Help to work

The Problem

·                    The welfare system we inherited from Labour trapped people on benefits. People were better off on benefits rather going out to work – and nothing was asked for in return.


·                    In 2010, 1.4 million people had spent nine out of the previous ten years on out-of-work benefits.

·        The number of households where no member has ever worked almost doubled under Labour. In April to June 1997 there were 136,000 households (excluding student households) where all members have never worked. In April to June 2010 there were 269,000, an increase of 133,000.[1]


·        Nearly half a million more people became unemployed under Labour. In March to May 1997, there were 2.047 million people unemployed. In March to May 2010 there were 2.475 million people unemployed, an increase of 428,000 or 21 per cent.[2]





Our solution


·        New scheme to get people back into work. At the end of the Work Programme, if they have not found a job, claimants will get an ‘end-of-term’ report looking at what support they now need. They will be put on one of three options below depending on what would be most effective for that individual person:

o                   A third will do Community Work Placements.

o                   A third will attend a jobcentre every day to search for work, instead of every fortnight.

o                   A third will be placed on a Mandatory Intervention Regime with tough, targeted interventions tackling claimants’ underlying problems.


·                    A new stricter sanctions regime will also apply to claimants taking part in Help to Work, with sanctions applied automatically and much more quickly if they breach the rules.  For the first time Work Placement providers will refer any breaches of the rules direct to DWP decision makers, so that people who break the rules, for example by not turning up without a good reason, will feel the sanction immediately in their next benefit cheque. Those who break the rules will lose four weeks’ worth of benefit for their first breach of the rules, and a quarter of a year’s worth for any second offence.


·        Work in your community – or lose your benefits. Claimants on the Community Work Placements will have to do 30 hours a week for 6 months, 10 hours of job search activity a week, and also show they are doing everything they can to find paid work. A strict sanction regime will back this up. Through Community Work Placements claimants will be doing useful work to put something back into their community: such as making meals for older people, cleaning up litter and graffiti, or working for local charities. Placements will have to be of wider benefit to the community as well as the individual claimant.


·        Daily attendance at jobcentre to intensify the search for work. Other claimants will be asked to attend the jobcentre every day to check their progress in searching for work and applying for jobs. At present these claimants only have to attend a short interview once every two weeks, even though they have been on benefits for three years.


·        A Mandatory Intensive Regime to target claimants’ underlying problems. Claimants on the MIR will attend the jobcentre far more frequently, than other jobseekers.  As well as making sure they stick to their plan and are applying for jobs, advisors will specialise in dealing with claimants with the greatest barriers to work such as mental health problems or addiction.  



·        An additional pilot to look at new ways to help the long-term sick. There will be a pilot project in Greater Manchester to explore new ways to help the long term sick. The pilot is funded jointly by the Government and Greater Manchester. It will help 5,000 people. For the first time these people will have a single point of contact to help with job search, health, and social services. It builds of the success of the Troubled Families Programme, which works in a similar way. The pilot will cost £14 million and run over the next four years.





[1] ONS, Working and workless households 2011, Table E, 1 September 2011,

[2] ONS, Labour Market Statistics, Table A02, October 2011,.