THE UK government’s flagship welfare-to-work programme was branded a “miserable failure” yesterday as initial figures suggested only a fraction of people on it had been found a permanent job.
• Only 3 per cent of total number on Work Programme scheme have been in work for over six months in Scotland
• The scheme was set up to support the hundreds of thousands out of work for over a year
UK-wide figures showed that just over 3 per cent of the near-900,000 people across the UK who have joined the scheme in the last year have been in work for more than six months. In Scotland, figures showed a similar proportion, with just over 3,000 people moving into a sustainable job, out of a total of 87,000 on the programme.
Ministers said it was too early to judge the scheme, which rewards firms and charities via a payments-by-result scheme once they have taken long-term unemployed people into the workplace permanently.
But opposition parties and trade unions savaged the plan, claiming the figures proved it was doing little or nothing to help long-term unemployed people back into the workplace.
Labour leader Ed Miliband said: “It’s just not working … over the first year of the Work Programme just over two in every hundred people have been getting a job.”
The Department for Work and Pensions highlighted figures from the trade body which represents the welfare to work industry, the Employment Related Services Association, which showed that 207,883 people from the programme were currently in work.
Employment minister Mark Hoban said: “Unlike previous schemes, which paid large amounts of money up front to private sector organisations regardless of whether they got people back to work, we pay providers dependent on results – when they get someone into work and make sure they stay there. We have put an end to providers cashing in by parking someone in a job for a few days and then losing interest.”