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Universal credit claimants must widen job search or face sanction

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Jobseekers on universal credit will need to look outside of their preferred sector after 4 weeks or their benefit payment could be reduced.

The change, which came into force yesterday, decreases the time frame from 3 months.

Introduced as part of the Way to Work campaign, ministers hope it will get 500,000 people jobs by June.

The initiative is focused on those who are able to work, but either are not working or are on a low income.

ONS recorded job vacancies had reached an all-time high of 1.2 million.

Work and Pensions’ Secretary Thérèse Coffey said: “Way to Work is a step in our offer to claimants and employers, making sure our job centre network and excellent Work Coaches can deliver opportunities, jobs and prosperity to all areas of the country.

“As we emerge from COVID, we are going to tackle supply challenges and support the continued economic recovery by getting people into work.

“Our new approach will help claimants get quickly back into the world of work while helping ensure employers get the people they and the economy needs.”

Claimants on universal credit are expected to receive more face-to-face time for “better, tailored support.”

Well-known companies such as TalkTalk and Whitbread Group are supporting the campaign.

Whitbread’s Head of Resourcing, Lisa Taylor, said: “Many of those who have joined us from the jobcentres during our time working closely together have gone on to build a successful career with us or maintain long term employment.

“At Whitbread, we passionately believe that by working together with Jobcentre Plus we can make a real difference to the lives of jobseekers in this country through our no barriers to entry and no limits to ambition approach, as well as being a force for good in our local communities.”

DWP also plan to work with thriving sectors such as construction, haulage and logistics and social care.

Chancellor of Exchequer, Rishi Sunak said: “It’s important that everyone has the opportunity and support to find a good job to help them get on in life. That’s why we’re doubling down on our Plan for Jobs with this new campaign to harness the talent of jobseekers and support employers to fill vacancies, find work and create new opportunities.

Together we will boost this country’s job-led recovery.”

However, the scheme has come under fire from Labour and Lib Dem members.

If claimants on universal credit are found to not make “reasonable efforts” in their job searching or turn down a job offer, they could face serious sanctions.

Lib Dem work and pensions spokesperson Wendy Chamberlain said: “This callous move could see skilled workers forced to accept insecure, short-term employment for fear of having the rug pulled out from under them, and create a cycle of unemployment.

“What is worse, these harsh sanctions could be applied within weeks of applying for Universal Credit – before people’s first payment even arrives.”

Labour’s shadow employment minister Alison McGovern criticised: “This announcement has more to do with trying to save the prime minister’s job than supporting people into work.

“It’s just tinkering at the edges – long-term unemployment is 60% higher than before the pandemic.

“People should be supported into good jobs that match their skills, which would give them a better chance to secure work long-term.”

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Doctor Who: David Tennant and Catherine Tate to return

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David Tennant and Catherine Tate are to return to Doctor Who, the BBC has confirmed.

The pair are currently filming for the sci-fi show’s 60th anniversary, which it will celebrate in 2023.

Tennant played the 10th Doctor on the time travel drama from 2005-2010, while Tate played companion Donna Noble. Tennant and Tate’s involvement means they will be reunited with returning Doctor Who head writer Russell T Davies.

Davies, who was in charge of Doctor Who when it was successfully revived in 2005, left at the same time as Tennant. Their last episode together was broadcast in 2010.

Tennant has briefly returned before, joining then-Doctor Matt Smith for the programme’s 50th anniversary in 2013.

Davies has teased fans, saying: “Maybe this is a missing story. Or a parallel world. Or a dream, or a trick, or a flashback. The only thing I can confirm is that it’s going to be spectacular, as two of our greatest stars reunite for the battle of a lifetime.”

Tennant and Tate’s 2008 series of Doctor Who is the most successful that the show has had since its revival in 2005, with an average audience of more than eight million viewers per episode.

Are you excited to see their return?

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Eurovision 2022: How Sam Ryder Turned Things Around For the UK

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Sam Ryder has said the “stigma” about the UK’s Eurovision performance has finally been “destroyed” after he brought home our best result in 24 years.

The singer led the UK to second place during Saturday night’s Song Contest in Turin, Italy, with his song ‘Space Man’.

It was the the highest the UK has placed since 1998, when Imaani’s ‘Where Are You?’ finished just behind Israel’s Dana International, who won with her song Diva.

In the years since, Britain has suffered a number of embarrassment moments, receiving the dreaded “nul points” in 2003 with Jemini’s ‘Cry Baby’ and in 2021 with James Newman’s ‘Embers’.

However, the public overwhelmingly backed Ukraine, who won the competition with 631 points on the leaderboard, with the UK securing 466 points.

Winning the 2022 Eurovision trophy is a hugely emotional and symbolic victory for Ukraine in the contest’s 66th year as the conflict continues.

The nation’s president Volodymyr Zelensky responded: “Our courage impresses the world, our music conquers Europe.

“We will do our best to one day host the participants and guests of Eurovision in Ukrainian Mariupol. Free, peaceful, rebuilt.”

The results had many fans in sheer disbelief on social media, while prime minister Boris Johnson said he was “incredibly proud” of Sam and how “he brilliantly represented the UK”.

You’re the winner in our eyes Sam, well done!

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Eurovision 2022: Sam Ryder Odds Rocket Ahead of Eurovision Final

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The UK’s Eurovision 2022 entry Sam Ryder has closed in on Ukraine in the winner odds after his performance in the jury semi final.

The TikTok star blew away the audience who flocked to the Pala Olimpico arena in Turin, Italy to see the second jury semi final. The reaction to Sam’s act and his amazing performance have now got plenty of fans and experts predicting he is going to push Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra all the way on Saturday night.

Last week , Sam was sitting in fourth place in the Eurovision odds with his song ‘Space Man’ but, after his second rehearsal in Turin received a rave reaction from press over in Italy and fans and he was given a huge advantage by being drawn in the second half of the Eurovision final, he soared up to second.

The Ukraine currently have a 59% chance of winning and the UK 11%. Sweden and Italy then currently stand as third and fourth favourites at 9% and 6% respectively. Our odds have improved even more so since too as the UK have been announced to perform fourth from last, number 22, which has been the winning performance slot two years in a row.

On May 3 2022 it became exactly 25 years to the day since the UK’s last triumph in Eurovision, when Katrina & the Waves topped the leaderboard in Ireland with their anthemic track Love Shine A Light. Since then, there’s been little to shout about. The UK has always been on the wrong side of the leaderboard, with us consistently finishing at or near the bottom. And last year proved a particularly bitter pill to swallow when James Newman came last on zero points, having received nothing from either the juries or televote.

Check out Sam’s song here:

Who do you think will win?

Watch Eurovision Song Contest 2022 – Grand Final this Saturday (May 14) at 8pm GMT on BBC1.

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