Headlines: November 5th, 1999

The Government has set out its longer term thinking on tackling poverty and ending social exclusion.In a speech and accompanying pamphlet on social reform for the think tank DEMOS Education and Employment Secretary David Blunkett looked beyond the Government’s anti-poverty strategy, published in September.

After setting out all the improvements he says have been made by the Government to social welfare systems, he said that the next step could not be achieved by ‘free gifts’.

He said: ‘Something for something’ gives people a stake. In the future we could extend this approach. Where we seek to extend cash benefits, we should debate the idea of adding some conditions – such as a commitment to training or self improvement.

” We have already enforced this approach through policies such as New Deal. The extra money for primary schools has been accompanied by demanding targets for improvement in the three Rs and teachers are being offered pay rises of two thousand pounds in return for meeting performance standards.

“There are many possible openings for increasing the conditions we attach to benefits and services – such as linking Jobseekers’ Allowance to ICT training for the unemployed and further developments of the New Deal 25-plus.”

Mr Blunkett’s speech has been posted on the Internet for the rest of this month. It is found, along with access to the viewer programme required, at http://www.dfee.gov.uk/socialexcl