Government's Work Programme helps 168,000 people find jobs
More than 168,000 people have now found a permanent job through the Government's flagship Work Programme, new figures show.
The welfare to work scheme was launched by the coalition Government more than two years ago and is aimed mainly at jobseekers who have been out of work for more than a year.
According to the latest figures released by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), the number of people finding jobs through the scheme increased by around 37,000 in the three months to the end of June.
Meanwhile, the figures also indicate that many more people have started work under the programme but have not yet been in their job for six months.
The Government says the scheme is designed to give value for money for taxpayers by basing payments to providers largely on results achieved. This means that under the terms of the scheme, providers are paid most of their money when someone has stayed in work for six months.
This falls to three months for those who are deemed to be the hardest to help into work.
The Work Programme is due to run until 2016 and so far a total of more than 1.1 million people have been referred to the scheme. The initiative has been strongly criticised by unions and the Labour Party, but ministers insist that the latest figures show the programme's success is "significantly improving".
Commenting on the latest findings, Employment Minister Mark Hoban said previous schemes had failed to provide the right type of support for people in long-term unemployment. These schemes also offered poor value for money for the taxpayer, Mr Hoban added.
He said: "We launched the Work Programme to tackle this so people got the help they needed to find a job and, crucially, given support to stay in work.
"Today's figures show that large numbers of people previously at risk of long term unemployment are finding a job and staying in work for six months and more. This gives people hope that they can achieve their aspiration of looking after themselves and their families."
Copyright Press Association 2013