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Today (Tuesday 21 May 2013) the Work and Pensions Committee launched their report, ‘Can the Work Programme work for all user groups?’ The Work Programme was launched in June 2011 by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) with the aim of helping long-term jobseekers off unemployment benefits and back into sustained employment.
This new report suggests that whilst the Work Programme can help the most ‘employable’ jobseekers, harder to help jobseekers are being left with little support.
Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind, said:
"This report from the Work and Pensions Committee confirms our concerns, that the most ‘employable’ are being ‘cherrypicked’, whilst those who require the most assistance and face serious barriers to finding work, such as people with mental health problems, are often left with no support through the Work Programme.
We know that the majority of people claiming benefits want to get back to work, but many need extra support to get back into the job market, especially those with fluctuating conditions such as mental health problems. Unfortunately, the opposite is happening and those who need most support are being ‘parked’. Our local Minds can help support people with mental health problems back into the workplace. We welcome the Committee’s recommendation that the DWP review the Work Programme and specifically the sanctions being placed on jobseekers."
Today The Times published a letter to editor on this topic. Mind’s chief executive Paul Farmer is one of the signatories along with CEOs from Crisis and Drugscope.