Chris Grayling hails employment programme
Monday 09 July 2012
The Government today defended its flagship employment scheme, saying early signs were that large numbers of long-term jobless people were leaving benefit and finding work.
Employment Minister Chris Grayling published new figures showing that around one in four of those who joined the Work Programme a year ago had stayed off benefits for at least three successive months.
The signs were that the figure could have risen to 30%, which means the multibillion-pound scheme was "on track" to deliver the help ministers had hoped for.
Mr Grayling said: "These figures are the first indication that the Work Programme has had a promising start in what's been a very difficult labour market.
"People I meet in the industry already say that performance is well ahead of where it was at the same stage with the Flexible New Deal from which it took over, and this data gives further encouragement."
Mr Grayling hit back at criticism from the Labour Party, which branded the Work Programme a "failure", saying that the number of people out of work for over two years has more than doubled since the general election.
The minister accused Gordon Brown's government of "hiding" the true level of long-term youth unemployment, insisting that the coalition was now publishing correct data.
Today's study, among 28,600 people who started the Work Programme last June, showed that half had signed off benefit at some stage, 7,000 had a continuous 13-week break in claims and a "significant" proportion, 14%, had not claimed benefits for 26 weeks.
Mr Grayling said he was "comfortable" with the progress of the programme, under which providers are paid to help the long-term unemployed find work.
The programme, estimated to cost between £3-£5 billion, is designed to run for five years, with 18 main providers involved.
Mr Grayling described it as a "giant employment dating service", with one provider recruiting an entire staff for a new restaurant in Edinburgh.
The minister also published new figures for the Youth Contract, under which employers receive a subsidy towards paying wages, showing that 17,100 people aged between 18 and 24 had started a job since the programme was launched in April.
Matthew Fell, the CBI's director for competitive markets, said: "The Work Programme seems to have made a promising start, with nearly half of participants coming off benefits at some point since joining, but it's still far too early to tell how the programme is performing overall.
"In a challenging economic environment we should take action to make sure the programme delivers on its promise, not write it off."
Newcastle winger is in Argentina having chemotherapy
Returning to the stage after 20 years makes actress feel 'nauseous'
Man's attempt to avoid being impounded heavily criticised
- 1 Scottish independence: Ireland since 1919 is a lesson for Scotland in what a Yes vote means
- 2 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 3 Grandmas keep accidentally tagging themselves as Grandmaster Flash on Facebook
- 4 Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
- 5 Kanye West halts concert after two fans don't stand up - doesn't realise one is in wheelchair and the other disabled
Islamic State: Pope is 'being targeted by Isis', Iraqi ambassador to the Holy See warns
Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton nude pictures exhibition cancelled after artist concedes photos were 'stolen property'
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
John Travolta addresses former pilot's gay romance allegations publicly for the first time: 'That was the lowest I'd ever felt'
Richard III: Two years after his body was found scientists discover how he died
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: Yes campaign feels the heat as Alex Salmond's NHS claims come under furious attack
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
£23m Birmingham cycle scheme is attacked by Tory councillor for not catering to the elderly
This is an unpaid voluntary role.: Cancer Research UK: We need motivational vo...
£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Birmingham: I am looking for a qualified experi...
£50 - £85 per day: Randstad Education Preston: Rapidly developing and growing ...