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Government jobs scheme gets work for just three in Bradford
JUST three people in ‘troubled families’ in Bradford have been found work from a Government scheme.
The programme has been hailed as a success by Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles, who said the lives of 543 city families had been “turned around”.
But, of those 543, only three – just 0.6 per cent – are in permanent jobs, the department for communities and local government (DCLG) figures reveal.
Yet a lack of work is one of seven factors on the Government’s list that trigger a classification of “troubled” if a family displays at least five of them.
The others are: poor quality housing, no qualifications, mental health problems, long-standing disability, low income and an inability to afford food or clothing.
Across the district, just 23 of 1,339 families now classed as “turned around” now have someone in work – with none at all in Kirklees and only three in Calderdale.
Now the National Audit Office (NAO) has warned the scheme is “underperforming”, pointing to “poor co-ordination” after it was launched quickly, following the 2011 riots. Its report agrees there is “evidence that families are beginning to benefit” from a scheme expected to cost £1bn over four years.
But it adds: “There is a risk that the expectations for the programmes will not be achieved. Evidence from programmes similar to that of the DCLG [Department for Communities and Local Government] suggests that local authorities will need to invest further to meet its target.”
Gerry Sutcliffe, Labour MP for Bradford South, said: “We all support the principle of trying to turn around the lives of these families – but you can only do that where jobs are available.
“To help three people into work out of 543 families is not a success. We need to boost the economy and create employment, so there are jobs for these people to go to.”
Only last week, Mr Pickles said the scheme was “on track”, suggesting the lives of more than 22,000 such families had been “turned around” with intensive help. But the NAO also expressed concern that: l Only 62,000 families were currently in the programme across the country - 13 per cent below the number that “might reasonably” have been found.
l A family can be counted as being “turned around” if it shows improvement in just one area.
l Cash-starved councils are spending only the upfront attachment fee on troubled families – not the further sums earned under ‘payment-by-results’.
The programme was launched in 2011 when David Cameron vowed to turn around the lives of 120,000 problem families by 2015.
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