Britain’s Job Centres have plenty to celebrate on their 100th birthday today. As the Financial Times (no other) reported on Saturday, Job Centre Plus has “come into its own” during the worst global downturn since the 1930s.
One of the reasons unemployment is 450,000 lower than people predicted and much lower than in the recessions of the 1980s and 90s is because of the brilliant job Job Centres and their staff have done at getting people back into work or training.
This is in part thanks to the reorganisation undertaken by the Labour Government bringing the benefits and job seeking functions together under one roof, with benefits tied to looking for work but with active help offered. It is crazy that just as the success of this system is being recognised and copied around the world, the Conservatives are proposing breaking Job Centres up and handing the benefits system over to local government.