Help jobless take training courses, say Tories

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Indy Politics

Unemployed people should be able to take training courses while claiming benefits in order to gain work as soon as possible, the Tories said today.

Currently people claiming JobSeeker's Allowance (JSA) have to wait up to 18 months before they can start a full-time training course.

But shadow work and pensions secretary Chris Grayling said that, especially during the economic downturn, people should be allowed to "retrain and reskill" immediately.

He said: "Unemployment is now an incredibly big problem, and we have to take every step we can to get people back into work as quickly as possible.

"It makes no sense in the current climate for it to be more difficult than it should be for people to train. Jobs have to be the priority and that is why this change is so necessarily."

Under Tory proposals, claimants of JSA would be able to sign up for a full-time training course for up to 13 weeks while still claiming benefits.

Two weeks before the course ended, the claimant would meet with their personal JobCentre advisor to draw up a plan of employment once the training was completed.

Current rules for claiming JSA mean that a person cannot spend more than 16 hours a week in training without losing their benefits.

Although the Government has looked into relaxing this rule for those who have been unemployed for more than six months, the 16-hour rule remains in place, the Tories said.

A claimant only gets the opportunity to take up full-time training when they have been out of work for 18 months, or six months for the under-25s.

There are currently 1.79 million people out of work in the UK and employment in certain industries has been hit hardest by the downturn.

The number of jobs in manufacturing and construction has fallen in the last year but there are more jobs available in education and the energy and water industries.