Proposed £2m funding to extend Households into Work scheme after European support ends
• Scheme launched by Mayor Steve Rotheram in 2018 to help long-term unemployed back into work
• Around 2,700 people have benefitted from mentoring and support
• £2m to fill 15-month gap between end of European funding and start of government’s replacement fund
The Liverpool City Region Combined Authority will be asked to agree a £2m package to continue a programme that has delivered life-changing support to thousands of long-term unemployed people as they try to find work.
Households into Work was launched in 2018 by Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, as a pilot project to support long-term unemployed people who have difficulty finding and sustaining employment.
The scheme is currently funded from the Combined Authority’s Strategic Investment Fund and the European Social Fund (ESF).
Due to Britain’s departure from the European Union, ESF funding will end in December 2022 and there is currently a 15-month gap until the programme could be funded from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF), which the government has introduced to replace European funding. The £2m from the Combined Authority would enable the programme to continue until at least the end of March 2024.
Since Households into Work started, around 2,700 people have been supported, many of whom have either never worked or been long-term unemployed, with nearly 400 successfully finding work.
A decision on the funding will be made at the Combined Authority’s July meeting.
Speaking about the proposed funding, Mayor Rotheram said:
“For far too long, too many people in our region have been held back from fulfilling their potential – not because of a lack of ambition, but a lack of opportunity. Households into Work is helping to put that right.
“It’s a message of hope to people in our area who find themselves out of work that we’re here to help them get back on track and build a better future for themselves. Already we’ve made a huge difference to thousands of people’s lives by giving them the confidence boost they need to get back into the work environment and find their first secure job in years.
“Whereas government are rowing back, we’re stepping forward to ensure no one is left behind. I’ll stop at nothing to make sure we continue to offer people this support – which is why we’re prepared to fund it with our own money – but it should never have come to this.
“The UKSPF was heralded as a ‘replacement’ for European funds but instead, our region is set to lose out on millions of pounds every year.
“We’re facing an unnecessary 15-month funding gap after European funding runs dry because government haven’t arranged a replacement funding source, so instead – we’re the ones footing the bill. I’ll continue to fight our region’s corner every step of the way to battle for greater funding and devolution to ensure we can continue to deliver these vital services for years to come.”
Cllr Janette Williamson, Portfolio Holder for Inclusive Economy and Third Sector, said:
“Each of the local authority areas in the city region work in partnership with Households into Work to deliver the programme which is making such a difference to so many people’s lives.
“Continued funding would enable the programme to carry on its excellent work of helping more people overcome their own issues to move into work or closer to being ready to work.”
20% of those on the programme have never worked before, while nearly 40% have been unemployed for more than three years.
Over the course of 12 months, participants work on a one-to-one basis with a dedicated employment advocate who helps them to prepare for and find employment.
The programme has a team of 32 based in each of the six Liverpool City Region local authority areas.
They work on an outreach basis with long-term unemployed people who are dealing with a range of issues, including financial crises, mental health problems, the risk of eviction or homelessness, domestic abuse, social isolation or chronic health issues.
Other members of the household are also encouraged to join the programme so that the issues can be addressed collectively as well as individually.