The All-Party Parliament Group (APPG) on Housing and Social Mobility has found that the effect social landlords have on getting people into sustainable employment “can be transformative”.
Published in the face of the largest unemployment crisis faced in the UK for over 100 years, the report – Improving Opportunities: How to support social housing tenants into sustainable employment – examines the barriers working-age people in social housing face in securing employment and progressing in work.
Within it, the APPG urges funding certainty for key programmes that help tackle unemployment – including the Shared Prosperity Fund and clarity as to how it will replace the European Social Fund (ESF).
The report, written by UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence (CaCHE), also warns against a national one-size-fits-all approach.
Instead, it recommends that employment support in England and Wales is commissioned, designed, and delivered locally through local government, housing associations, and local bodies.
Devolving programmes in this way could save money while aligning employment support to fit local job markets, create new jobs, and provide better opportunities for unemployed people to access sustainable employment, the report says.
The report also suggests that the tenure security and affordability provided by social housing may give people the stability they need to create a foundation for success, helping them overcome barriers and secure sustainable employment.
The evidence-led report received over 60 submissions from the social housing, government, and employment sectors – and also heard from social housing tenants about what had been most helpful for them as they sought work.
The APPG’s report is believed to be the first to focus on UK social housing providers and their role within employment and training support since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Housing providers rely on the ESF to deliver many of their employment and training services and support people into work.
- Embed employment into local procurement contracts – guarantee that jobs and apprenticeship opportunities are created for local people by requiring suppliers and contractors to commit to providing these opportunities
- Provide temporary financial support for those entering the job market to help cover extra essential costs related to starting a job
- Focus on removing long-standing barriers to employment, including poor or expensive public transport, unaffordable childcare, and irradicate digital exclusion with access to quality, affordable broadband for all
Peter Aldous MP, co-chair of the APPG on Housing and Social Mobility, commented: “This APPG Inquiry on Housing and Employment establishes clear evidence for what works most effectively and consistently in supporting people to sustain their own livelihoods.
“I look forward to working with the government, fellow MPs, and the social housing sector to bring the inquiry’s recommendations to life, recognising that working together gives us the greatest chance of achieving long term, positive changes in communities across the UK.”
Lynsey Sweeney, managing director of Communities that Work, said: “With the economic damage from COVID-19 likely to exceed previous recessions, this inquiry drives home the need for government to work with the social housing sector to deliver meaningful employment and training support and put the UK on the path to recovery.
“The inquiry’s findings emphasise the vital role social housing providers can play in driving local economic growth that will help communities thrive and level up.”
Matthew Walker, chair of PlaceShapers, added: “This report clearly shows that the security and affordability of social housing helps people to be able to find and keep a job.
“In addition, the work of social landlords in supporting their residents into work can be transformative.
“Social landlords are experts in the places they work and have a strong track record working with residents to help them achieve sustainable jobs.
“The inquiry’s findings show that social landlords should play a far greater role in designing and delivering employment support programmes across the country.”
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