Restart scheme 'is cost-effective'

Robert Chote
Tuesday 11 August 1992 23:02
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JOBLESS people attending 'Restart' interviews organised by the Department of Employment spend about 5 per cent less time on the dole queue than those who do not take part, according to an independent study published yesterday, writes Robert Chote.

The Policy Studies Institute concludes that the pounds 40m Restart programme has proved a cost-effective way to cut the time people are unemployed and claiming benefit, although many of the jobs people move into as a result turn out to be short-lived.

Restart involves interviewing unemployed people at six- monthly intervals, to advise them on job or training opportunities and to check whether they remain eligible for benefit. If people refuse two requests to attend a Restart interview, they are liable to have their benefits stopped. Some 2.2 million people attended interviews in 1991-2.

Fourteen per cent of people who attended Restart interviews remained unemployed for the whole of the following year, but the proportion rose to 21 per cent for those who did not take part in the scheme. Some 4,000 people were included in the study, carried out in 1989 and 1990.

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