Just one in ten people on the Government’s flagship back-to-work scheme have been found jobs, damning figures revealed today. Of the 1.2million unemployed placed on the Work Programme, 1,071,900 have not found long-term jobs. The figures are even worse for the out-of-work disabled - where 97 out of every 100 have been failed.
Shadow work and pensions secretary Liam Byrne said: “No wonder the benefits bill is £21billion higher than planned.” TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady added: “People who lose their jobs need support, not a raft of vicious new welfare policies that will hurt them and their families.”
Overall, the Work Programme has helped 132,000 long-term unemployed into jobs - a dramatic improvement on the previous year when just 9,000 were helped into work. The Department for Work and Pensions claimed the figures showed the “growing success” of the programme.
The DWP said the new figures only counted those who have been in work for long periods - six months in most cases, or three months for the hardest to help. But critics have attacked the programme for not doing enough to help long-term unemployed find work.
Under the Work Programme, charities and businesses are paid according to results to get people into work, with extra bribes to get the hardest to help into work. By the end of March, just over a million people had been referred to the programme. Just 8.5% of those who started on it in June 2011 completed at least three months of work in their first year, increasing to 13.4% for more recent recruits who joined in March of this year.
Dame Anne Begg, who chairs the Work and Pensions Select Committee, said the figures did nothing “to reduce the fear that the Work Programme is failing to reach harder-to-help jobseekers”. She added: “We remain deeply concerned that the Work Programme, as currently designed, is insufficient to tackle the problems faced by more disadvantaged jobseekers.”
But Employment Minister Mark Hoban said: “The Work Programme is helping large numbers of people escape the misery of long-term unemployment and get back into real jobs."