Ministers say Work Programme is a success

The Northern Echo: Esther McVey, employment minister, has praised the Government's Work Programme Esther McVey, employment minister, has praised the Government's Work Programme

THE Government says its flagship Work Programme is helping to get growing numbers of long-term unemployed into jobs, despite claims that the scheme is failing.

Figures from the Department for Work and Pensions show the number of people finding work under the programme had increased to 208,000 in September, a rise from 55,000 at the end of September last year.

It said about 40,000 had found lasting work, normally at least six months, in the past three months thanks to the scheme, which was launched in June 2011.

Esther McVey, employment minister, said: “It's really encouraging that increasing numbers of people at risk of long-term unemployment are finding lasting jobs thanks to the Work Programme.

“With a record 30 million people now in work, we are determined to do everything we can to support those people who are hardest to help into work.”

However, shadow work and pensions secretary, Rachel Reeves, said the scheme was still failing.

She said: “It is astonishing that people who use the Work Programme are more likely to return to Jobcentre Plus than find work.

“Just one in six have got a long-term job and less than five per cent of those claiming a disability benefit have found work.”

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