Work scheme fails to find long-term jobs for Cheltenham unemployed
JUST a fraction of unemployed people signing up to a flagship jobs scheme in Cheltenham have found long-term work.
Figures published by the Department for Work and Pensions show that, of 1,270 people in the town who had started the Work Programme since its launch last year, only 20 had stayed in employment for longer than six months.
Ministers insisted it was early days and the programme was succeeding in getting people off benefits and into work.
When it was launched last year, the Government hailed the scheme – aimed at getting then long-term unemployed back into work – as a "revolution in welfare".
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The rest of the county fared little better.
Data from June 2011 to July 2012, showed in the Cotswolds just 10 people out of 310 found a job for six months or more.
In Tewkesbury that figure stood at 10 out of 510 participants.
Nationally, figures showed only 3.5 per cent of those taking part – 31,000 out of nearly 900,000 – had found sustainable jobs.
Labour leader Ed Miliband said the Work Programme was turning out to be a "miserable failure".
Under the scheme, approved providers including firms and charities try to find work for claimants on a payment-by-results basis. In Gloucestershire, the provider is Rehab & JHP Group Ltd.
Organisations can earn between £3,700 and £13,700 per person, depending how hard it is to help an individual, with an initial payment of between £400 and £600.
Employment Minister Mark Hoban said the programme was showing "promising signs" against a tougher economic backdrop than was expected when the scheme was launched in June last year.
He revealed notices had been sent to a number of organisations involved in the programme, telling them to come up with plans to improve their performance, but refused to name them.
Mr Hoban said the programme is succeeding in getting people off benefits and into work.
"It's still early days, but already thousands of lives are being transformed," he said.
"Clearly these figures only give a snapshot picture as we're one year in."