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I WAS astonished to see (your report, 28 November) that, despite an overwhelmingly damning survey, your political editor Eddie Barnes seems to think that the Work Programme may just need “time to bed in”. The Work Programme has been flawed from the start.

This is a scheme which has barely managed to provide sustainable employment for 3.5 per cent of participants. What more proof do we need that it simply isn’t working? The UK government can’t afford to keep investing in these punitive schemes, which are letting down unemployed people.

Arguing that the Work Programme is a more cost-effective option in comparison to similar programmes completely misses the point. Where is the value in delivering a scheme which ­simply does not help people into work?

On the other hand, the third sector in Scotland has proven that it can help young unemployed people find jobs through schemes like Community Jobs Scotland (CJS). An independent evaluation of the CJS initiative found 40 per cent of young ­people entered full-time employment after completing their CJS contract and a further 11 per cent went into training or education, or took up volunteering opportunities. These results speak for themselves. It’s time to focus spending on what we know works.

John Downie

Director of Public Affairs

Scottish Council for ­Voluntary Organisations

Mansfield Square