[un-allotted half day] — Unemployment

Part of Opposition Day – in the House of Commons at 3:04 pm on 14th December 2011.

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Photo of Chris Grayling Chris Grayling The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions 3:04 pm, 14th December 2011

I make the same point to the hon. Lady that I made to the shadow Minister: I wish they would stop producing figures that are not statistically valid. The previous Government had something called the training allowance. Somebody who had been out of work for 12 months and entered the new deal programmes went for a short time on to a training allowance. That meant that their JSA claim was moved back to day one. As a result, the previous Government claimed to have abolished youth unemployment. We have stopped doing that—we do not hide the unemployed. We accept the scale of the problem and try to tackle it properly. The civil service statisticians in the Department for Work and Pensions carried out a like-for-like comparison, which shows that there is virtually no difference in youth unemployment for more than six months between today and two years ago. Opposition figures are therefore simply not accurate.

The third element of the support is through the Work programme, which began at the start of July. It has been going for five months and is the most ambitious welfare-to-work programme that the country has seen. The first signs from providers are encouraging. We will not have official statistics till next year, but there are many examples of people who have been out of work for a long time getting into work. It is a payment-by-results scheme, so providers have every incentive to use the right approach to working with people in a personalised way to deliver the right support to them individually and to match them to the right job; otherwise they will not stay there. Given that the full payment is not made until a conventional jobseeker has been in work for 18 months, there is a real incentive to ensure that it is about not just placing someone in a short-term job but building a long-term career for them.