With no more responses from Jonty Olliff-Cooper, we can turn our attention to the latest employment figures, perhaps with a sense of deja vu. The number of people unemployed fell a bit again. This time there's been no careful analysis on Newsnight or the news; no critical report by Stephanie Flanders. Presumably they didn't want another hysterical rant from Iain Duncan Smith. The item on the BBC news website does report the ONS's verdict that "it's all down to women". The number of men out of work has actually gone up. And it does show the wide variations in unemployment around the country, and that it's actually going up in many areas. Significantly for the Work Programme, it also reports that a record 1.42 million people are working part-time because they can't get full-time jobs.
Channel 4's Factcheck blog takes apart David Cameron's claim that the number of women in employment is up. And Fullfact demolishes his boast that half a million private sector jobs have been created since the election. It's also been shown that a lot of the "jobs" are accounted for by people going self-employed, often unwillingly. And, of course, we don't know who they are, these people who are getting work. They are probably not the long-term unemployed who would provide bumper payments to the WP providers. If they are taking part-time jobs, they won't provide any outcome payments to the providers. And since in many parts of the country, unemployment continues to rise, the outlook for the providers there is even bleaker.
I wonder whether there are negotiations going on to change the contracts. Will all that part-time, casual or zero hours working be redefined as success? I wouldn't be at all surprised.