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Long-term jobless must take up work trial or work placements to continue to receive benefits

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Work trials and work experience will be made mandatory for long-term jobless to get people back to work, secretary of state for work and pensions Yvette Cooper (pictured) announced today.

From next year, in areas where jobseekers have been out of work for more than six months but have turned down work experience, support or training, advisers will be able to require them to take up a work trial or work-experience placement as a condition of continuing to receive benefit.

Today the Government is rolling out the latest phase of its welfare reform with the start of the Flexible New Deal (FND), involving private, public and third-sector partners, and the first new starters under the £1 billion Future Jobs Fund, alongside a major expansion of the successful Local Employment Partnerships (LEPs).

It is hoped the scheme will help three quarters of a million people back to get back into work by the end of next year.

Cooper said: "A lot of people are still having a tough time finding work and we're investing £5 billion to give them more help. We're working with businesses, local councils and voluntary sector groups as part of a major change in the way the welfare state delivers more personalised support to help people into work. But in return everyone has to do their bit to find work or take up the new help that's on offer. Otherwise it's not fair on everyone else who's trying desperately hard to find a job and support their families."

Today's expansion of welfare reform and employment support means thousands of jobseekers who have been out of work for a year will get tailored help to find jobs from specialist organisations, including Calder Holding and A4E, through the FND. The contracts mean companies will be paid according to the number of people they get into sustainable work.

The first of 150,000 jobseekers to be helped under the £1 billion Future Jobs Fund start work in Barnsley today. More than 120 new starters are filling a variety of new jobs at the local NHS Trust, local colleges, the Fire Brigade and Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council.

And, according to the Department of Work and Pensions, 500,000 more people are to be helped into work by the end of next year through an expansion of the successful LEPs.