By June 2013 a lower percentage of people who had been on the scheme for one full year had found a job which lasted at least 6 months – known as a sustained job outcome – than in the previous two months. In April 2013 14% of claimants who had been on the scheme for one year had found sustained jobs, by June this had dropped to 13%.
Following intervention by the UK Statistics Agency, the latest Work Programme figures now focus on the numbers of people finding work after spending one year on the scheme. This change has been introduced to reflect that the longer someone has been on the two year Work Programme, the more likely they are to find a job. This means that the number of job outcome payments, paid to welfare-to-work companies when someone has been in work for six months (or 3 months for the ‘hardest to help’), will rise over time. This has nothing to do with the Work Programme becoming more successful – it simply means that as more people are referred onto the programme, and more people have been on the scheme longer, then there will be more job outcomes.
Despite this change in how the statistics are presented, the skiving Employment Minister Mark Hoban is attempting to bamboozle the press and public alike by claiming that: “More than 168,000 jobseekers have escaped long-term unemployment and found lasting work – normally at least 6 months – through the Work Programme, an increase of 37,000 in 3 months”
To place this figure in context, the DWP also admit: “1.14 million people had been referred to the Work Programme and been on it for long enough to count in today’s employment performance figures.” Which means that for just under a million people, the Work Programme has been a complete waste of time.
No matter how hard DWP Ministers try to spin the facts, the truth is that the Work Programme is currently performing even worse last quarter’s dismal figures. The number of people on the sickness and disability benefit Employment Support Allowance (ESA) finding work after one year on the Work Programme has remained more or less stable, at the shameful rate of just 4%. But for those on mainstream unemployment benefits things are getting worse. According to the DWP: “Until the most recent quarter, the proportion of JSA intake groups achieving a Job Outcome payment within a year has increased month to month. Whilst the general trend is still increasing the most recent quarter shows a decrease in these levels.”
The latest statistics also contain the details of what has happened to the first group to complete the two year Work Programme. This is the intake who began on the scheme in June 2011. Just 22.5% of this group achieved a sustained job outcome at some point during this two years, a truly shocking figure woefully below the number who would have been expected to find work without any help at all.
Of the 74, 630 people who began on the Work Programme in June 2011, 54,000 of them were referred back to Jobcentre Plus two years later. And this does not mean 20,000 people got jobs. Some will have claimed a pension, moved in with a partner and become ineligible for benefits, or in some cases died.
It has been clear for a long time that the Work Programme isn’t working. Long term unemployment is at record levels and still rising. No matter how much unemployed people are bullied and humiliated by welfare-to-work companies, it will not make one bit of difference to the number of people out of work. Unemployment isn’t caused by unemployed people. But don’t expect any change to come from the DWP. Iain Duncan Smith will carry on regardless, spending billions of pounds of tax payer’s money in an ever more desperate attempt to try and prove that the poor are responsible for their own misfortune.
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