Paperwork `eats up jobless cash'

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Indy Politics
Much of the pounds 1.4bn of taxpayers' money spent on training the unemployed goes on paperwork and the system for delivering skills has fallen short of expectations, according to an all-party Commons committee.

Employer-led Training and Enterprise Councils now preside over a structure spending more than pounds 500m on bureaucracy, according to Labour members of the committee. While Tory MPs argued there was insufficient data on which to base such an estimate, the committee agreed that an insufficient proportion of Tec funds were being spent on the jobless.

It was found that while a limited amount of money was siphoned off by Tecs on administration, a far higher proportion was spent by training providers who were forced to cope with a proliferation of auditing systems.

An employment committee report on the work of Tecs yesterday argued that they had made a "modest" contribution to improving the system of training the jobless and promoting economic regeneration.

But the impact had "not been as dramatic as was hoped" and Tecs' performance in placing people in work and gaining qualifications appeared to reflect economic conditions rather than overcome them.

While some Tecs were performing well and others badly, there was difficulty in measuring their progress, MPs said. Angela Eagle, Labour MP for Wallasey, said there was a need to ensure that the auditing systems were simplified and rationalised. Tim Yeo, Tory MP for Suffolk South, said he thought the structure was "modestly worthwhile".

MPs divided largely on party lines over whether there should be ethnic and gender monitoring of Tecs and whether they should have places reserved for elected representatives from local authorities.