Department of Work and Pensions figures have shown that only one in 10 people who started the work programme in June 2011 gained sustained employment within a year. The figure came to light after George asked the Cabinet Secretary for Finance, John Swinney, what impact the DWP’s work programme was having on unemployment in Scotland.
Commenting, George said, “This figure shows how bad things have gotten since the Tories came to power. Their flagship policy, the work programme, is failing the people of Scotland. I have had many constituents come into the office frustrated with the lack of job opportunities the work programme affords them. After a period of being on Job Seekers Allowance, claimants are transferred onto the work programme, which is designed to help get people back into work mode and increase their chances of gaining employment.
‘However the programme has been tainted numerous times with many partner companies pulling away from the programme. On top of this, these figures show the programme simply isn’t working for 90% of users. However, positive signs have came in the form of the recent labour market statistic which show that unemployment in Scotland fell by 14,000 over the quarter and that the youth unemployment rate has had the largest annual drop since 2006—it is now at its lowest since March to May 2011.
‘The Scottish Governments’ policies are having an effect on the employment rate in Scotland which is very positive. John Swinney has also announced the Scottish employability forum will meet on 31st January to discuss ways which we can boost employment in Scotland. This forum will include the Secretary of State for Scotland, COSLA spokesperson on the issue and John Swinney. I truly hope that this meeting can alert the Secretary of State to the problems his government are causing in Scotland and that a new approach can be found.”