New Work Programme statistics released today reveal referrals to the Government’s flagship back to work scheme have collapsed, yet the number out of work for over a year continues to rise. · New figures reveal total gridlock in flagship work programme as referrals to the programme halved, despite a rise in long term unemployment. · Chaos revealed at DWP as Job Centre Staff appear to lose all confidence in the scheme. · Bungling Ministers scrambled to airbrush bad news removing references to the ‘record low’ in referrals after accidentally publishing the information. Liam Byrne MP, Labour’s Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, said: “The Government’s flagship back to work scheme is now in total gridlock – just when we need it most. “We were promised the biggest back to work programme ever, yet referrals have plunged to their lowest point since the scheme began. “Long-term unemployment is through the roof, but referrals are falling because Job Centre Staff seem to be losing faith in a scheme this Government is making a mess of.” “Instead of trying to unjam the gridlock, bungling Ministers are simply pretending they don’t exist. They can airbrush a press release but they can’t hide the truth – the Government’s back to work schemes are descending into a chaotic mess.” Ends Editor’s notes: 1. Background: · New figures reveal gridlock in flagship Work Programme The total monthly referrals fell to just half that of a year ago. - Jul 2011 99,250 - Jul 2012 48,620 This fall comes in spite of a 188,000 rise in the number of long term JSA claimants between July 2011 and July 2012. · Bungling ministers scrambled to airbrush bad news. Over the course of a chaotic morning at DWP, the department airbrushed its own press release, removing the damaging truth that: The total monthly referrals to the JSA early entrant group fell to its lowest level in July 2012, since the start of the scheme, to stand at 8.4 thousand (see attached screengrab). The change came as DWP scrambled to hide an embarrassing error in their release as it appeared the department could not provide an answer as to why the ESA referral rates fell so far short of their targets. Instead the release contained the track change statement “This is because – DQ Laurence has suggested Matt may provide a response.” 2. Further statistics · JSA referrals for 25+ have fallen from an average of 26,000 in Jan-Mar to an average of 19,000 in the past three months. Lower than projected by the DWP’s May 2012 forecasts (22,000), and much lower than the December 2012 forecasts. · ESA referrals have fallen since January but recovered in the most recent month (July). Nevertheless, average referrals over the last three months of 5,600 are less than half the projection made in December of a monthly average of nearly 13,000 referrals. Note:Forecasts for May do not seem to be available. ‘ESA’ here aggregates ESA volunteers, new ESA claimants and ex-IB ESA claimants. · Screengrab attached. The link to the statistics that was published up earlier this morning. The version included a tracked comment in red font which reads: “This is because – DQ Laurence has suggested Matt may provide a response”. The entry was subsequently altered not only to remove the comment disappeared from the new version which appears here:http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd1/work_programme/wp_release_nov12.pdf on page 5, but also removing a further sentence, which read: “The total monthly referrals to the JSA early entrant group fell to its lowest level in July 2012, since the start of the scheme, to stand at 8.4 thousand.” · The JSA early entrant group refers to customers facing significant disadvantage (eg young people with significant barriers to entering the jobs market, NEETs, ex-offenders).
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