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Time to dump the Work Programme

I SHARE the concerns expressed in your editorial ("Jobless scheme needs more work", The Herald, February 13) that the UK Government may still fail to see sense despite the latest blow to its back-to-work schemes.

It seems to be blind to the concerns about the many failings of the Work Programme. When found to be breaking the law, Ministers seem eager to challenge the courts and redraft the rules rather than accept the verdict and reimburse those who have been exploited.

What seems especially perverse is that Poundland and other companies get free, if disgruntled, labour which must be a disincentive to creating real jobs. We have a flagship programme supposedly helping unemployed people which only has a 3.5% success rate, makes millions for private companies and actually reduces the number of jobs in the economy.

It is time to consign the Work Programme to history and find better ways to tackle unemployment. There are many better ways of supporting unemployed people to find work, including Community Jobs Scotland, which has a success rate in excess of 12 times that of the Work Programme.

Why has there not been a meaningful challenge to the dire performance of the Department of Work and Pensions Work Programme and investment redirected to more successful models? The UK Government needs to start thinking about how it can emulate and expand approaches that actually work and abandon this failed experiment in profit-led public services.

Sadly, I strongly suspect that it will not, opting to continue failing unemployed people instead.

Martin Sime,

Chief executive, Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh.

Contextual targeting label: 
Careers and Jobs

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