The news today is that unemployment is slightly down but the number claiming benefits is up. There's a good analysis in the Independent. Not even Chris Grayling can see much encouragement in the figures. And, unusually, he doesn't try to cite the Work Programme as the solution. One of the union leaders, Dave Prentis, points out that, "The number of people unemployed for more than two years continues to rise. We know that the longer someone is out of work, the more difficult it is to get back into it."
The BBC this morning (Today on R4) followed 8 people who were put out of work when a shop closed. 5 of them are still unemployed months later, and aware that time is running out for them. What a pity that the crisis around A4e scuppered the BBC's plans to follow a number of clients at A4e's Liverpool office. (See my 8 Feb post.) It was a project which began in November 2011, but presumably had to be killed. The fact is that the Work Programme isn't working.