The Unemployment Debate: Clubs paid for finding work lasting one day

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GOVERNMENT-backed Job Clubs are being paid for finding work for their members lasting just one day.

A leaked memorandum passed to the Independent reveals that temporary postings lasting one day count towards contractual targets set between the Department of Employment and the clubs.

One day placings are also included in the department's job club statistics. In 1991-92, the Government was hailing a 56 per cent success rate for members of job clubs finding work. This year, that figure has fallen to 45 per cent.

John Prescott, Labour's Shadow Employment spokesman last night described the memorandum as a scandal. 'If this government spent half as much time finding people real jobs as it does cooking the books there would be a lot more people in work.'

Mr Prescott asked how it was possible for a job lasting just one day to be justified as any sort of success, especially as club membership is restricted to the long-term unemployed - usually people out of work for at least 6 months.

There are 1,450 clubs nationwide with a total annual membership approaching 250,000.

Last month, the department's South West London contracts manager wrote to all job club leaders in the area telling them she had been advised by Regional Office 'that any placing of a day or more can be counted, and this has been the case since April 1993.'

As the office had not been following that rule, the club chiefs were instructed to go back over their records and 'count retrospectively any placings that you would have claimed had this Area been operating this rule at the time.'