Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Work for the dole is a dud in the UK, but our Coalition will do it

Why be guided by evidence?

Australia’s Coalition will press ahead with plans to expand work for the dole schemes despite a British finding they are ineffective.

A peer-reviewed investigation by the UK Department for Work and Pensions of its own mandatory work activity scheme has found it has done nothing for the employment chances of the unemployed Britons referred to it.

The study found that while being forced to work 30 hours a week got people off the dole for a few months, over the longer term referrals to the scheme had “no impact on the likelihood of being employed compared to non-referrals”.

Jonathan Portes, director of the British National Institute of Economic and Social Research retained to peer review the study said the scheme was “a complete policy disaster”.

“It is very difficult not to conclude that, whatever your position on the morality of mandatory work programmes like these, the costs of the programme, direct and indirect, are likely to far exceed the benefits,” he wrote on his blog.

Australia’s shadow minister for employment participation Sussan Ley said although she hadn’t seen the UK research the Coalition remained “very firmly committed to work for the dole”...

During the 2010 election it promised to make it the default option for Newstart recipients out of work for more than six months.

“I am not in a position to announce Coalition policy which is not announceable anyway, it’s too soon. But I have seen successful work for the dole programs. They usually have an extra component, a first aid certificate, literacy skills, something like that.”

Labor downgraded work for the dole schemes after taking office in 2007. They are now rarely used, only by Australians who have been out of work for a year, and only at the discretion of their job services provider.

In today's Age

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