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'Work' scheme not working, says MP Jim Fitzpatrick as London jobs dry up

PUBLISHED: 16:51 13 December 2012 | UPDATED: 18:25 13 December 2012

Only 60 of the 3,000 long-term unemployed in East End MP Jim Fitzpatrick's constituency who have been on the government's 'back to work' programme have actually found jobs.

That’s a ‘success’ rate of only 2.3 per cent for getting work, the MP has discovered.

The shock figure came out of national employment statistics released showing London is one of only three regions with a rise in Job Seekers Allowance claims, despite the biggest fall in unemployment for a decade in the rest of Britain.

Now he is calling for action to cut the chronic dole queue which has lengthened by a-quarter in the last 12 months in his Poplar & Limehouse constituency.

“The government has got to wake up to the misery unemployment is causing,” the MP said. “Their ‘work’ programme isn’t working—it isn’t getting people into jobs.

“Every time we hear of unemployment falling nationally, it’s up in Tower Hamlets.”

The programme had 785,000 referrals up and down the country in its first 12 months—but only 18,000 landed jobs.

“It’s getting fewer people into jobs than if the government did nothing at all,” Mr Fitzpatrick added.

“Their own statistics in 2010 calculated five per cent were expected to find jobs if no government scheme existed—that’s more than twice as many!”

Numbers out of work in London reached almost 57,000 last month, compared to 42,000 a year ago. Another 15,000 people aged 25 and over had joined the long-term unemployed.

London Assembly budget chairman John Biggs called for Mayor Boris Johnson to use his powers to get them back to work.

He said: “These people will be struggling with increased fares, rent, food and fuel bills while the government is cutting welfare payments and refusing to take London’s high cost-of-living into account.”

He urged the mayor to use his influence and “do more than just talk about creating jobs” to help those who have been out of work more than a year.

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