Women being failed

Career opportunities: In 2012 companies such as Booths Supermarket were hailed for taking on older apprentices in cafes, where the pay rate of �2.68 an hour is sometimes bumped up by the employer

Career opportunities: In 2012 companies such as Booths Supermarket were hailed for taking on older apprentices in cafes, where the pay rate of �2.68 an hour is sometimes bumped up by the employer

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Just one in 10 older workers are being helped into work

Older women are being failed by the Government’s flagship employment scheme, with just one in 10 being helped into work, according to Labour.

Some 97,520 women aged more than 50 were on the Work Programme by last December, but payments to providers for finding them long-term jobs were made for only 9,310, its analysis found.

Since the coalition took power, the number of unemployed women in that age group has risen by 45%, the Labour research showed.

Under the Work Programme, providers from the voluntary, private and public sectors are paid according to results to get people into work, with extra incentives to support the hardest to help.

It has come under frequent attack since its launch in June 2011 and statistics last June showed that just 5% of the hardest-to-help people had been found work.

Shadow equalities minister Sharon Hodgson called on the Government to appoint an older workers champion to keep a check on company recruitment.

She said: “These figures are yet more proof that David Cameron has no answer to the cost-of-living crisis affecting tens of thousands of older women and their families.

“His Work Programme is failing them, and thousands more find themselves unemployed under this Government.

“If we’re going to build a sustainable recovery, we need to ensure that we don’t waste the talents of some of our most experienced and valuable workers.

“Ministers need to stop dragging their feet on the appointment of an older workers champion, and they should implement Labour’s compulsory jobs guarantee to ensure that older women who have been out of work for over two years have a chance of proper paid work.”

A Department for Work and Pensions spokeswoman said: “This analysis is completely misleading, and includes claimants who haven’t been on the Work Programme long enough to get a sustained job.

“The truth is that 10,000 women over 50, who had been unemployed for a long time, have got into sustained work through this scheme, and we’ve recently launched even more support to the long-term unemployed through Help to Work.

“We also know that the proportion of women in that age bracket who are in work is at its highest level ever, and those not in work has fallen nearly five percentage points since 2010.”