Friday, 10 June 2011

Work Programme starts

Loads of publicity today for the start of the Work Programme, most of it ill-informed. The BBC's Today programme on Radio 4 made a complete mess of it, with a dreadful interview of Chris Grayling by John Humphrys and then a brief discussion between a chap from the Work Foundation and one from CDG.
The print media are scarcely any better. As you'd expect, the Express leads with "A crackdown on benefits scroungers will be launched by ministers today" and continues in the same ignorant, not to say demented, vein. The Mail is actually rather better, but it loves the idea of "recruiting former Army officers to help instill discipline into young jobseekers".
The Telegraph takes a different line. Its writer, Louisa Peacock, asks how the scheme can succeed when it "is being delivered by the same old providers". She points out that PriceWaterhouseCoopers pulled out because it didn't think the scheme was financially viable. "If the same old providers haven't found a solution to this by now, what on earth can be different in this 'step change' of delivery?"
The BBC news website quotes A4e's Andrew Dutton, who "said it would look at removing the barriers that had been keeping people out of work. 'They [sic] may be debt issues or housing issues or problems within the family, legal issues around housing, but often very much around supporting them to really gain confidence,' he told the BBC."
The Guardian is thorough and balanced. Its writer, Patrick Wintour, cites the concerns of the Work Foundation "that in areas of Britain with the highest unemployment and fewest job vacancies, contractors will struggle".
Chris Grayling had an easy time on The Daily Politics. But when asked about the concerns that providers would focus their efforts on those areas of the country with the best job prospects, he said that there had been intense bidding and competition for all areas from the providers, so he was confident that wouldn't happen. The interview ended with a question about why the private sector was going to be better at this than the public sector. The answer was purely ideological.


  1. Lead Me To It!

    These days I have made an effort to get out and about rather than sit in front of the computer.

    I just had a quick look at The Work Foundations website and see under Events

    Meet the Cabinet: Iain Duncan Smith, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

    Thursday, 30 June 2011 08:00 - 09:30

    Central London

    Now that should be fun! Anyone else going?

  2. thanks to these prime contracters people are losing jobs in the third sector. This government have just privatised the welfare system.


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