The government’s welfare-to-work scheme has been branded ‘extremely poor’ by MPs, who said the best performing provider only moved 5% of people off benefit and into work.
In total just 3.6% of people on the scheme came off benefits and moved into secure employment in its first 14 months, the Public Accounts Committee has said in its report into the scheme.
“It is shocking that, of the 9,500 former incapacity benefit claimants referred to providers, only 20 people have been placed in a job that has lasted three months, while the poorest-performing provider did not manage to place a single person in the under-25 category into a job lasting six months,” chair of the committee, the Rt Hon Margaret Hodge MP, said.
“In fact, performance was so poor that it was actually worse than the department’s own expectations of the number of people who would have found work if the programme didn’t exist,” she added.
The Work Programme was introduced in June 2011 and was supposed to help long-term unemployed people get off benefits and move into sustained employment. The estimated cost of the scheme is between £3 billion and £5 billion over five years.
The report added that, given the poor performance across providers, “there is a high risk that one or more will fail—either they will go out of business or the department will cancel their contracts”.