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WINZ 'success' a government fantasy

2000 web siteRegistered unemployment figures and benefit forecasts show the government's claims of WINZ' success are pure fantasy, says Labour social welfare spokesman Steve Maharey.

Mr Maharey today released figures, extracted from official sources, showing steady growth in registered unemployment and forecast increases in the number of people getting domestic purposes, sickness and invalid benefits.

"The government has been trying frantically to find some good news about its bad news department. Peter McCardle seized on a decline in DPB numbers in the past year as a sign of Winz' 'success'. What he failed to confess is that the number of people on the DPB is forecast to increase for the next two years."

Social Services Minister Roger Sowry's replies to Parliamentary questions from Mr Maharey show DPB numbers are forecast to increase from 115,517 in 1999/2000 to 118,470 the next year. They rise further to 121,566 the year after that.

Invalid benefit numbers are forecast to rise from 52,183 in 1999/2000 to 53,924 and 55,952 in succeeding years. Sickness benefit numbers are forecast to rise from 34,583 in 1999/2000 to 35,426 and then 36,618.

"The number of people on the unemployment benefit is forecast to fall by less than 8000 over the next two years, while the number on other benefits is expected to go up by almost 12,000. The number of unemployed people on training benefits doesn't budge from 7708 for two years. You have to figure a lot of those unemployed people are just being shunted onto other benefits."

"The trend in the number of registered unemployed is just as discouraging as this week's household labour force statistics. Since December 1996, when the first version of this ratty coalition government was elected, registered unemployment has gone up by 19%."

Employment Service and WINZ statistics show the number of long-term registered unemployed has increased disastrously. The numbers registered for more than one year and more than two years have doubled.

"If Winz is a success, I'd hate to see a failure," says Mr Maharey.

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