Job advice to be offered at food banks, Iain Duncan Smith tells MPs. Guardian.
Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.
Work and pensions secretary says advisers will be posted in food banks in trial to be rolled out across the UK if successful.
Job advisers have been posted in a food bank as part of a trial that is set to be rolled out across the UK, the work and pensions secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, has announced.
People who turn to charities for help when they cannot afford to eat will be given advice on claiming benefits and finding work while they pick up emergency food parcels, Duncan Smith told the work and pensions select committee.
“I am trialling at the moment a job adviser situating themselves in the food bank for the time that the food bank is open, and we are already getting very strong feedback about that,” he said.
This is sad,
Sister Rita, a nun at the Lalley Welcome Centre in Collyhurst, north-east Manchester, said it was her idea to invite advisers from the DWP to help the food bank clients.
She said: “I wrote to the minister and the prime minister and received very nice letters from them both, but it was Iain Duncan Smith who said we could have a meeting with him in London.”
Asked whether she met Duncan Smith or one of his associates, the nun said: “We saw the minister. I wouldn’t settle for anything less!”
She said the meeting happened around three months ago and that the DWP advisers started coming in about three weeks ago. They are able to help clients who are having benefits problems, for example if they have been sanctioned, she said.
“I think it’s a brilliant, brilliant thing that the government’s doing,” she said.
The BBC adds,
Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith has told MPs.
Mr Duncan Smith said he would like to see a trial scheme in Manchester rolled out nationwide after it was given “very strong feedback”.
Campaigners say food bank usage has passed 900,000 people per year in the UK.
Mr Duncan Smith was giving evidence to the Work and Pensions Select Committee.
“I am trialling at the moment a job adviser situating themselves in the food bank for the time that the food bank is open and we are already getting very strong feedback about that,” he said.
Robert Devereux, the most senior civil servant in the Department for Work and Pensions, told the MPs staff were in the food bank one day a week with phonelines available at other times.
Claimants are given advice on how to receive welfare payments as well as finding work, he added.
No doubt those people sanctioned will welcome the presence of ‘Coachy’ telling them how to find work.
Perhaps on how to get their money back……
No, you couldn’t make it up.