Work Programme “failing those most in need and should be broken up”

14 June 2014

The Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR), have proposed that the £1.2bn Work Programme, the government’s flagship welfare to work scheme, needs to be broken up in the face of figures showing that as little as 5 per cent of unemployed people on the main disability benefit are finding a job through it.

The think-tank’s Condition of Britain report looked at the social and economic problems facing the country and covered areas such as welfare, housing, childcare and improvements to social care, as well as handing more power to local councils.

On the Work Programme, the report concludes that the scheme is failing mentally ill people in particular; and adds that the task of helping those on Employment Support Allowance (ESA) – the main disability benefit – to find work should be devolved to local authorities, with councils recouping some of the possible savings from the Department for Work and Pensions.

However, the report also states that private contractors should be left to find jobs for the mainstream long-term unemployed using a modified version of the current system of payments by results.

The report which described the system as a “postcode lottery” says: “The Work Programme, while delivering acceptable results for the mainstream job seekers, is letting down those furthest from the labour market. Whilst one in five mainstream job seekers will find work through the Work Programme as few as one in 20 of those furthest from the labour market will.”

It also argues that those in areas of highest unemployment are receiving the least effective help.