Published: 3rd Nov 2009

Yesterday I was in a packed room in the Houses of Parliament, listening to people talking about poverty. This isn’t unusual: every week legislators and lobbyists get together in panelled rooms over parliamentary tea and cakes to discuss how to put the world to rights. It’s their job. This, though, was a bit different. We were there for the launch of two reports on the Community Allowance, a scheme to reform the benefits system to encourage long-term unemployed people to learn skills, put those skills to use in their communities, and prepare themselves for work. The idea is that benefit claimants should be paid a wage for such sessional, part-time work, overseen by local community organisations, without loss of benefit entitlement for a limited period. One of the reports launched yesterday, a study by the new economics foundation, showed that for every pound spent on the Community Allowance, £10.20 worth … (To read the full article, subscribe below)