Newly jobless likely to remain that way for some time, admits MP

Axed staff face lengthy spells out of work as the economic crisis hits the government’s ability to get people off benefits quickly, a minister has admitted.

Employment minister Tony McNulty last week said he was proud of the government’s re-employment record, but said that soaring numbers of redundancies could throw a spanner in the works.

Currently, about 60% of people who go on to Jobseekers Allowance are employed within three months, and 80% after 12 months.

But McNulty told Personnel Today: “It will be a real challenge for [Jobcentre Plus] to maintain those figures, especially in a period of such adversity.

“Despite 30,000 more going on to the claimant count last month, the figures are still encouraging, but as the economy slows down that will change, and it’s vital that we keep those figures uppermost in our minds.”

However, Mel Groves, acting chief executive for Jobcentre Plus, said this week’s Pre-Budget Report should provide increased funding for the recruitment service to help it deal with next year’s challenges.

“Given all the predictions, it should be quite favourable to us, and we’ll be looking to keep growing by redeploying from elsewhere in the department or recruiting more people to cope with heavy volumes in the new year,” he said.

More than 1.82 million people were classified as unemployed in the July-September period according to government statistics – an eleven-year high.

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