Flagship back-to-work scheme attacked for failing unemployed

THE GOVERNMENT’S efforts to bring the long-term unemployed back into the workforce was attacked yesterday, as figures showed it found jobs for less than three per cent of participants.

Labour leader Ed Miliband said the Work Programme, which outsources responsibility for finding jobs to a variety of private, public and charitable organisations, was a “miserable failure”.

In the first 12 months of the scheme, 18,270 people held down jobs for six months, or three months in more difficult cases, out of more than 785,000 people referred. This represents an average success rate of 2.3 per cent.

The £5bn scheme, backed by work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith, had hoped to find permanent positions for 5.5 per cent of the people taking part in the pro-gramme.