New Deal 50plus: Sustainability of Employment

Atkinson J, Evans C, Willison R, Lain D, van Gent M | Report WAE142 | Department for Work and Pensions | Jan 2003

This research was undertaken by a team at the Institute for Employment Studies, and sought to assess the longer-term outcomes of ND50plus, and specifically to ask how far clients had stayed in work after the wage top-up provided by the Programme had expired.

It comprised a series of 60 face-to-face interviews, with people who had taken work under the auspices of ND50plus, who had completed their eligibility for the Employment Credit (EC), and who had been living for up to a year without the benefit of the additional income it represented. The fieldwork was undertaken in June and July 2002.

It shows that there were high levels of retention in work, and commensurately low rates of return to benefit. At the same time, progression and advancement at work were low. As a result, only a minority had replaced substantial amounts of the EC.

Awareness that the EC would expire had been high, but preparedness for it doing so had been low. The dominant coping strategies had been to cut back severely on household spending, and to increase income through working more hours where possible.

Few had sought to get a better job, particularly if this meant moving to a different employer. Lack of skills, and a widespread and strong aversion to risk, were the main reasons for this.

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