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East Ham MP Stephen Timms says compulsory jobs will reduce benefit bill

PUBLISHED: 11:53 19 April 2013 | UPDATED: 11:53 19 April 2013

East Ham MP Stephen Timms

East Ham MP Stephen Timms

Archant

East Ham MP Stephen Timms backed the idea of a compulsory job offer to get the unemployed into work as the Government introduced a cap on benefits.

Mr Timms, who is also Labour’s Shadow Employment Minister, said the move would reduce the welfare bill more effectively than the pilot started by the Coalition on Monday in four London boroughs - Croydon, Bromley, Haringey, and Enfield - before it is rolled out nationally in July.

Under the changes, benefits for couples and single parents will be capped at £500 per week - or £26,000 a year - while the limit for single people will be £350.

Mr Timms said: “For all the Tory rhetoric, the true picture of this Government is one of economic failure.

“They are having to borrow £245bn more than they planned, not to pay for the investment needed to grow our economy, but to pay for more welfare spending caused by high unemployment.

“We desperately need a change of direction. Labour has called for a compulsory jobs guarantee to give the long-term unemployed a job, which they will have to take up or lose their benefits.”

Labour leader Ed Miliband supported Mr Timms’ comments but added that the party would be in favour of a benefit cap if it was adjusted regionally to take into account local housing costs.

Mr Timms will also be hosting a Jobs and Apprenticeships Fair with West Ham MP Lyn Brown at West Ham United from 10am to 4pm on Thursday May 2 at West Ham United Football Club.

Do you think jobseekers should lose their benefits if they refuse a job? Write to us at letters@newhamrecorder.co.uk, tweet us @NewhamRecorder, or leave a comment below.

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