Government revises its work scheme

The government has reversed a central plank of its work experience scheme following criticisms from employers. It will drop benefit sanctions against young people on the scheme who withdraw early. Participants in the scheme, which offers 16–24 year-olds eight weeks of work experience, receive benefit while on the scheme. Under the previous rules, they would lose two weeks jobseeker’s allowance if they withdrew after a week. This change came after pressure from businesses participating in the scheme, with a number of companies withdrawing from the scheme. 

The move followed a series of controversies surrounding the use of the company, A4e, to administer the separate work programme aimed at finding work for the long-term unemployed. Emma Harrison, the former chair of A4e, resigned from her post as David Cameron’s personal adviser on how to get ‘problem’ families back to work. This followed a fraud investigation into some of the company’s employees, and controversy over Harrison’s £8.6m personal dividend payment.

See also:

The Department for Work and Pensions website for the Employment Minister’s announcement.

Articles on the Guardian website:

Why the work programme is a bad business is a critique of the controversial proposals.

Young jobseekers told to work without pay or lose unemployment benefits gives the background to the controversies.

Jobseekers forced to clean private homes and offices for nothing has examples of government contractors using unpaid jobseekers.

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