Do you know? How are all the unemployed people without benefits surviving? How the Work Programme is performing?
September’s employment figures show that the economic upturn, the Work Programme and the Welfare Reform benefit sanctions regime are all having impact as the number of unemployed benefit claimants (966,500) is declining. But there is now a larger and growing number of unemployed people not claiming JSA (978,000 (whose work problems remain intractable and are likely to place different strains on the State and society. The number of people economically inactive due to long term sickness has also risen.
All those non-claimant non-working people must be surviving somehow:
•Perhaps the “black market” has beckoned which presumably passes the issue to HMRC?
•Perhaps they are relying on friends and families, charities and food banks – is the “Big Society” stepping up?
•Or are more falling between the gaps to acute deprivation with the health and social consequences that place more demand on the NHS and other Government agencies?
Hopefully, all those different structures are geared up to take the strain as the issues are dissipated across Government and society. Fingers crossed – or perhaps we need a cross-Department “son of Work Programme”?
Meanwhile, Recent Inclusion analysis of the latest employment figures shows that DWP has achieved more improvements in the employment situation:
•Further reductions in unemployment figures and rate
•Further reduction in unemployed claimants.
•Further reductions in workless young people.
•Further reduction in the number of unemployed people per vacancy.
The ERSA report highlights the achievements of the Work Programme saying that “around 100,000 more people, unemployed for 52 weeks or more, found work between June 2011 and April 2014 than would have found work without the Work Programme. It was therefore responsible for more than ten per cent of all job starts for long-term claimants over that period.”
Notably, the examples used in the report don’t include disabled people. It will be good to see the Government’s report required by Social Value legislation on the social, economic and environmental impact plus lessons learned for those other parts of Government.
Inclusion has also just published their analysis of Work Programme performance which also reports some improvements: “almost 1 in 4 of participants (24.1%) of participants secure a sustained job outcome within two years.” So the majority don’t!
They also explain: “Performance for ESA (and disabled people in general) remains low. DWP have now separated out the ‘New ESA Claimants group’ into two parts – one for those who were originally expected to go on the programme, and a second one for the expanded group with a 12-month expectation before they would be fit for work, although no extra payments are available for outcomes from this latter group.” So little incentive to reduce cherry-picking.
Bouquet of the week.
Martin the painter has struggled with ill-health for over three months when he couldn’t work and his usual intensive exercise regime fell apart (he does completely mad night time off-road cycling and more). Now he’s easing back in to the saddle and new jobs with the help of an assistant and avoiding the ladder work. Like any man, he downplays the struggle and worry but it’s clear that family support, determination and cheerfulness have got him back on track.
Disability Dynamics ltd www.disabilitydynamics.co.uk
Helping disabled people to work since 2000