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Labour gives up on long-term jobless

Judith Collins MP
National Party Welfare Spokeswoman

30 April 2008

Labour gives up on long-term jobless

Labour is no longer collecting information on people who have been on a benefit continually for more than 12 years, according to answers provided by the Minister to National’s Welfare spokeswoman Judith Collins.

“If you don’t collect the data, if you don’t know who these people are, how can you help them? Is Labour giving up?”

Mrs Collins says this is a concern because, according to the Ministry's own Benefit Fact sheets, almost a quarter of all working-age beneficiaries, some 60,000 people, have been on a benefit for more than 10 years.

“But for how much longer than 10 years? It is no longer possible to find out.

“It is widely accepted that people who have been on benefits for a long time can find it extremely difficult to return to work.

“Covering up the extent of the problem doesn't help anybody.

“Labour appears to be sanitising the records to hide its record of failure in dealing with long-term and inter-generational welfare dependency.

“History is repeating in this respect. At one point, the Prime Minister promised to identify beneficiary ‘clusters’ for wrap-around assistance, but that work was never done.

“With low unemployment, the time was never better to start targeting those long term beneficiaries and helping them into paid work or training.”


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