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Eilidh Whiteford, MP for Banff & Buchan

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Work Program Failing the Long-Term Unemployed

Tuesday, 27 November 2012


BOOSTING ECONOMIC GROWTH ONLY SOLUTION TO UNEMPLOYMENT

Boosting economic growth is the only real solution to solving long-term unemployment, the SNP has said, after it was revealed that the UK Government’s flagship Work Programme was failing to improve the job prospects of the long-term unemployed.

Figures published today show that just 3.53% of people had found a job for six months or more – well below the 5.5% target.

Ingeus and Working Links were given the contracts for the Work Programme despite having no record of job creation in Scotland, while Scottish social enterprises with a proven record - such as the Wise Group, which got 5,300 people into work in 2010 – were shut out of the process.

Commenting on today’s figures, SNP Work and Pensions spokesperson Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP said:

“It's clear already that many of the people who have been moved on to the Work Programme from Incapacity Benefit or Employment and Support Allowance are simply not well enough to do the kind of work that is available.

“People with long term health conditions, disabled people, and those in areas of high unemployment face huge hurdles accessing the labour market.

“The Work Capability Assessment is not fit for purpose and is causing distress to people who are manifestly in need of support but have been told they are fit for work.

“The only real solution to long-term unemployment is to create jobs and boost long-term economic growth – something which today’s OECD report shows that George Osborne has categorically failed to do.

“Instead of blaming people who can't find work for their own poverty, the Government should be investing in jobs and 'shovel ready projects' to kick start the economy, and investing in skills; that's the best way to help people furthest from the labour market.

“This report is yet another nail in the coffin for the Tory Government – and yet another example of how it would be far better if Scotland took its own decisions about how to get people back into work."

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