For those claimants on Employment Support Allowance (ESA) – the benefit for people who are sick or disabled – just 5.3% of people found jobs which lasted over 3 months. This is against the DWP’s own minimum performance figure of 16.5%.
As the name suggests, the minimum performance figure is not a target. It is a contractual requirement set 10% higher than the rate of people who would have been expected to find jobs under their own steam with no intervention whatsoever. This means that had the Work Programme not existed then the number of people who would have come off sickness benefits and found work would have been expected to be three times higher.
Failure to meet the minimum performance figures should mean contracts being pulled and the DWP has already warned this might be the case saying today that: “Performance Improvement Notices have also been issued for 12 contracts where providers must show significant improvement over the next four months or face the contract being terminated.”
Yesterday George Osborne warned of a “a hard-headed assessment of under-performing (DWP) programmes”. If contracts are pulled later this year, and not replaced, then this will be the surest indicator yet that the Work Programme is being quietly abandoned.
The figures for those claiming Job Seekers Allowance also failed to meet the minimum contractual standards. The performance level for claimants under 25 was 31.9% against the minimum of 33%, whilst for those over 25 it stood at 27.3% against 27.5%.
Whilst this is marginally over the number who would have found work without the Work Programme, it is still below the very minimum expected of the welfare-to-work companies. These money grabbing poverty pimps have been paid hundreds of millions of pounds for virtually nothing at all – a handful of extra jobs for those who are easiest to help into work. It would have been cheaper to bury money in the ground and pay unemployed people to dig it up.
In total, after two years of the scheme, just 13.4% of all claimants have found jobs which lasted over six months, or three months in the cases of those on sickness or disability benefits. Overall this is still less than the number who would have been expected to find work without the Work Programme, yet the DWP are today trying to tell us what a wonderful success the whole sorry farce has been.
In a gushing press release the skiving Employment Minister Mark Hoban even makes a rare appearance with the astonishing claim that the Work Programme is giving “taxpayers a far better deal than previous schemes.” Almost a billion pounds has been squandered and nothing has been achieved – and Hoban thinks this is a good deal. No wonder he was so happy to spend £35 quid of our money on a fucking bog brush he could have picked up on the market for less than a fiver.
In truth all the DWP can really say is that these figures are better than the last ones – something which would be entirely expected for two reasons. The first is that they could hardly have been worse, but also, as people have been on the Work Programme longer, the number of people finding work has risen. Someone is more likely to find a job in a two year period than they are in just a year. That is why the minimum performance levels have also risen.
One indicator of the Work Programme’s failure which isn’t included in today’s statistics is soaring long term unemployment. The number of people out of work for over one year has risen almost every single month since this Government weren’t elected. The vast majority of claimants are referred to the Work Programme after a year on benefits. With the number of people unemployed for over one year soaring, this suggests that the tiny number of people who have got jobs on the Work Programme have got those jobs at the expense of people not yet referred to the scheme. It is unlikely one single job has been created by the Work Programme.
This is because you can’t fix unemployment with crude attempts to fix unemployed people. There are no fucking jobs. It doesn’t matter how many billions of pounds are handed to vile scum like A4e to bully and harass claimants, there will still be no fucking jobs. It’s about time politicians of all parties grew up and accepted the real, brutal and unequal nature of the capitalist economy that they all think is so wonderful.
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