Chancellor George Osborne said previous governments "of all colours" had "abandoned" the long-term unemployed.
Mr Osborne told Daybreak: "They allowed them to sort of recycle into job centres collecting the dole and people didn't really do anything about them. I think it's wrong.
"We have got to learn from what went wrong in the past. We've got to help these people, but in return expect them to put something back into their community."