There was an interesting item on the BBC news today about the Work Programme. Mark Easton went to Liverpool, to A4e's office there, after meeting Cheryl, a 21-year-old who has been out of work for a year and is willing to do anything. He follows her as she goes to A4e for the first time. And then we learn that only one in seven of their clients there have found work after seven months. That's just over 14%. And it must be around the "dead weight" figure, of those who would have found work anyway. We meet Dave, middle-aged, long-term unemployed and very worried. It's a buyer's market out there, with only the prospect of shift work at the Jacobs biscuit factory if he's lucky. A4e's Steve Wright, looking nervous, says that it's a competitive market, and he can't control the labour market. Back to Cheryl, who is doing the rounds with her CV. But employers say they get hundreds of them. Finally, A4e admits that they can't create jobs. (What about those "hidden jobs" Emma Harrison is always on about?)
This wasn't a hatchet job on A4e. But it's good to see the BBC looking carefully at the Work Programme and sympathetically at the unemployed.