Work programme farce must end now

Work programme farce must end now

22 February 2013

The government's flagship work programme has been revealed to be a costly failure and must now be dumped, says Unite, the UK's biggest union.

The call comes as the respected Public Accounts Committee issues its report into the scheme today (Friday) which reveals that the multi-billion pound scheme has only a 3.6 per cent success rate when it comes to finding paid employment for those seeking work.

The devastating findings come just one week after the courts ruled most of the government's workfare schemes unlawful but with the work and pensions minister, Iain Duncan Smith, determined to salvage the increasingly discredited programme.

Len McCluskey, Unite general secretary, repeated calls for the programme to be abandoned: "What will it take for this government to finally accept that their workfare programme simply does not work?  The courts have ruled it unlawful and now Iain Duncan Smith has been told in no uncertain terms his scheme is an expensive waste of taxpayers' money.

"Stop this farce now.

"Even by its own shoddy standards, whereby the most `job ready' job seekers are forced to participate, the programme can only mange to get fewer than four percent of workers into paid, sustainable employment.  This is a criminal waste of £3.5 billion which is being used to hound people into working for nothing instead of creating decent work.

"Tackling long term unemployment needs a sustained, considered effort. It needs to be part of a plan for good growth, not crackpot schemes that do little more than replace real jobs with free labour for extremely profitable retailers."