It is hard to speak the truth about valued national institutions. But when they are not fit for purpose, we must speak out. Reports on Monday suggested the government is considering a radical overhaul of the Jobcentre Plus system that is so badly failing to help the unemployed find work. The news doesn’t come a day too soon. Our one-size-fit-all national system doesn’t reflect the varying and specific needs of individuals and needs serious reform.
The system in its current form is clunky, impersonal, and suited neither to today’s society. Time and time again I meet young people being let down by a framework that fails to help people find lasting employment.
For Britain to build a balanced and sustainable economy, and to avoid a genocide of wasted talent and potential, that needs to change.
Some people will feel an instinctive hesitation about scrapping an organisation that aims to support the unemployed and help them find work. The fact is that jobcentres are totally failing in their primary aim: only around one in three claimants find sustainable work within six months of claiming benefits. That is not good enough for an institution that receives many millions in state funding and serves, in theory at least, a crucial purpose. Back in November I gave a speech calling for exactly these reforms.