Civil service jobs needed

Blackpool Council leader Simon Blackburn
Blackpool Council leader Simon Blackburn
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BLACKPOOL wants more civil service jobs to stave off government welfare reforms which could “take millions out of the resort’s economy”.

The resort wants to be at the forefront of changes to the benefits system in order to measure the impact at an early stage.

The new Universal Credit will see the merger of a number of existing benefits and is designed to better support people wanting to get into work.

It is hoped this will help tackle poverty by ending dependency on benefits.

But critics of the reforms say there are not enough jobs to ensure people find employment.

Blackpool Council leader Simon Blackburn said: “Getting parents into work is a key part of our anti-poverty strategy here in Blackpool, but Blackpool is short of about 10,000 jobs, and this needs to be a key area of focus.

“We have applied to become a pathfinder authority to roll out Universal Credit early for those 300 families in Blackpool who are going to be affected by the benefit cap, to see what affect it has, and what we can do to make sure these changes don’t plunge anyone else into poverty, as I fear they are likely to do.

“Nobody wants to see a dependency culture, and most would agree empowering people to make their lives better is always preferable to merely stepping in and providing for their needs.

“People need to understand the net effect of the introduction of Universal Credit, taken in conjunction with changes to council tax benefit, will be to take many millions of pounds out of the Blackpool economy overnight.

“The only way we can replace this is by creating jobs, and I expect the Government and the civil service to work with us in achieving that ambition.”

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Blackpool South MP Gordon Marsden said many of his constituents feared the welfare reforms would adversely effect them.

He added: “I am already seeing many families who are struggling and suffering hardship.

“These are people who would love to work but the jobs simply aren’t there. It is difficult especially in a town like Blackpool where historically people have relied on two or three part-time jobs for their livelihoods.”

In a speech yesterday Work and Pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith said finding work was “the best route out of poverty”.

He added: “Getting a family into work, supporting strong relationships, getting parents off drugs and out of debt, all this can do more for a child’s wellbeing than any amount of money in out-of-work benefits.”

He claimed universal credit could lift 350,000 children and 550,000 adults out of poverty.

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