There are a couple of conflicting takes on the Work Programme. One is an article in the Telegraph reporting Chris Grayling telling a business audience to use the WP providers as a kind of free recruitment agency. "They’ll get to know you and your business" he says. "They’ll get to know all the potential recruits. And they’ll bring you a small selection to choose from. Doesn’t that sound a better way to do business?” It sounds very reasonable, but is anyone else a little uneasy about the providers deciding who to put forward for a vacancy? A Labour MP, David Lammy, had a go at David Cameron about expecting the WP to be a cure-all when a tiny number of jobs are being chased by so many people. “You have described the work programme as ‘the biggest back to work programme since the 1930s’, but you know that the programme doesn’t create jobs, it merely links people up with vacancies. There are over 6,500 people unemployed in Tottenham and only 150 full time vacancies. What will your work programme do about that?” Cameron's response was to suggest that jobseekers look further afield, which didn't impress Lammy.
Google's revamp of its news feed means it's no longer possible to post links to stories. So here are a few which might interest readers. On 31 October the Telegraph reported "GPs to tell long-term jobless to find work". On 1 November the Express said, "Welfare plan 'may increase poverty'". On the same day the Guardian had a thoughtful piece called "What it's like to be young and looking for work in Britain" which looked at 10 real young people and their stories. Most important, perhaps, is a story from the BBC today. "Ministers 'consider alternatives' to 5.2 per cent benefits rise". Benefits should rise by that figure because it's the inflation figure on which all rises to benefits and pensions are based. But they think they can change the rules.