Newham Mayor attacks Work Programme for employment

New employment scheme the Work Programme is “fatally flawed” and “destined to fail”, according to Newham mayor Sir Robin Wales, as he made a speech at a major welfare-to-work conference.

The programme plans to replace existing support for the long-term unemployed receiving Jobseeker’s Allowance by paying a network of voluntary and private organisations to help them back into work.

But Sir Robin criticised the new initiative, saying that it is under-funded, too complex and overly-centralised and it will fail because the government is trying to solve a local issue nationally.

Speaking at the CESI National Welfare to Work Convention in Manchester, an annual event for around 1,000 work providers and government experts, Sir Robin said: “Despite having years of experience and expertise in welfare-to-work and all the will in the world to get involved, we were unable to – the offer just doesn’t work. The money makes no sense. Unfortunately we had to walk away.”

He said: “Local communities and local authorities should be at the heart of the fight to tackle worklessness, not marginalised on the side lines.”

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Since October, unemployment in Newham has risen by almost nine per cent, while national unemployment figures fell.

Employment minister Chris Grayling said: “We will do our bit and get people ready for work and in exchange we will expect people to take up the work that is available. We are sending out a clear message: If you can work, and we can help you find a job, you must work.”

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