A report from the Public Accounts Committee has outlined problems with the Work Programme, particularly for people with mental health problems.
People who are in the Work Related Activity Group (WRAG) of the disability benefit Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) may be placed on work preparation schemes, such as the Work Programme. People are assigned to the WRAG if they have been deemed to be able to move towards work with support.
Tom Pollard, Policy and Campaigns Manager at Mind, said:
“This report echoes our own research which has found that the current benefits system, and particularly the Work Programme, just doesn’t work for people with mental health problems. The scheme has only helped around 5 per cent of people with mental health problems into work. Worse still, the pressure people are being put on people to engage in activities that are often unhelpful or even inappropriate is causing many people to become more unwell, making a return to work less likely."
“What is desperately needed is an overhaul of the system to one which better recognises the needs of individuals and provides tailored and specialist support which addresses the challenges they face in getting back into work.”