Work Programme fails to deliver

Out of 878,000 unemployed people referred to the Work Programme in its first year, only 20,000 (around 2.3 per cent) stayed in their jobs for longer than the target of three or six months (depending on payment group), according to the first official statistics on the scheme. That was lower than the government’s 5.5 per cent target – and lower than the number of people who would probably have found jobs without any help.

The Work Programme was launched in Great Britain in June 2011. Outside contractors are expected to provide personalised work-focused support for people who are long-term unemployed or at risk of becoming so, and receive performance-related payments in return.

The government sought to defend the success of the scheme, arguing that 'tens of thousands' of long-term unemployed people are getting off benefits and into jobs as a result of it. But the TUC said it 'beggars belief' for the government to try and hail the Work Programme as a success. Even the normally sympathetic Social Market Foundation said the figures raise 'serious questions' about expectations for the scheme.

SourceDWP Work Programme Statistical Release, Department for Work and Pensions
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