Help For Newham – But For How Long?

Rianna Myers reports on some good news for Newham.

Photo by fabbio is licensed under CC BY-SA

The good news is that hundreds of people in Newham on low incomes will be helped back into better paid work, thanks to support from the European Social Fund (ESF) that will continue until August 2018.

The bad news is that because of Brexit this kind of EU funding for skills will soon be a thing of the past.

The ESF, together with the Skills Funding Agency (SFA), have instructed education and training group Prospects to find ways to help people escape the povery trap of low paid work. The scheme will support 4500 people from all over London, some of them from Newham.

Speaking to the Newham Recorder project lead Andrew Moore said: “This initiative will support more than 400 people in Newham, particularly parents and lone parents in low paid and/or unstable employment to increase their wage and gain more stable jobs that lift them out of poverty.”

But following the Brexit vote, those working in the skills sector are worried about the loss of EU help. Michelle Wright, CEO of social enterprise Cause4 points out that “… the EU Social Fund has been massively important in supporting people into employment and training…” and worries that that with Brexit “… we are about to see ‘the law of unintended consequence’ unleashed like never before.”

And this at a time when poverty in Newham is acute. Office for National Statistics figures show that unemployment in Newham stands at 12.9% – which is significantly above the national average of 7.8%