According to figures released by the House of Commons library there has been a 12.7% rise in the number of households where no one has ever worked in Oldham East and Saddleworth. That is a rise from 3,038 households in April 2011 to 3,423 this April.
This is an appalling and desperately worrying situation and I will be meeting privately with some of the local Work Programme providers in the next few weeks to find out, first hand, what can be done to help.
Across the country, in the last quarter of 2011, there were 291,000 households in which no one had ever worked – a rise of over 7% on the year before – an all time high. It’s fresh proof that the Government’s welfare to work reforms are failing.
The House of Commons library figures also reveal the government is spending an extra £9 billion on dole payments and housing benefits. Now we know why.
The government can’t simply ignore people who are trapped in long term unemployment consigning them to the scrap heap.
They should be focussing on getting the economy growing and creating tailored programmes to deal with specific issues associated with long term unemployment.
While Iain Duncan Smith has been asleep at the wheel in his department, the Work Programme has started sinking and tax credits cuts mean parents can no longer afford childcare or they are better off on benefits.