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Government Words: Government Actions

by John Mills, Liverpool City Council

The Story so far


Lets face it. The Government proclaims to be tackling social exclusion and helping communities help themselves.

     However people on benefit are excluded from LETS, a community self-help initiative that can make a difference in building community cohesion and individual confidence to rejoin the labour market.

In the report entitled "Bringing Britain Together: A National Strategy for Neighbourhood Renewal" the policy action team on jobs referred to their study of LETS by promising to look at, "What benefit rule flexibilities it might be helpful to pilot for example, whether changes to earning disregards, or an easier regime for LETS would be cos- effective in drawing people back into work".

Alistair Darling's "Opportunity for All: Tackling Social Exclusion" report states that, "LETS enable local people to improve their quality of life by exchanging time and skills" The DETR published a Community Enterprise Good Practice Guide which said "LETS have the potential to combat social exclusion by offering residents of an area the opportunity to re-enter or enter the world of work on a small scale, building up their skills, self confidence and networks. Existing LETS are well used by unemployed people and for a partnership there will be broader benefits in terms of recycling resources and building community cohesion".

     Recently the Policy Action Team on Community Self Help has used Beckford Community LETS as a case study and even Tony Blair this year in his speech at the annual NCVO conference said, "The voluntary sector is - I believe - showing the way, making the links between rebuilding communities and rebuilding economic opportunity."



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