Daily Archives: November 27, 2012

Jim Pickard

Labour is putting forward an opposition day motion for Wednesday on employiment and social security: but the wording was subtly changed in recent hour, as one eagle-eyed reader has noticed.

The difference is that the new version no longer contains the phrase “before proceeding with further reform”” at the end: that may reflect a tussle on Labour’s front bench between Blairite types and their opponents, although they are unlikely to admit this.

Version 1:

Jobs and Social Security

This House notes that only just over two in every hundred people referred to the Work Programme in its first year have gone into work; further notes that it has delivered a worse outcome than no programme at all; recognises long term unemployment is soaring and that the welfare bill is projected to be £20 billion higher than planned; notes with concern that the government is cutting £14 billion from tax credits and is taking £6.7 billion from disability benefits to pay for this cost of failures; and calls on the Government to implement a bank bonus tax to fund a Real Jobs Guarantee for young people and commission a cumulative impact assessment of disability benefit changes before proceeding with further reform.

Version two.

Jobs and Social Security

This House notes that only just over two in every hundred people referred to the Work Programme in its first year have gone into work; further

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Kiran Stacey

Mark Hoban, the employment minister, has just suffered a bit of a torrid press conference with the assorted ranks of the British press after the Department for Work and Pensions admitted its £5bn back-to-work scheme has fallen well short of its own targets.

The government’s figures show the scheme had found sustained employment (six months for most, three months for those most difficult to help) for just 2.3 per cent of people. The department had set a minimum performance level for itself of 5.5 per cent.

Why is it failing? There are many reasons, but here are the main ones:

1) The economy is worse than expected. The original assumptions built into the scheme were that the UK economy would be growing at 2 per cent. Of course, it is not, which means there are fewer jobs around to be had.

2) The targets were too high. As a way of getting the Treasury to cough up the cash needed for the scheme, the department for work and pensions set very aggressive targets for providers. This has been a concern right from the start of the scheme, as the FT’s former public policy editor, wrote last yearRead more