A recent National Audit Office report into sustainable employment reveals the inadequacy of the government’s efforts to keep people off welfare. A key finding is that the the proportion of people moving repeatedly between work and the dole queue has barely changed since the early 1980’s.
More than a quarter of the people who leave benefits and enter work return to Job Seekers Allowance within thirteen weeks. Almost half are back on benefits within six months. The NAO estimates that taxpayers could save £520million a year if the time repeat claimants spent on benefit was halved.
The NAO report clearly shows the failure of the Government’s efforts to improve job retention, particularly among those in low paid jobs. Despite the complex myriad of agencies and policies (such as tax credits and the minimum wage) created to increase the incentives to stay in work, the numbers returning to benefit are a damning indictment on government strategy. Not to mention an expensive one.