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Plaid criticise failure of Government Work Programme

28/11/2021

Plaid Cymru MP Hywel Williams used today's Welsh Questions session in Parliament to challenge the Secretary of State for Wales over the abysmal failure of the Government's Work Programme.

The Work Programme, allegedly intended to take people off benefits and into work, has proven ineffective throughout the UK, but Wales has the worst figures with the DWP (Department for Work and Pensions) saying that just 1,380 of the 42,380 people on the programme entered long-term employment - a feeble success rate of around 3%.

Mr Williams said that these figures serve as a stark reminder that Westminster isn't fit to protect the welfare of some of Wales' most vulnerable people and repeated his party's call for the creation of a Welsh JobCentrePlus.

He added that this would restore priority to the welfare of jobseekers rather than the profits of major companies – the latter being a result of the current and previous London governments’ outsourcing to the private sector.

Mr Williams said:

"No amount of shameless spin on behalf of the Government can disguise these figures as anything other than an abysmal failure.

"Wales has an unemployment rate of 8.2% compared with the 7.8% UK average. These Work Programme results yet again show Wales lagging behind the rest of the UK due to Westminster's disregard for Welsh interests and the Welsh Government's lack of job-creating powers.

"There is great hypocrisy in a government that rails against the 'workshy' while making no meaningful progress in addressing the growing problem of unemployment. It is clear from the Chancellor's tax cut for millionaires and his reluctance to introduce a mansion tax that his priorities lie with protecting the privileged.

 

"Not only is the Coalition failing to hit its targets, it is also failing thousands of people relying on this Programme to gain long-term employment.

"Plaid Cymru has always maintained that the welfare of Welsh workers and jobseekers would be better protected through the creation of a Welsh JobCentrePlus. 

"Cardiff must also be handed job-creating powers from London, vital to getting the Welsh economy back on track and generating employment in the most important sectors - health, education, energy and transport.

“While these powers remain in Westminster, the interests of Wales will never come first and we will continue to suffer as a consequence of the out of sight and out of touch UK Government."