The Work Programme: Worse than doing nothing

Last week we learnt that the Government’s flagship Work Programme, which is supposed to be getting people into jobs, is just not working.

In fact, it’s a miserable failure.

In its first year, just over two in every hundred people have been getting a job. In Coventry North East constituency, just 2.1 percent of participants in the Programme have found work.

It’s a shocking statistic – but what’s just as shocking is the Government’s own estimate that, if the Work Programme didn’t even exist, five in every hundred people would be getting a job.

So the Government’s flagship policy on getting people back into work is actually worse than doing nothing.

Why isn’t the Work Programme working? Because to reform welfare, which is what everyone wants to see, you’ve got to have government and people playing their respective roles, shouldering their responsibilities. A One Nation approach.

We shouldn’t be letting young people languish out of work – we should be getting them jobs. We should be working with employers and saying government will pay the wages, if you pay the training and mobilise business across this country to get our young people working again. That’s the way we can really reform welfare. Pulling together as One Nation and each taking and delivering on our responsibilities.

What we’ve seen from this Tory-led Government is a failure to reform welfare. Welfare bills are going up not down – they’re now over £20 billion higher than expected – because the Tories’ plans aren’t working.

When it comes to the Autumn Statement this week, we need to finally hear from George Osborne how he’s going to create the jobs and growth that are vital to get people off benefits and back into work, so that we can make up all the lost ground of the last two years.

Labour has suggested using funds from the 4G auction to build 100,000 affordable homes; bringing forward infrastructure investment; a temporary VAT cut; and a bank bonus tax to fund a jobs guarantee for young people. Business groups have been calling for action this week, so it’s time this Government listened and stopped being so complacent.


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