Benefit claimants told work longer hours to avoid job centre visits

DWP Secretary Therese Coffey said the change could happen "very soon".

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According to statements made by the Work and Pensions Secretary, those who are eligible to receive benefits will soon be expected to put in more hours of work before they may be excused from their scheduled job centre visits.

Once a person who is receiving benefits has reached the stage where they are working the equivalent of nine hours per week, the law states that they are no longer required to continue attending sessions with job advisers.

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However, in an interview with The Sunday Telegraph, Therese Coffey stated that the Government was planning to extend that cut-off point, with the newspaper reporting that it will be increased to 12 hours.

Ms Coffey said: “Once you get a job, if you’re working fewer than the equivalent of nine hours a week, we still expect you to be coming in and looking for work.

“We’re going to be raising that, I hope, very soon. We just want to help people get on into work. So that’s really important.”

Ms Coffey suggested that this threshold could be further extended, but that this would require the Department of Work and Pensions to hire more job coaches.

“Well, we’re still working through that, I think there’s an opportunity to do more,” Ms Coffey said.

“The more people that we see in the job centre, dare I say it, the more work coaches we will need.

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“So there’s a decision to be taken. And I believe we can go further than that. But I can’t do that without more people fulfilling the role of the work coach.

“I think we should just get on with the initial bit. That in itself would bring about 120,000 people (into the work coach system).

“If we could start and kind of roll that in, then that would be a good stepping point.”

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