It is one of London’s great paradoxes that, despite being one of the most prosperous cities in the world, it has among the UK’s highest rates of worklessness. One in three working age Londoners is out-of-work, 300,000 of these for more than five years. Welfare reform is now high up the political agenda: following rising unemployment during the recession, attention has turned to boosting job growth and increasing employment.
London is a jobs generator – its dynamism and global focus meant it avoided the worst of the recession and is projected to grow more quickly than the rest of the UK. But London’s long-term worklessness problem remains – jobs created have tended to benefit migrants to London from across the UK and around the world. In part, this is due to the high level of centralisation in the UK’s welfare system, a centralisation that is being increased through current reforms. Yet the national and international evidence shows that greater local involvement can, given the right design, deliver better results than national programmes.
Centre for London will consider the likely impact of welfare reforms and develop new models of delivery and devolution to increase employment in London. We intend to identify how more Londoners can benefit from jobs growth. This will involve analysis of the current Welfare to Work framework as well as building new models of local delivery.