LGA push for combined budgets and devolved responsibility for employment, skills and welfare29 March 2015
Inclusion and The Local Government Association (LGA) have published a report arguing that local authorities are better placed to deliver employment and skills support in their local communities. It calls for a policy of ‘one place, one budget’ to be implemented in the longer term.
The report Realising Talent: a new framework for devolved employment and skills states that: ‘Programmes and rules designed in Whitehall give insufficient freedom to local areas to meet local needs and ambitions. It is inefficient and ineffective and, as a country, we can ill afford it any more’.
The report puts forward a number of recommendations which it claims would stimulate economic growth and reduce welfare budgets through cutting unemployment by a third and serving businesses through matching local skills supplies with employer demand.
Some of the report’s conclusions and recommendations state that:
• ‘The replacement for the Work Programme and Work Choice should be planned with local government.
• Jobcentre Plus support for the short-term unemployed should be better aligned to the needs of the local economy.
• The Adult Skills Budget should be devolved.
• Young people making the transition from school to work should be supported by a single careers and employment support offer.
• Local government should develop a new model for integrated support for people with disabilities and health problems. One of the most significant areas for innovation is in how health and employment support can work together.’
In the same week, MPs and members of the Political and Constitutional Reform Committee have called for a devolution commission to be set up. Graham Allen MP commented that such a system would make ‘local government the vehicle for further devolution’. The committee said that the commission should be sent up no later than May 2017.