Skip to main content

Work Programme/Universal Jobmatch

Volume 578: debated on Monday 31 March 2014

The Work programme is a success, and industry figures show it has moved half a million people into work. Universal Jobmatch revolutionises the way jobseekers look for work and it has already helped many jobseekers find the jobs they want through the millions of vacancies posted since 2012.

We recently heard that 60% of jobs on the failing Universal Jobmatch programme are bogus, such as the one for an MI6 “target elimination specialist”, and many of my constituents have been ripped off by criminal scams. With the Jobmatch programme set to be axed, will MPs now get the monthly constituency figures on the number of jobseekers chasing each job, which was removed in 2013, or will that information still be withheld?

Opposition Members just love to run everything down despite the fact that all these things we have put in place have helped a record number of people into work. We introduced a brand-new scheme that was in addition to what people could already do to look for work. More than half a million companies have opened up a scheme within Universal Jobmatch, which is helping millions of people to find work. Whenever we find any businesses that are not correctly adhering to terms and conditions—it is a tiny number—they are removed, but I have to say that this is a terrific addition to help people look for work. Shame on you!

The Minister knows of my passion for directly tackling youth unemployment in my constituency. Could she also tell me a little bit about what she is doing to help older workers find work, particularly using the tools referred to in the question?

My hon. Friend does so much in her constituency to try to find young people jobs, such as setting up a scheme to find 1,000 of them jobs. She is doing that incredibly well and that task has nearly been completed. She is right that we have to help people of all ages. Yes, we put a £1 billion Youth Contract in place to help young people, but we have got to help people of all ages to get into work, which we are doing, whether through a new enterprise allowance, sector-based work academies, job clubs or Jobs First, and I can only reiterate that record numbers of people are in work.

As somebody who supports Jobmatch, may I ask the Minister whether she shares my concern that some of our constituents have been ripped off by those who are acting fraudulently? What steps has she taken to safeguard this scheme, which most of us support?

The right hon. Gentleman, my constituency neighbour, is right in saying that 14 job- seekers —out of the millions a month who are looking for jobs through the scheme—were asked to pay for a Criminal Records Bureau check. The DWP is now working with them. Ten have put in for a compensation claim, and we are helping them to sort that out. If there is a bogus job or one that does not adhere to the terms and conditions on Universal Jobmatch, it is removed immediately. However, despite that one company, more than half a million companies are putting jobs up on the scheme to help people into work. I think we can all say that this is a resounding success.

The Work programme provides tailored support to the people who are most at risk of becoming long-term unemployed, at a fraction of the cost of Labour’s flexible new deal. Companies such as EOS in my region have been successful in helping people in that way. Does my right hon. Friend agree that we should be supporting the programme, rather than criticising it as the Labour party is doing?

My hon. Friend is right. Of course we have to support schemes that work and of course we have to support businesses that want to get involved with our scheme. What is interesting is that we have got industry signed up to everything we do. All the big companies and all the small companies are signed up to what we want to do. The Opposition have come forward with a job guarantee, but not one business has signed up to that.