January 2008

Peter Hain has announced his resignation as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions following the row over undeclared donations to his unsuccessful campaign to become Deputy Prime Minister. James Purnell, formerly the Culture Secretary, has been named as his successor. James Purnell has previously worked within DWP as the Minister for Pensions. It has also been announced that Caroline Flint has moved from DWP to become the Minister for Housing with Stephen Timms being named as the new Minister of State for Employment and Welfare Reform.

The Pension Service and the Disability and Carers Service are to be brought together into a single Agency - the Pension, Disability and Carers Service. The two existing Agencies increasingly share many of the same customers - over half of the customers of the Disability and Carers Service are also customers of The Pension Service and the proportion is growing as people live longer. Over time the new Agency will enable a better and more seamless service to be delivered to them.

Councils who lead the way in boosting jobs and opportunities in their areas will be up for an ‘Oscars’ style award. The new award for ‘raising prosperity’ will go to top-performing areas at improving town centres, tackling unemployment, boosting skills and training and attracting investment. This could be through apprenticeships, mentoring for the long-term unemployed or improving transport links to bring jobs to an area. More...

BASE is organising regional events to consult on our response to the DWP report, 'Helping people achieve their full potential: improving specialist Disability Employment services'. The half day events take place through January and early February in London, Darlington, Bolton, Coventry and Gloucestershire. Further events are being organised in Scotland and Wales. The events are open to both members and non-members.

David Cameron and Chris Grayling have laid out their proposals for a welfare reform programme to "end the culture of long-term welfare dependency in this country and help make British poverty history". "Work for Welfare" sets out how a Conservative Government would help create stable families and a more responsible society through reform of the welfare system.