Flagship scheme may fail disabled job seekers, warn MPs

Disabled people may be failed by the government's new flagship scheme for getting unemployed people back to work.

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Disabled people may be failed by the government’s new flagship scheme for getting unemployed people back to work.

Employment support providers may focus on supporting clients who are easiest to help under the Work Programme, leaving more vulnerable groups languishing in unemployment, a report by the work and pensions select committee found.

The Work Programme, an overarching employment support programme for all but the most disabled clients, is designed to prevent this from happening by offering providers differential payments based on clients’ level of need.

However, the committee said: “The financial modelling for the programme is inherently uncertain as many participants have not received employment support before and face complex barriers to work.

“It remains to be seen how successful the payment model will be in preventing providers focusing on the easiest to help participants within client groups. We expect that the payment model will need to evolve over time to respond to this.”

The Work Programme, due to launch in June, will cater for many current claimants of incapacity benefit except those who are deemed unfit to work.

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