31 October 2008
By Paul Dicken
Town halls should be at the forefront of tackling unemployment and focus on people out of work for long periods, experts said at a Local Government Information Unit conference on October 21.
LGIU policy analyst Andrew Jones told Public Finance that it was 'highly likely' that unemployment would rise fairly rapidly, with councils being increasingly encouraged to work more closely with Jobcentre Plus.
He said: 'Local authorities have the means to mobilise the range of resources to help people who are vulnerable and unable to get back into work. We should have learnt lessons from the 1980s; the target shouldn't be unemployment per se.
'Strategy at the local level should be about people drifting into unemployment for more than six months because the probability of getting back into work after six months gets lower and lower.'
Paul Convery, director of the Centre for Economic and Social Inclusion, told the conference that a skills shortage remained a major problem for employers.
Paul Miller, managing director of the software and consultancy company Gavurin, said local authorities and senior managers in local businesses needed to work more closely together.