Unemployment is at its highest level in 17 years and rising, there are more young people out of work than ever and there are more than twice as many young people long-term unemployed than there were a year ago. By any objective measure it is clear that the Government’s Work Programme has not got to grips with Britain’s jobs crisis.
Liam Byrne MP, Labour’s Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, said:
“There are now fewer people coming off benefits and into work than at any time since 1996 and it could not be clearer that the government's beleaguered Work Programme is simply not doing the business.
“Ministers' welfare to work schemes are not up to the job, and this government’s failure is creating a jobless generation.
“Chris Grayling must tell us what urgent steps he is taking to finally get to grips with his government’s jobs crisis.”
At the Select Committee tomorrow, there are ten questions Chris Grayling must answer:
The proportion of people flowing off benefits and into work is at its lowest level since 1996, what is going wrong?
Why is there still no alternative in place to Labour’s successful Future Jobs Fund, which his government chose to axe nearly two years ago?
The DWP have placed all A4e contracts under review, what contingency plans does he have in place if a major provider such as A4e were to leave the Work Programme?
When can we expect a report from the government’s review into A4e?
Government Minister Nick Harvey wrote to his department on February 7 warning that the Work Programme’s funding model is in serious trouble. Has his department taken any steps to address these concerns?
In the interests of transparency will DWP publish their response to Nick Harvey’s letter?
Why, after stating on the 23rd January 2012 that he would give providers guidance in order for them to publish their own performance data, has that guidance still not been issued?
What will the Government do to help voluntary sector providers who are hit hard by the far lower than predicted volumes of Employment and Support Allowance claimants flowing onto the programme?
Will the Government collect comprehensive user satisfaction data throughout the Work Programme in line with the clear requirements in the Open Public Services White Paper?
Does the Government believe that the transition period from May to August 2011, where the Flexible New Deal was wound down early at a cost of over £60m to the taxpayer before the Work Programme was up and running, represents good value for money?