Shadow work and pensions secretary Rachel Reeves is to announce plans for a "basic skills test" for all new benefits claimants.
She is expected to say in a speech this morning:
We all know that basic skills are essential in today’s jobs market, but the shocking levels of English and maths among too many jobseekers are holding them back from getting work.
This traps too many jobseekers in a vicious cycle between low paid work and benefits.
Government plans in this area just aren’t enough. They’re now asking jobseekers who exit the failed Work Programme to take up literacy and numeracy training, three whole years after those people first make a claim for benefits.
A Labour government will introduce a Basic Skills Test to assess all new claimants for Job Seekers Allowance within six weeks of claiming benefits.
Those who don’t have the skills they need for a job will have to take up training alongside their jobsearch or lose their benefits.
Labour’s Basic Skills Test will give the long-term unemployed a better chance of finding a job and will help us to earn our way out of the cost-of-living crisis.
Labour's shadow work and pension secretary Rachel Reeves has asked "when will the PM and IDS [Iain Duncan Smith] get a grip" on Universal Credit, after Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude admitted to ITV News that its implementation had been "pretty lamentable" so far:
Labour will be tougher than the Tories when it comes to slashing the benefits bill, Rachel Reeves, the new shadow work and pensions secretary, has insisted in her first interview since winning promotion in Ed Miliband's frontbench reshuffle.
In an interview with the Observer, Ms Reeves said: "Nobody should be under any illusions that they are going to be able to live a life on benefits under a Labour government.
"It is not an either/or question. We would be tougher [than the Conservatives]. If they don't take it [the offer of a job] they will forfeit their benefit. But there will also be the opportunities there under a Labour government".
Shadow chief secretary to the Treasury Rachel Reeves said the Conservatives "have shown once again that they only ever stand up for a privileged few not for hard working families” following George Osborne's conference speech.
Ms Reeves continued: "The few things he has said are already unravelling. His panicky announcement on fuel duty turns out to be just an aspiration if he can find savings elsewhere.
"The IFS [Institute for Fiscal Studies] has said the marriage tax break will help just 28 per cent of married couples and only 15 per cent of families with children.
"And his work scheme turns out to be less ambitious than Labour’s compulsory jobs guarantee."