MP calls for travel funding for jobseekers
April 01, 2009
The Government will pay £300 for a suit for a jobseeker to wear to an interview, but it will not pay the bus fare up front to get there.
That is what Rob Wilson MP, pictured, elicited from Employment Minister Tony McNulty last month in oral questions in the House of Commons.
Mr Wilson asked why funding was available for the suit but not for travel expenses before an interview.
McNulty said to Mr Wilson: “I therefore assume that he is against what we have announced on the £300.”
The Travel to Work scheme pays back the costs of travelling to a pre-arranged interview, but not in advance.
There is also no capacity for Job Seekers’ Allowance to be paid as an advance for people struggling to meet the costs of travel expenses.
Many constituents have written to Mr Wilson about this.
Commenting on McNulty’s response, he said: “The minister should be concentrating on helping people get back into work by creating a flexible system that can assist people who start a new job or have an interview, rather than score cheap political points that help no-one.”
Mr Wilson was able to get the Government to pledge, however, that Reading’s Jobcentre Plus wouldn’t be cut ahead of when the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, James Purnell, visited on March 17.
Mr Wilson said: “I’m delighted Reading won’t be affected by the Government’s disastrous policy of cutting job centres during a recession.”