The Work Programme: delivering for Wales?


It was, we were told a year ago "delivering for Wales". Former Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillan hailed the Work Programme as "vital for Wales".

Mrs Gillan said then: "It is about time we help Wales to tackle the blight of long term unemployment that has dogged parts of Wales for generations and this is something that this coalition government is committed to. "

The Work Programme, which pays private and voluntary sector organisations if they find people work, was so important, the Welsh Grand Committee held a special meeting in Wrexham to discuss it.

One year on, today's official figures say the Work Programme has missed its targets. Across Great Britain, only 3.53 per cent of people who went on it got work for six months or more.

In Wales, the situation is even worse. The Department for Work and Pensions says 1,380 people got jobs, leaving 41,000 of the 42,380 people on the programme without long-term work. I make that a success rate of 3.25 per cent.

DWP Minister Mark Hoban looked on the bright side:"The Work Programme is succeeding in getting people off benefits and into work. It's still early days but already thousands of lives are being transformed.

"One in four people have been in work, more than half of the early starters have been off benefit and performance is improving.

"Previous schemes paid out too much up front regardless of success, but by only paying providers for delivering results, the Work Programme is actually offering the taxpayer real value for money."

And the Wales Office? Do ministers there still believe it is delivering for Wales? Before his promotion, David Jones saw the programme in operation in Shotton. He found it was making "a real impact on employment for thousands of people across Wales."

I'll give you the Wales Office response to today's official figures when I get it. In the meantime, MPs on the select committee on Welsh affairs are now launching their own inquiry into the programme.

UPDATE: Wales Office Minister Stephen Crabb said: "Today's statistics show that over the first year, and despite a very tough economic backdrop, the Work Programme is still making progress.

"It is important not to judge it too early as the greatest gains will be seen over the long term. Today's figures are merely a snapshot of progress for a scheme that supports people for two years or more."

UPDATE TWO: An email arrives from Labour's shadow Welsh Secretary Owen Smith, who focuses on youth unemployment.

He said: "Today's figures show that the government's Work Programme has failed young people, especially when compared with the success of Labour's youth unemployment scheme in Wales.

"There are two comparisons that the government need to make when looking again at this scheme.

"The first is against what would've happened had they done nothing at all and the second is to look at the Welsh government's Jobs Growth Wales, which was modelled on Labour's Future Jobs Fund, and which is currently putting into work 7½ times as many young people in Wales as the Work Programme is.

"The UK government should look to this Welsh example as a way of driving down youth unemployment and, as Welsh Secretary, David Jones should be banging the drum for Jobs Growth Wales around the Cabinet table."

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  • rate this

    Comment number 15.


    Did they vote YES OR NO simple question to devolution?

  • rate this

    Comment number 14.

    Since neither county was ever part of the historic area ruled (very briefly) by a Welsh prince, I can't see why the question was asked. You might as well have asked the inhabitants of Leicestershire oe - that other English county - Monmouthshire.

  • rate this

    Comment number 13.

    28th November 2012 - 21:54
    Did Pembroke and Glamorgan vote for devolution YES or NO and is that democracy.
    You have failed to ask this question and I've put it on a number of posts?

  • rate this

    Comment number 12.

    You said English police as a smear. In 1984 I was living in Caerphilly between two policemen- both Wales born&bred; both nice guys; both of whom made lots & lots of money from overtime.
    And a few miles from Senghenydd, I wasn't about to forget the true price of coal.

    #10 'The Tory party you voted for' Do ever read anyone's posts before dashing off your 'thoughts'. How did it go at Eton ?

  • rate this

    Comment number 11.


    Read your history about the strike and then you'll understand why I said English police. Unlike you I remember as a schoolboy seeing the effect it had on my community. Cofiwch 1984

  • rate this

    Comment number 10.

    8:Boxer ze Hoarse: Welsh police, English it's immaterial. They were doing Maggie's dirty work whilst Miners were fighting for their existence & family and community. This is the Tory party you voted for, and these are the hard working people you would happily would step on. My Toilet example before it was censored was indeed apt. Flush... whoa there he goes.

  • Comment number 9.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 8.

    #5 ' Many an Englsih policeman paid off his mortgage in 1984'
    The funny thing is that you and I would probably agree about the malign plans of a certain woman.
    But this is just too selective. Did all the Welsh cops on overtime and bonuses wear white helmets so that you could pick them out and cheer on Tele, whilst booing all the English cops in black helmets ??

  • rate this

    Comment number 7.

    The Tories allowed all our important utilities, national industries to be sold off without offering a referendum to the public. Odd really as recently they demand a referendum on almost everything but Wales would have industries if it was not for them. Take Tata Steel (British Steel). I predicted a few years back that soon they would take that industry out of Wales and now that's happening.

  • rate this

    Comment number 6.

    Might as well put all the box-ticking parasites who run these so-called schemes on the dole as well.

    50 years ago there were plenty of signs that 'automation' would create a growing pool of unemployable people. Did they plan for it? No!

    So welcome to the future...

    Uncontrolled immigration just made a predictably bad UK situation worse. We need to reclaim our own borders before it's too late.

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.


    Plenty of coal left in Wales just can't compete with cheap labour elsewhere. It started in Poland where they were sending coal to a Welsh pit to be washed whilst thousands of tons of coal lay a few metres underground. Oh and there was a certain woman who wanted to destroy the unions regardless of the cost. Many an Englsih policeman paid off his mortgage in 1984

  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    Why are there two schemes? Surely they overlap and therefore compete? No wonder the Westminster scheme is so bad! Somebody needs to swallow his hubris and compromise. This is too important to let a turf war get in the way.

  • rate this

    Comment number 3.

    Before we start on the "Its the Tories/Labour/Monster Raving Loony Parties fault," nonsense, lets first admit the simple problem is that there is not enough private sector work being generated in the UK.

    All this (extremely expensive) "back to work/job creation" stuff is a complete waste of time and money

    They create nothing, and only build false hope among the unemployed.

    Sad but true.

  • rate this

    Comment number 2.

    It wan't the Tories, it was economics and geology. All the fat coal seams in Wales had been worked for 200 years. You then can't compete with Australianns mining 20ft seams , or with Chinese miners getting $5 a day.
    To get a job these days requires education and training. Sadly, too many in the UK are NEETs (not just a Welsh problem, but one of old industrial areas e.g. Belgium).

  • rate this

    Comment number 1.

    It was the Tories who sold off or run down our Industries, encouraged big business to go overseas to produce items cheaper making more money for fat cat friends, ended Apprenticeships who then bemoan the unemployment figures resorting to using an American borrowed now failing labour scheme verging on human trafficking as a political quick fix to repair the damage done without true job creation.



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