The latest government statistics for the Work Programme show the extent to which it is failing to solve the mounting unemployment crisis. Out of 837,000 people that started a placement with one of the scheme’s profit making providers only 31,000 found employment lasting the minimum 3-months required to register as a job outcome. Even worse only 20,000, a paltry 2.3% – less than half the government’s own tiny target of 5.5% – were found sustained employment.
Despite this pathetic performance the profiteering companies including A4e, G4S, Serco and others have been handed a whopping £346.4million just for accepting people onto their books, before lifting a finger to help them. In total including ‘sustainment payments’ – money handed to Work Programme companies simply because people who were referred to them have been kept on by an employer – they have been handed £435million, over £14,000 for each person that actually found work even though thousands of these positions lasted little more than 3-months. To put this into some context £435million is enough money to pay the UK Living Wage of £7.45 to 37,429 people to work a 30-hour week for a year. Despite this the Tory government continues to blame unemployment on the unemployed while at the same time suggesting low-growth is causing the failure of their scheme.
It seems that for Tory unemployment minister Mark Hoban a weak economy is a fine excuse for private companies being paid millions in public money to not find jobs but not for those who rely on meagre unemployment benefits to survive. The reality is that they prefer to line the pockets of workfare bosses rather than employing people who are desperate for work but left without a job by the ongoing fallout of the economic crisis. Labour’s Ed Miliband described the Work Programme as a “miserable failure.” He continued,
“It’s just not working because over the first year of the Work Programme just over two in every hundred people have been getting a job. And estimates are that if the Work Programme didn’t exist five in every hundred would be getting a job.”
It is welcome that Labour are openly criticising the scheme but if they are serious Miliband should commit now to scrapping the Work Programme and ending all workfare schemes should a Labour government win the next election.