Chris Grayling, minister for employment is claiming the Work Programme is successful. His claim is based on the fact that one in four people who had taken part in the Work Programme remained off benefits for 13 weeks.

The Guardian reports on the analysis provided by Mr Grayling. Of the 28,600 people on the Work Programme in June 2011, 7,000 of them (approximately 24%) had a continuous break in their claim of 13 weeks. What he refers to as a “​signific​ant”​ proportion (approximately 14%) had not claimed benefits for 26 weeks. He could not however confirm how many people had come off benefits because they had found employment, and referred instead to the “​chaotic lives”​ of some claimants.

In response to doubts raised by the National Audit Office (NAO) about the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) predictions for the number of jobseekers who will secure long-term employment Grayling told the Guardian there was no basis for the NAO’​s claims. He refused to comment on claims made by Channel 4 News that A4e had only found employment for 3.5% of its jobseekers.

Liam Byrne, shadow work and pensions secretary said “​The government can selectively quote whatever it likes about the Work Programme but it can’​t disguise the blunt truth that long-term unemployment has gone through the roof...I’​m afraid that it is a cut and dried case that the Work Programme is sinking under the weight of unacceptably high unemployment.”​

Grayling has acknowledged there may be a review of Work Programme providers next year, but also made reference to the evaluation of schemes forcing people who failed to find a job through the Work Programme to do compulsory community work for a six month period.

Further information about the Work Programme and youth unemployment can be found in the Guardian’​s report.


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