Labour's shadow work and pensions secretary Liam Byrne has accused the government of "making it up as they go along" as they announced "changes" to the controversial work experience scheme for young job seekers. He said:
"Ministers appear to be lurching from one muddle to another while more and more jobs are lost and unemployment rises. Work experience is incredibly valuable but somehow this Government have botched it so badly that they have lost the good will of businesses across the country."
The General Secretary of the Trade Unions Congress has welcomed the government's climbdown on the use of sanctions in work experience and called for greater investment for your people in skills and training to enable them to get into work. He said:
"While voluntary work experience has a role, it is no substitute for real action on youth unemployment, and it is still far from clear whether the Government's scheme is helping young people to get paid work."
"The Government must take real action now - with more than a fifth of young people out of work we need to invest in supporting them to get into work."
The CBI met with the government today to reaffirm their support for the controversial work experience scheme for Job Seekers Allowance claimants. They are encouraging their members to take part. Katja Hall, CBI Chief Policy Director said:
"Gaining hands on experience of the workplace is vital to giving young jobseekers a foot in the door, and it can make such a difference when they are applying for interviews.The scheme’s record of getting people into jobs is very strong, with more than half coming off benefits after 13 weeks"
The government has announced that youngsters will be able to leave the work experience scheme after a week without facing benefit sanctions after a meeting with scores of employees.
The Department for Work and Pensions said sanctions will still apply for cases of gross misconduct, such as stealing or racist abuse but those taking part in the scheme will be able to leave after a week without losing their benefits.
Employment minister Chris Grayling described it as a "change" that would help companies, insisting that opponents were "completely misguided".
Youngsters on the Government's work experience scheme will be able to leave after a week without facing benefit sanctions, ministers said.
Ministers are expected to clarify when sanctions will be used on the work experience scheme in this afternoon's summit.
The CBI says there is broad support amongst businesses for it at a recent meeting.
Argos just told ITV News that it wants to ensure nobody is financially disadvantaged by workfare.
Iain Duncan Smith pretty fired up on work experience programme, he calls it "brilliant" and says it will not be driven off course by a "bunch of anarchists."