This latest claim has Iain Duncan Smith’s name written all over it…..
It follows in the wake of Monday’s Parliamentary Pantomime which saw Smith, flanked by fellow spin masters & mistress, Mike Harper, Steve Webb, and Esther McVey taking it in turns to head off fierce opposition over the chronic state of chaos which continues to bog down the DWP, making IDS’s promises to turn around the welfare state even more unbelievable.
This latest and perhaps most absurd announcement to date also comes after yet another Parliamentary probe in to employment support and access to work schemes for disabled people which was held on Wednesday. The inquiry is in its early stages but has already revealed that the access to work scheme is one which is being ‘hidden’ from those who need the most help. One witness described access to work as being ‘90% bad’ with rude and intimidatory letters as well as abrupt staff handling disabled people’s pleas for help with people not being phoned back after frustrated efforts being made to get support.
She went on to say the ‘whole culture of the scheme was against supporting disabled people’. The video footage of the evidence session is one which I’d encourage you to watch – it very effectively highlights the difficulties which disabled people are facing, it brings shame on the government for incessantly drawing so many parallels with top class paralympians as the measure of what can be achieved.
On Monday, Smith left all the technical stuff to fellow statistical partners in crime with McVey up and down as though she was tightly suspended on elasticated string spouting continual reminders that ’employment was up, up, up, up’. Webb told us all of his wondrous pension reforms and Harper proudly announced how the number of Employment & Support Allowance claimants awaiting assessment had reduced by 75,000 to a still very chaotic 637,000.
Smith put the icing on the cake with his insistence that his beloved but much beleaguered Universal Credit was still going to happen with a less than convincing assurance that his much slated scheme was a step nearer towards getting business case approval – “The final stage in Treasury approvals is sign-off of the full business case, which covers the full lifetime of the programme.”
He added: “I genuinely believe, from my discussions, that it will be signed off very shortly.”
Very few people looked or sounded convinced. Even David Cameron could be seen looking skywards as IDS mentioned claimants being left in limbo.
This latest booming success story emanates from a report commissioned by the Employment Related Services Association who promote the following ‘good’ news….
“The figure of £18bn refers to the value to the economy provided over the lifetime of the workers on the programme who would not have otherwise found work. Of the £18bn total:
• £7bn will be delivered to workers
• £7bn will be delivered to the government
• £4bn will be delivered to employers
Around 300,000 workers have found lasting work while on the Work Programme. Europe Economics estimates that around 100,000 jobs for the long term unemployed would not have taken place without the programme.”
You can read the ERSA’s press release here
Work Programme providers have echoed the apparent success of the Work Programme with various releases repeating the £18 billion pound boost to the economy.
The glitzy promotion
One time TV presenter, Esther McVey may be the smiling face of the DWP, but no – one be fooled, she’s been well and truly conditioned in to promoting IDS’s failing welfare reforms at every opportunity….
She’s ‘proud to work’ and even seems convinced the Work Programme is….working:
“The Work Programme is helping more people than any previous employment programme and we are committed to keep driving up performance to get the best deal for jobseekers and taxpayers.
“It is transforming how we help claimants who have been unemployed for a long time whereas before many would have been written off to a life on benefits. As part of the Government’s long term economic plan, it has helped people to turn their lives around and build a career – from catering to construction and care work to hairdressing – contributing to the biggest annual fall in long term unemployment since 1998.”
There’s a few token video’s of people supporting the DWP in their efforts to get people back to work….
Well Brian, you’ve really sold it to me, not quite sure whether you ended up with a job or not but there you are ….
Guto thinks everyone who damned the Work Programme now owes the government an apology due to it finding this new found ‘success’ status….
I’m not so sure the National Audit Office would agree after their scathing report which led to the BBC reporting that 26% would be helped by the Work Programme rather than government’s estimate of 40%
I’m also a little perplexed as to why Matthew Sinclair didn’t appear to tweet the good news in his own name; especially given that he was one of the authors of the report which led to this apparently wonderful news for the economy (if you’re around for 50 years to see the results come in).
All that glistens is not gold
Amidst all the good news is reality.
A million miles from where the right wing want you to be, but none the less it’s the place where the facts are to be found. Reality is to be found deep within the DWP’s overly complex set of Work Programme statistics.
For all of Iain Duncan Smith’s talk, here’s the deplorable reality of the Work Programme when it comes to actual Job Outcome results:
In the New ESA claimant group, out of 484,900 in the ‘Work Related Activity Group’, just 10,760 ended up with a Job Outcome (2.2%)
In the Incapacity Benefit to ESA conversion group, out of 469,200 in the ‘Work Related Activity Group’ just 980 ended up with a job outcome (0.2%) – this is the group which IDS claims to be tackling the most effectively!
In the Incapacity Benefit to ESA conversion group, out of 249,300 found ‘fit for work’ just 3,160 (1.4%) ended up with a job outcome. Whilst this appalling result is shocking in itself, it should be remembered that the DWP’s figures only point to people on JSA who have been on incapacity benefits. This may therefore relate to someone who has ended their older incapacity claim and taken up a JSA claim voluntarily without being tested for ESA.
In the overall ‘voluntary participation group’ where there is no mandatory requirement to take part (until you’ve signed up) out of 957,500 claimants placed in the Support Group (from both new ESA and incapacity to ESA claim groups) 3,350 claimants (0.4%) ended up with a job via the Work Programme. This group does better than the mandatory groups in incapacity to ESA conversion cases.
programme a success?