People living in Swansea and other areas of south Wales are unable to move off benefits and into work because of the costs associated with working, new research shows.
Housing provider Gwalia says work it has done to map employment skills and benefit services has revealed employment-related costs are a significant barrier to people moving from benefit reliance into sustainable employment.
Costs range from purchasing appropriate work clothing, training or tools to travelling for work. Start-up costs were also cited as a reason why people keen to start their own businesses as an alternative to claiming benefits are failing to do so.
The research backed a new application to help fund Employment Start-up Grants, which was approved by Gwalia Trust and will see £20,000 made available to assist Gwalia customers with the costs of gaining work, learning a new skill or starting a new business. It is anticipated the funding will also result in the creation of 3 new businesses.
John Morse, Chair of Gwalia Trust said:
“This application fell clearly within the Trust’s charitable aims of alleviating poverty and improving the quality of life for people in Wales. Sometimes the funds needed to access work can be relatively low and yet gaining sustainable employment can make a huge difference to people’s lives. We anticipate grants will range from as little as £50-100 for clothing or transport to as much as £2000 to assist with business start-up costs.”
Andrew Vye, Director of Housing for Gwalia said:
“Many of tenants, particularly our younger tenants, are faced with real financial pressures. This is likely to increase as welfare reforms continue to reduce the amount of financial support available from the government. We do everything we can to keep the cost of living in our homes as low as possible. However, supporting people into paid employment is also a focus for us.
“We want to make sure that as many of our tenants as possible have the opportunity to get closer to the workplace. Employment Start-up grants will help people kick start their journey into employment by helping to buy kit, access training or help with travel costs. We are also hoping the grants, alongside support from Gwalia staff and our partners, will help some of our tenants start their own business”.