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Labour on a mission to spark financial progress with Back to Work plan

Soaring numbers of those out of work is holding Britain’s growth back, the Work and Pensions Secretary will declare today.

Liz Kendall, speaking for the first time in her new role, will vow to bring down the ‘unacceptable’ figure of 2.8million people who are jobless due to long-term sickness.

Her Back to Work plan – first announced in March – involves bringing together the NHS with JobCentres and devolving employment support to local areas.

More than 9million (9.4million) people are now economically inactive – meaning they are not actively looking for work, or are unavailable to start a job.

She will also refer to the 900,000 young people – one in eight – currently not in education, employment or training and promise a ‘youth guarantee’ for those aged 18-21.

Liz Kendall, speaking for the first time in her new role, will vow to bring down the 'unacceptable' figure of 2.8million people who are jobless due to long-term sickness

Liz Kendall, speaking for the first time in her new role, will vow to bring down the ‘unacceptable’ figure of 2.8million people who are jobless due to long-term sickness

Her Back to Work plan – first announced in March – involves bringing together the NHS with JobCentres and devolving employment support to local areas

Her Back to Work plan – first announced in March – involves bringing together the NHS with JobCentres and devolving employment support to local areas

More than 9million (9.4million) people are now economically inactive – meaning they are not actively looking for work, or are unavailable to start a job

More than 9million (9.4million) people are now economically inactive – meaning they are not actively looking for work, or are unavailable to start a job

But last night the Tories warned that the welfare bill will spiral under a Labour government by more than £20billion a year by the end of the decade unless they slash benefits.

The Work and Pensions Secretary will also point to the importance of working with local leaders to tailor the reforms during a visit to Leeds with West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin today.

Ms Kendall will say: ‘Growth is our number one mission and, as the Chancellor said, our Back to Work Plan is central to achieving our plans.

‘Economic inactivity is holding Britain back – it’s bad for people, it’s bad for businesses, and it’s bad for growth.

‘It’s not good enough that the UK is the only G7 country with employment not back to pre-pandemic levels.’

The former party leadership hopeful will announce plans to prevent 18-21 year olds from falling out of the workforce through investment in training and apprenticeships.

She has previously said there will be ‘no option of a life on benefits’ for young people under a Labour government.

Reforms include merging JobCentre Plus and the National Careers Service, and supporting disabled people to enter and stay in work (stock image)

Reforms include merging JobCentre Plus and the National Careers Service, and supporting disabled people to enter and stay in work (stock image)

Ms Kendall (pictured on Tuesday outside No 10) will say: 'Economic inactivity is holding Britain back – it's bad for people, it's bad for businesses, and it's bad for growth'

Ms Kendall (pictured on Tuesday outside No 10) will say: ‘Economic inactivity is holding Britain back – it’s bad for people, it’s bad for businesses, and it’s bad for growth’

Other reforms including merging JobCentre Plus and the National Careers Service, and supporting disabled people to enter and stay in work.

‘It is time for change in every corner of the country,’ she added.

‘We’ll create more good jobs, make work pay, transform skills, and overhaul JobCentres, alongside action to tackle the root causes of worklessness including poor physical and mental health.

‘Change delivered by local areas for local people, driving growth and delivering opportunity and prosperity to everyone, wherever they live.’

Overall, Labour will target an increase in the employment rate from 75 per cent to 80 per cent, which would be the highest in the G7 and mean over two million more people would enter the workforce across the UK.

A Conservative Party spokesman said: ‘Unless action is taken, the working-age welfare bill will rise by more than £20billion a year by the end of the decade.

‘The Labour Party refused to match our measures to save billions of pounds from the welfare bill by the end of the next parliament. They must wake up to the fact that their approach on welfare will come at huge cost to the taxpayer.’