Paul and Deborah Rees have been granted £4,500 by Want2Work, a government agency that helps people on long-term benefits join the labour market once again or set up a business. The scheme is run by the Department of Work and Pensions in association with the Welsh Assembly Government. It operates in deprived and poverty-stricken areas in Wales and receives funding from a European social fund. It offers financial support and advice about setting up companies.
Paul Rees, a former furniture upholsterer, has been working as a medium with his wife for years. When Deborah contracted a spinal disease 18 months ago, they decided to give up the business.
The Taxpayers’ Alliance, however, are unhappy with the agency’s decision. They are calling it a “ridiculous” waste. Campaign Director Mark Wallace, says that the funding amount was too much.
“I think it’s ridiculous, particularly when every penny of taxpayers’ money counts and people are losing their jobs. It’s quite questionable what economic contribution this will make, it’s just mumbo-jumbo,” said Wallace. “I think it’s good to get people back into work but I don’t think this is an intelligent use of taxpayers’ money,” he adds.
A Welsh Assembly Government spokesperson says: “Whilst we support the overall Want2Work scheme in its efforts to get people back into gainful employment, we don’t administer it. The assembly government is saying that it is “checking to determine how this unique venture fits in the aims of the programme”
“If you want to educate yourself and the science behind it, this is becoming a very popular subject – the public are needing it and wanting it at these uncertain times,” counters Deborah Rees.
The couple prepared a 15-page business plan to propose the idea to Want2Work. According to the Reeses, the plan on using a big part of the funding to help them train. The Want2Work program has helped 2,347 people enter the workforce since 2004.
Source : http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/wales/7965934.stm