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MPs Propose Tax Deductions for Businesses that Employ Ex-Offenders

A Parliamentary Committee has suggested that employers should receive tax cuts if they employ ex-offenders. The Work and Pensions Select Committee has proposed the reduction of employers' National Insurance contributions if they actively seek to hire ex-offenders. In addition, it was suggested that a civil service scheme be extended to prevent ex-prisoners from having to tell employers they have a conviction and that practical guidance on hiring ex-offenders is developed.

These proposals come in light of a recent study that suggested the government spends £15 billion on reoffending prisoners each year. The report further noted the attitudes of employers to ex-offenders, suggesting that 50% of businesses would not offer former prisoners a job. The report explained that, upon leaving prison, offenders face a "cliff edge" drop-off in support offered to them to re-enter normal life and find work, and that even while in prison, education and employment support are fragmented and good practice is "patchy and inconsistent".

Ministers admitted in evidence to the Committee that there is no one person in Government who has responsibility for helping prison leavers into work, and the Committee says there is no clear strategy for how different agencies, in different prisons, should work together to achieve the common goal of getting ex-offenders into work.

The Committee recommended:

  • all prisons be required to demonstrate strong links with employers, including local businesses
  • all prisons should be required to offer workshop courses, apprenticeships or similar employment opportunities with real employers
  • all Jobcentres should have a specified person who specialises in helping ex-offenders into employment

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