Work programme farce must end now

UNITE the Union in Northern Ireland has called for the government’s flagship work programme to be dumped after it was revealed to be a costly failure.

The demand comes as the Public Accounts Committee issues its report into the scheme later today which reveals that the multi-billion pound scheme has only a 3.6 per cent success rate when it comes to finding paid employment for jobseekers.

Unite Regional Secretary Jimmy Kelly said: “The devastating findings come just one week after the courts ruled most of the government’s workfare schemes unlawful but with the work and pensions minister, Iain Duncan Smith, determined to salvage the increasingly discredited programme.”

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Mr Kelly repeated calls for the programme to be abandoned: “What will it take for this government to finally accept that their workfare programme simply does not work? The courts have ruled it unlawful and now Iain Duncan Smith has been told in no uncertain terms his scheme is an expensive waste of taxpayers’ money.

“Stop this farce now.

“Even by its own shoddy standards, whereby the most `job ready’ job seekers are forced to participate, the programme can only mange to get fewer than four per cent of workers into paid, sustainable employment. This is a criminal waste of £3.5 billion which is being used to hound people into working for nothing instead of creating decent work.

“Tackling long term unemployment needs a sustained, considered effort. It needs to be part of a plan for good growth, not crackpot schemes that do little more than replace real jobs with free labour for extremely profitable retailers.”


For further information contact Jimmy Kelly on 00353 (87) 900 3217