The latest report from ResPublica, Responsible Recovery: A social
contract for local growth
, calls for a more joined-up approach to
government policy on welfare, poverty and employment.
that we need localism that creates work and opportunity, rooting
recovery in the communities that are most crying out for it, the report
calls for a 'social contract' between residents, local business, service
providers and the wider community, which would account for the needs of
local labour markets, community networks and social assets.
failure, inequality and deprivation are real and must be tackled, and
government has a vital role to play in order to maximise the productive
potential of our poorest neighbourhoods. But regeneration is not just a
matter of reviving housing markets, providing transport infrastructure
or devolving ﬁnancial responsibilities. The starting point should be to
understand and engage with the people who are most aﬀected by poverty in
the places where they live, working with them to create solutions that
work in the context of their lives and strengthening the links and
assets that are already important to them.
ResPublica Associate Julian Dobson, the publication argues that we need
to see people as the solution, not as the problem.
report makes a raft of recommendations which would engender ‘a more
robust economic localism’ whereby policies are tailored to local
business needs, welfare, housing and other forms of social support and
security within communities:
- In implementing its
Universal Credit reforms, the report urges the DWP to separate the
Jobcentre Plus benefit agency and employment service functions, in order
to open up employment service provision to local providers. The ‘right
to challenge’ within the Localism Act should be extended to employment
support and training services.
- The report endorses the ‘Community
Allowance’ which would allow benefit claimants to do short term paid or
unpaid community placements without affecting their benefits. It calls
for national and local policy to recognise the value 'stepping stone'
temporary or voluntary jobs in providing skills and services to the
- The DWP should incentivise sub-letting of rooms in
‘under-occupied’ homes, by modifying the rules on lodgers so there is no
benefit penalty or income tax from letting out a spare room.
DCLG, DWP and local authorities should work together to offer long term
‘community deals’ in which local organisations can act as the budget
holders and delivery agents for a wide range of central and local
- The DWP and DCLG should set up a joint
taskforce to examine the scale and nature of informal, undeclared work
and consider how it could be put on a more formal footing without
penalising the skill and entrepreneurship that exists within poor
- Social landlords and local authorities should invest
in mechanisms which reward community action, from time banking schemes
to rent reductions or bonus schemes for tenants and residents who
organise or take part in voluntary activity in their communities.
The report is supported by Trafford Housing Trust, Rochdale Boroughwide Housing, Cross Keys Homes, and the Placeshapers Group.