Mark Hoban
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Work Programme figures: Employment minister Mark Hoban

Employment minister Mark Hoban said one in four people in the Work Programme had been helped into a job, which showed that "performance is in the pipeline".

Firms and charities are paid to help find jobs for the long-term unemployed, and official figures released on Tuesday showed only 3.53% of people found a job for six months or more - missing the 5.5% target.

Mr Hoban said there would be "no apology for ambitious targets", adding "we are not going to change the targets".

He declined to name any of the poor-performing providers working with the government on the welfare-to-work scheme, but said they were on notice and should "do what we expect them to".

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