Between May 2011 and February 2012 there were nearly 50,000 referrals to mandatory work activity and 16,790 starts. The scheme was expanded in June 2012, meaning that there are approximately 28,000 places available in 2012-13.
The mandatory work activity scheme is important in sending out a signal that sitting around on benefits is not an option under this Government. May I therefore congratulate my hon. Friend on securing its extension, with another 70,000 people a year doing placements in return for receiving benefits? Is he as ambitious as my constituents to see it extended to all able-bodied people on benefits?