Six: Employment policy since the crisis

This chapter assesses employment policy since the crisis. Evidence presented shows that employment rates were remarkably resilient over the recession, largely driven by falling wages and increasing self-employment. For many, employment became more precarious through growth in zero-hours contracts and insecure self-employment. The young were hit hardest, with the recession having differential generational consequences. The Coalition Government reformed active labour market programmes (ALMPs) but despite employment reaching record levels, their performance did not meet expectations and for some time, and some claimant groups, delivered results below those achieved by previous programmes. A greater emphasis on private providers paid according to results, with higher rewards available for groups requiring additional help has not improved relative outcomes. The fiasco around work capability assessments and the fact that ALMPs are still failing to meet the needs of those deemed capable of work in a limited capacity suggests a major review is now required.

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