Welfare reform 'must succeed'
A Labour MP has highlighted the need for the government's flagship welfare-to-work scheme to prove successful.
The Work Programme must succeed as "there is too much unemployment for it too fail", Stephen Timms told a fringe meeting at the annual Labour party conference in Liverpool.
Speaking at an event hosted by the Social Market Foundation and the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP), the MP for East Ham argued that, whilst the foundations of the Work Programme were correct, there were a number of problems with the scheme.
"The problem with the Work Programme is not the principles”, Timms said. "There are two clear concerns- the instability of the labour market and the way that the core principles have been implemented."
He continued: "The assumptions that the Work Programme have been built on are absurdly optimistic."
Also speaking at the fringe, entitled ‘The Work Programme underway', was Graham Hoyle, the AELP's chief executive.
Hoyle emphasised the need to ensure that welfare-to-work initiatives provided sustainable employment, as opposed to short term solutions to worklessness.
"A core objective of the Work Programme must be to get people into sustainable employment", Hoyle argued. "That is what we must aim for."
"To me the Work Programme must provide long-term, sustained employment opportunities."
Hoyle also called for common policy to be implemented across a variety of key government departments, including the education and work and pensions departments and BIS.
The launch of the Work Programme was announced in October 2010, following the comprehensive spending review. The scheme replaces all existing welfare-to-work programmes and creates a single initiative aimed at tackling the perceived cycle of benefit dependency.
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