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Friday, July 19, 2024

Lancashire’s woman in business and Federation of Business Employment Policy Chair speaks at MMU Universal Credit and Employers report lunch

Saira Hussain runs a female led architectural, planning and property practice HAD & CO with practices in Burnley, Blackburn and Manchester, she is also the employment, self employment and pensions policy chair at the FSB.

She represented the FSB at the Launch of the first major independent research project exploring employers’ views of Universal Credit and related employment policy.

What do employers know about Universal Credit and how does it impact on them? How can Jobcentres and other employment services work more effectively with employers, leading to better outcomes for individuals and the wider economy? The event was attended by industry experts for the in-person launch of findings from the Universal Credit and Employers research project. Drawing on 124 interviews with employers and wider stakeholders, this is the first major independent research project to explore employers’ views and experiences of this important policy area. Project lead Dr Katy Jones and Researcher Dr Calum Carson will provided an overview of
the findings, followed by a panel response and discussion chaired by Prof Ashwin Kumar, and featuring:
  • Elizabeth Taylor, Chief Executive of the Employment Related Services Association (ERSA)
  • Saira Hussain, Policy Chair for Employment, Federation of Small Businesses (FSB)
  • Tony Wilson, Director, Institute for Employment Studies (IES)

Saira Hussain provided small business representation on the panel as greater consideration of SMEs in policymaking was a core recommendation.

Saira commented ‘’ This report is timely. The UK labour market is still very tight our surveys consistently tell us that the availability of appropriately skilled people is one of the biggest challenges businesses face. It does a very good job in setting out the employer perspective on universal credit. We know that government is trying to get people into work through programmes such as Restart and is also concerned at the increasing number of people who are economically inactive. Small employer experience of DWP initiatives such as Kickstart

has been mixed, in that small employers are often brought into such programmes as an afterthought. This is a shame, as our data shows that small employers are significant employers of older workers and are also generally able to offer flexible working.

As the report says, there is also a role for employers themselves, and for representative bodies like FSB. For example, there is still a widespread perception that people on benefits cannot work more than sixteen hours per week, which can be tackled by communication from government alongside employer groups, as well as closer working between Jobcentres and employers which we would hope to see in the future.’’

Here’s a link to the full report: https://www.mmu.ac.uk/sites/default/files/2023-01/UniversalCreditandEmployersFinalReportJan2023.pdf



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