The Regions, Welfare to Work

– ‘House swap’ plan to make jobseekers more mobile


The government is to launch a “house swap” programme to allow the jobless to relocate or even move to another part of the country in order to find work.

Although the details of the program are yet to be finalised, it is thought the plan will involve the creation of a national database containing information on job opportunities and families that could be relocated. It is hoped that the barriers which prevent people in social housing moving between regions will be removed.

The Housing Minister, Grant Shapps, is keen to provide those hunting jobs with more flexibility to look further afield as currently council tenants are restricted in their ability to move and can usually only move within their local authority.

 “I’m not content to restrict opportunities for the eight million social tenants in this country – that’s why we are determined to shake up the lazy consensus that traps people in this system”.

“HomeSwap Direct will give social tenants the power to arrange their own home swaps and make the most of every opportunity.”

Lord Tebbit said: “When I look around I find that an enormous number of jobs are taken here from people who have come from Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania. They have moved sometimes over a thousand miles to find a job….Anything which can be done to make it easier to move to jobs is obviously a good thing.”

However, critics point to the Government blaming rising unemployment solely on a lack of mobility.

Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the Public and Commercial Services Union, said: “All the language around getting people back into work has been directed with the implicit message that people aren’t prepared to be mobile to find work.

“But the unemployment figures out this week show that in any category, but particularly if you are young or a woman, there are just no jobs available.”

Comment from yesMinister

It is great that those in social housing will have the opportunity to move outside their local authority, but in terms of unemployment – how much of the problem will this address compared with the amount of disruption? 

Website: Telegraph


Amanda Frewin

Research & Project Support

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