Welfare reforms 'may hinder job seekers'The Work Foundation has claimed that the government's controversial plans to reform welfare provisions for the unemployed may in fact damage job hunters' prospects of finding gainful employment.

Associate director at the organisation Stephen Overell questioned whether work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith is genuinely looking to help people find work or simply discipline those who have been out of a job for a long period.

"I think it is unclear if this party is aiming to punish people for being unemployed or whether it is designed to help them find work," he explained. "The way it is designed at present looks more like a punishment."

Mr Overell added that although similar initiatives had been in place in the 1980s, they had at least offered supplementary payments on top of basic jobseeker's allowance – unlike Mr Duncan Smith's current proposals.

Under the scheme, advisers will be able to place claimants on four-week full-time work placements in addition to looking for a permanent position.

Posted by Hayley Edwards