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Greenwich launches labour programme as benefit cuts hit

The Royal Borough of Greenwich (RBG) has launched a £6m jobs scheme to help local families into work, following government cuts to benefits. The first 31 recruits will take-up full or part-time jobs on or above London Living Wage this month.

Collectively, they stood to lose more than £3,000 per week. The residents have been offered roles in council teams covering parks and open spaces, street cleansing, recycling, enforcement and in town centre management.

The Greenwich Local Labour Programme (GLLP) has been created to help the 4,000 social housing tenants in the borough affected by reduction in benefits due to under-occupancy – commonly known as the spare room tax – 18,530 claimants who will receive reduced council tax benefit and 440 households who will be affected by the Total Benefit Cap, to be introduced from July 15.

Cllr Chris Roberts, leader of the RBG, said: “The development of this scheme demonstrates very clearly that the majority of people are desperately keen to get back into work. Far from the media caricature, we are dealing with parents who love their children and want to get off benefits and into work. All they need is the opportunity to do so. Today I would like to congratulate and welcome the Royal Borough’s new recruits.

“They are all keen to support their families and provide the best example and future for their children. However they often found they were competing with hundreds of other people for a single job.

“In Greenwich we have a proud and distinguished record in helping local people gain the skills necessary to secure work.  In all we’ve helped over 12,000 residents back into the jobs market via our award winning local labour scheme GLLaB. 

“These new jobs will not only benefit the hundreds of families involved. All residents and visitors to our Borough will notice a further improvement in how we keep our streets and communities safe and clean.

“We do not believe it is in the best interests of families to move out of London, to areas of the country where there are likely to be fewer jobs in the long-term and which will also result in the disruption of their children's education. The achievement of children in Greenwich schools is amongst the best in the country and it therefore makes sense to do all we can to assist local families off benefit and into work here in London where long term job prospects are better and standards of education are generally higher.”

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