The Government’s controversial Work Programme is almost completely useless at helping long-term sickness benefit claimants into work, official figures suggest.
Official data from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), released in response to a Freedom of Information Request (FOI), show that Iain Duncan Smith’s flagship back-to-work programme is dramatically failing long-term sick and disabled people.
DWP figures show that of the 107,150 people referred to the Work Programme from the Work Related Activity Group (WRAG) of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) between June 2011 to September 2014, with a future employment (or health improvement) prognosis of 12 months or more, only 5,120 achieved a job outcome lasting at least 6 months – equal to just 4.7%.
The WRAG is for ESA claimants who Jobcentre Plus believe may be capable of moving off benefits and into work in the future, with the right support.
Chances of finding work through the scheme is almost as bad for ESA claimants with a back-to-work prognosis of 3-6 months. DWP figures show that of the 112,700 referred to the programme, only 12,850 found a job (11.4%).
The FOI also reveals how the Work Programme is next to useless for Ex Incapacity Benefit (IB) claimants who have been moved to ESA as part of its abolition. Of the 28,980 EX-IB claimants placed within the ESA WRAG group between June 2011 and September 2014 with a prognosis of 12 months or more, only 520 (1.8%) found work lasting a minimum of 6 months.