That's the headline to an article in the Guardian yesterday. It will no doubt surprise most of you to know that if you're on the Work Programme you're counted as one of the half a million new jobs which the government brags about. 105,000 people, 20% of that total, are on what the report calls back-to-work schemes (the Work Programme and MWA) but are classed as in work. The article is muddled on its figures in places, but it's clear on that 105,000. The vast majority are on benefits but the government counts them as new jobs.
Apparently it's not really the government's fault. The (ILO) International Labour Organisation insists that our Office of National Statistics "counts people as employed if they are adding to the nation's economic output, regardless of whether or not they are paid." Mark Hoban wants the ONS to change this, but says that it makes little difference. The equivalent of, "Whatever".
Now here's an interesting point that lawyers might want to get their teeth into. People on these schemes are "adding to the nation's economic output" - the ONS has accepted that, and it's what Hoban doesn't like. So shouldn't they get at least minimum wage?
The next time that the government puts out any figures on unemployment or jobs, they are probably not telling the truth.