from 27 October 2008.

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