Over-50s Under-represented In Work Programme Referrals

The number of over 50s being referred for help under the Government’s flagship Work Programme is lower than expected.

New statistics released by the Department for Work and Pensions show that out of a total of nearly 693,000 jobseekers referred by Jobcentre Plus to its Work Programme prime providers during the period from June 2011 to April 2012, just under 121,000 (17.4 per cent)  were jobseekers aged 50 and over.  This included over 34,000 older Jobseeker’s Allowance  claimants who were referred ‘early’ for help (after three months), rather than having to wait for the normal period of 12 months or over for referral. 

The figures also reflect a slower-than-anticipated start-up to the programme of re-assessing all existing Incapacity Benefit claimants (circa 1.75 million) for their fitness to work by 2015.  Only 3,880 former Incapacity Benefit recipients were referred onto the Work Programme in the 11 months covered by the statistics, of whom 1,160 (29.9 per cent) were aged 50 or over.   


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