Hard talk on employment as Iain Duncan Smith visits Crawley

ONE of the country’s leading politicians has promised to help get Crawley’s unemployed back to work – but issued a stark warning to work-shy benefits claimants.

Iain Duncan Smith, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, visited the town last Tuesday (May 1), where he was told about some of the apprenticeships on offer here. The former Tory leader told the News he is committed to getting people back into work.

  1. IMPRESSED: Iain Duncan Smith is shown round Elekta's Manor Royal base
    IMPRESSED: Iain Duncan Smith is shown round Elekta’s Manor Royal base

He said: “There is a big push on apprenticeships and on work experience. As part of our youth programme, we will pay companies £2,200 to take on young people, which effectively knocks out their National Insurance contributions.

“And 50 per cent of people going into work experience are going into work at the end of it.”

But Mr Duncan Smith promised to come down hard on anyone who tries to take advantage of the benefits system.

“It’s about making people understand they are better off at work,” he said.

“Unemployment in Crawley is lower than the national average but there are still people out of work.

“I will help people get back to work but they will be signing a contract saying that they are expected to do certain things.

“They have to turn up for interviews looking smart and they will have to accept the work that is being offered to them. If someone throws an interview, they will lose their benefits. If someone doesn’t try to look for work, they will lose their benefits.

“We’re saying, ‘we spend all this money on you but you’ve got to recognise that this is the end of the gravy train which has been there for so long’.”

Apprenticeships across the country have increased by 250,000 since he took on his latest role in 2010, Mr Duncan Smith said.

While in Crawley, he visited a world-leading health technology company in Manor Royal, which specialises in treatments for cancer and brain disorders.

Mr Duncan Smith said he was impressed by the work being done at Elekta’s base in Fleming Way and by the apprenticeships it offers.

He said: “Whether you’re a hospital in Brazil or Honolulu, you’re going to come to Elekta for their technology.

“There aren’t many other things I can think of which people from all over the world would be coming to Crawley for.”

Mr Duncan Smith also visited a YMCA project in Mill Road, Three Bridges, which supports young people not in education, employment or training.

Crawley’s MP, Henry Smith, accompanied his Tory colleague on the visit.

He said: “It’s great to be able to show him some of the fantastic projects we have in the town for helping people get back to work.”

Paul Champion
Strategic Project Manager

Mobile: 07540 704920

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