Byline: JASON BURT
LABOUR'S 'Welfare to Work' scheme is destined to fail because of a lack of qualifications among the people it is designed to help, an influential study group said yesterday.
The flagship programme was created to lure single mothers off welfare and into employment, and was a central feature of the Budget.
But the Policy Studies Institute says it underestimates the scale of the problem and has a fundamental flaw which will leave many 'trapped on benefit'.
Researchers point out that a widespread lack of qualifications will 'hamper' efforts to get the 800,000 single parents with children of school age into work. They accuse Labour of not suggesting solutions.
Government plans to employ 'personal advisers' at Jobcen-tres to help find work for the jobless and ensure better childcare is available are not enough.
The study - paid for by the independent charity the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and using data from a Government-funded survey - will come as a blow to Ministers.
Yesterday Social Security Secretary Harriet Harman told BBC radio she 'accepted the analysis' of the report, which highlighted the effect education has on employment, but refuted suggestions that the Welfare to Work scheme was flawed.
She said the Government was making standards in education a priority and was investing in training. She added that advisers would be able to tell mothers about courses to improve qualifications.
For example, Miss Harman said, if a single mother cannot attend a course because it is in the evening when she has to look after her children, an adviser may help to find an alternative during the day.
But Michael White, co-author of the report, said the scheme did not do anything about what happens to people when they 'get into dead end jobs with little prospect of training'. …