Public and Commercial Services Union
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Work programme failing to tackle long-term unemployment

The government's privatised back to work schemes are failing to tackle long-term unemployment as figures show those out of work for more than a year is at its highest since the Tories were last in office.

There are now 887,000 people who have been unemployed for more than one year, up 27,000 in the last three months and the highest since September 1996. The number of people unemployed for more than two years stands at 428,000, up 5,000.

Back to work schemes contracted out under the work programme to companies such as A4e - which, despite being stripped of one yesterday, holds government welfare contracts worth tens of millions of pounds - are supposed to help people who have been out of work for long periods.

The union has consistently argued that this work should be done by public servants in Jobcentre Plus and that the pursuit of profit has no place in our welfare system.

The official unemployment statistics published today (16) also reveal that there are almost six unemployed people for every job vacancy in our economy. The number of vacancies fell by 7,000 to 457,000 in the three months to April - also down 12,000 on a year earlier.

While employment in general increased, the number in full-time employment fell by 13,000 to 21 million. The number who work part time but want full-time work was up 44,000 in the last three months to 1.3 million - a 149,000 increase since last year. There are also 590,000 people doing temporary who want a permanent job, up 10,000 in the last quarter.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: "These figures show clearly that this government is not only failing to tackle long-term unemployment, it is failing to create the kind of jobs we need to help get our economy back on its feet.

"Ministers should be creating jobs, not cutting them, and investing in our communities. But instead they are taking us back to a previous Tory era of long-term unemployment while handing tax cuts to the rich."

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