Press release

Work Programme contributes to record employment

The Work Programme has contributed to bringing the number of long-term unemployed people down to the lowest it has been for 5 years.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


With record numbers of people now in work, a government-backed jobs scheme has contributed to bringing the number of long-term unemployed people down to the lowest it has been for 5 years.

New figures show the Work Programme has helped 368,000 long-term unemployed people into lasting work, including nearly 22,000 people with a health condition or disability.

In total, industry figures show almost 640,000 people have started a job thanks to the Work Programme. This has contributed to a large fall in the number of long-term unemployed people, which is now the lowest it has been since 2009.

Work and Pensions Secretary, Iain Duncan Smith said:

This government’s welfare reforms are designed to ensure that everyone who is able to work gets the support, the skills, and opportunities to do so. And this week’s record jobs figures suggest that it is working.

Long-term unemployment fell by almost 200,000 over the last year – and many of these people, who are now looking forward to a better more secure future with the security of a regular wage, will have been supported into a job by the Work Programme.

The Work Programme revolutionises the way that we provide support to the long-term unemployed – and is helping more people to turn their lives around than any previous scheme. That is a real achievement for every one of those individuals.

There are now 30.8 million people in work with an employment rate of 73%, including more women making the choice to go into work than ever before. The number of people claiming the main unemployment benefit – Jobseeker’s Allowance – for more than a year has been falling now for 21 months and is down nearly a third compared to this time last year.

The Work Programme is the biggest single payment by results employment programme Britain has ever seen, which is helping more people than any previous scheme. The figures published today (18 December 2014) show performance is continually improving since being launched in June 2011, and continues to do so.

The vast majority of those who find sustained employment are remaining in work beyond the 6 month point. More than 348,000 participants have gone on to work past this point, while 130,000 claimants have spent 18 months or longer in work.

Work Programme providers get paid the majority of their money when someone has stayed in work for 6 months, or 3 months for some of the hardest to help, which means that many more people will have started work but not reached the 6 month point yet. Industry figures show almost 640,000 people had started a job thanks to the Work Programme.

Previous schemes didn’t do enough for disabled people, which is why the Work Programme focuses on giving some of the hardest to help people 2 years of support, and offers providers higher prices for working with these claimants.

Work Programme statistics

Read the full Work Programme figures.

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Published 18 December 2014