The Work Programme cannot work in an area where there are few jobs.
According to The Guardian's Amelia Gentleman, who has spent time with a Work Programme provider in Hull, this high-unemployment area will never meet its targets when 55 people chase every job.
Speaking to frontline advisers, Gentleman found that those people who used to get Incapacity Benefit but have been passed fit to work and put on Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) by Atos regularly are not fit at all.
One adviser told her:
"You can't force people who are on ESA and have really serious health problems – issues like cancer and strokes – to go for a job.
"I have a few people on my caseload who have so many health issues that they shouldn't be working but they have been through the assessment and found fit for work. That doesn't necessarily mean they are fit for work."
Speaking of one client, she says "I am not going to send someone who has just had two strokes for a job. There's obviously no point doing that if they are still occupied with MRI scans."
There is more bad news for the government from the frontline; Christina Miller, Pertemps's office manager in Hull, says its description of unemployed people as 'scroungers' only makes it harder for them to find work, a point made regularly by UnemployedNet:
"The scroungers rhetoric has certainly not helped. If you work in the industry you realise it is such a small percentage of clients that have no desire to work and just want to stay in the benefits system," she says.
"Our clients don't appreciate being put in that scroungers and skivers bracket, because they are trying to break out of unemployment."