Whatever explains the recent fall in unemployment, one thing became clear yesterday. It’​s nothing to do with the government. New figures on the Department for Work and Pensions'​ troubled Work Programme revealed that JobCentre Plus is losing all confidence in the scheme as referrals to the programme have fallen off a cliff.

In July last year, nearly 100,000 people were referred on to the Work Programme: that has since halved to 49,000 in July this year. Long-term unemployment has increased by 188,000 over the same period –​ so if anything, more people should be being referred on to the Work Programme in each successive month. The government’​s flagship back to work scheme is now in total gridlock –​ just when we need it the most. Even by the DWP’​s own standards, the over 25s and disabled people are being failed –​ referrals are well below the DWP’​s most recent projections.

Disabled people’​s right to work is now being systematically destroyed by the Coalition. The Work Programme’​s failure is starkest for disabled people seeking work. On average, about 5,600 people claiming Employment and Support Allowance were referred on to the Work Programme. That is less than half of the DWP’​s projection of 13,000 a month.

Full story in the New Statesman


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