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Britain to Relocate Unemployed to Area That are Hiring

The Daily Mail | UK

June 28, 2010

Unemployed people living on sink estates could be relocated to areas with job vacancies as part of a Government plan to break up Britain’s ‘poverty ghettos’.

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith said the move was designed to help those ‘trapped’ on council estates in unemployment blackspots.

The plan, which is still at an early stage, carries echoes of the 1980s when Norman Tebbit told the jobless to ‘get on your bike’ and look for work.


Iain Duncan-Smith, pictured visiting a council estate, has pledged to help jobless people resettle [AP]

Mr Duncan Smith, the MP for Lord Tebbit’s former Chingford constituency, said unemployed families were currently unable to move to a different part of the country to look for work as they risked losing their council house.

He said: ‘Under the last government, we have created almost ghettos of poverty where people are static, unable to get work because there isn’t any work there.’

He insisted that people would not be forced to leave their homes to look for work.

In a separate move Mr Duncan Smith announced that older people living alone in large council homes could be moved to new, smaller accommodation to make room for families on the waiting list.

Labour leadership contender Ed Balls said the plans would take Britain ‘back to the 1980s’ and condemn those remaining in unemployment blackspots to a life of poverty.

Currently, with virtually all areas now having long waiting lists for a council house, those who decide to move to look for work know they have little chance of being offered a new home if they leave of their own accord.

Mr Duncan Smith said: ‘Because they have a lifetime tenure of that house – to go to work from East London to West London, or Bristol, or whatever is too much of a risk because if you up sticks and go you will have lost your right to your house. We have to look at how we get that portability, so that people can be more flexible, can look for work, can take the risk to do it.’

The Department for Work and Pensions yesterday said options on how to implement the plan could include allowing those who give up a council house to go to the top of the waiting list in a new area, or council hardship grants to help with the cost of relocating.

Mr Balls yesterday condemned the move as ’ profoundly unfair’.

He said ministers should do more to bring jobs to deprived areas and accused Mr Duncan Smith of going ‘further than Margaret Thatcher and Norman Tebbit’ in victimising the unemployed.

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