The government’s flagship plan to tackle long-term unemployment has failed to find work for 93% of those enrolled. The £ 2.9bn restart program, launched by Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak last year, is expected to provide up to 12 months of support for the long-term unemployed to help them get back on track. at work.
But figures released in response to a written parliamentary question from shadow Labor Minister Alison McGovern show that only 16,180 of the 226,785 people who started the program had left it later for reasons such as starting a job or leave the intensive work of universal credit. – search mode.
“This is completely doomed,” McGovern said. “We’re supposed to be in a vacancy crisis and these people are trying to get back to work.”
The restart scheme is mandatory for job seekers referred to by work center work coaches, and is delivered by private contractors such as Serco, G4S and Maximus, who are paid primarily based on the results. .
“Unfortunately, despite spending more than 2.5 billion pounds on reboot, the incompetent government [Department for Work and Pensions] “It’s better to exploit fake schemes in G4S and Serco than to find a job,” he said. in Greater Manchester. “
In these two regions, 1,370 of the 29,720 participants in the program later dropped out, almost 5%.
Restart is also struggling to find enough participants to meet the expected number of cases: the approximately 225,000 people who had started the plan in late April are 40% below the 375,000 expected to have joined at the time. Restart eligibility criteria have been expanded to allow more people to be referred to the plan.
Tony Wilson, director of the Institute for Employment Studies, said the plan did not receive references because long-term unemployment was much lower than expected during the pandemic’s peak, while “inactivity” “caused by people leaving the augmented labor market.
“The government has pledged significant funds to deal with an unemployment crisis that has not materialized. We have not had mass unemployment. And instead, we are facing a crisis of participation. So the crisis we have prepared for is not the one we have, ”he said. “Employment is still half a million below pre-pandemic levels. Economic inactivity is 400,000 more than before the pandemic began.”
DWP’s Kickstart youth unemployment plan fell 90,000 below its 250,000 job creation target when it closed earlier this year. The Treasury recovered the money that had been spent insufficiently, and it is likely that any insufficient investment in the restart will be the same. Wilson said investment should be made to address economic inactivity.
“We now have the highest rate of economic inactivity, unemployment, due to the long-term illness we have had in 20 years. This is long Covid, these are NHS waiting lists, this is where mental health issues get worse during the pandemic. We are not doing anything to address any of these factors that have caused the fall in the labor force that is driving economic inactivity, which is causing labor shortages. Instead, the money just goes back to the Treasury because unemployment is so low. “
A spokesman for DWP said: “Thanks to our balanced approach to managing the economy, unemployment is at its lowest level since 1974 at 3.7%. Less than a year after its launch, The Restart Plan already supports a quarter of a million long-term unemployed, with more to follow. to the taxpayer “.