MP slams back-to-work scheme

A UK government work programme has been branded a failure by local MP Russell Brown after new official figures show it is failing nine out 10 people in Dumfries and Galloway.

The Department of Work and Pensions released the latest analysis of its flagship back-to-work scheme recently, showing that between June 2011 and March 2013 2,440 people in Dumfries and Galloway had been referred onto the Work Programme, but only 200 had secured a job outcome.

Russell Brown said is calling for a compulsory jobs guarantee to get every long term unemployed adult straight into a job.

The MP said: “Our region is facing a real jobs crisis but the government’s work programme is failing nine out of 10 local people. With 2,440 people in Dumfries and Galloway having been referred onto the work programme, only 200 have had a job outcome, and that is a major failure.

“This is the government’s flagship scheme for getting people into jobs, but it has missed every single one of its minimum targets. No wonder the benefits bill is so high.

“Local unemployment rate remains stubbornly high, with youth unemployment in particular much higher than both the UK and Scottish averages and long term unemployment in our region has more than doubled since the current government came into power.

“These figures must be a wakeup call to the government that the work programme is failing. We desperately need a back-to-work programme that is fit for purpose. That’s why Labour is calling for a compulsory jobs guarantee that will get every long term unemployed adult straight into a job.”