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Chart of the day: In work (programmes)

Rafael Behr has written about how the DWP is burying bad news about the Work Programme, its flagship scheme to get unemployed people back into jobs. In the first twelve months of the programme (that is, June to May - not June to July, which is the period the department looks at in an apparent attempt to massage the figures), just 2.5 per cent of participants found lasting, unsubsidised work. This compares to five per cent in the matched sample of non-participants, and suggests that the Work Programme is actually worse than doing nothing.

But the bad news about the Work Programme isn't the only thing the government tried to bury yesterday. It also hid its study about the efficacy of the Future Jobs Fund (pdf), New Labour's flagship unemployment which was scrapped by the coalition. The short version of that study: the future jobs fund is really very effective.

Jonathan Portes, the director of NIESR, summarises the findings of the report:

The bottom line is that the impact of the Future Jobs Fund (FJF) on the chances of participants being employed and/or off benefit was substantial, significant and positive. Two years after starting the progamme (so long after the programme itself had ended, so the participants were back in the open labour market), participants were 11 percentage points more likely to be in unsubsidised employment.  

This is a very large impact for an active labour market programme (considerably larger than that found for New Deal for Young People, for example) suggesting that the programme had a large and lasting impact on participants' attachment to and ability to succeed in the labour market. 

The Future Jobs Fund was scrapped specifically to be replaced by the Work Programme. Its replacement failed to even meet the government's targets, let alone do better than the initiative it was brought it to replace.

Alex Hern is a technology reporter for the Guardian. He was formerly staff writer at the New Statesman. You should follow Alex on Twitter.

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Is anyone prepared to solve the NHS funding crisis?

As long as the political taboo on raising taxes endures, the service will be in financial peril. 

It has long been clear that the NHS is in financial ill-health. But today's figures, conveniently delayed until after the Conservative conference, are still stunningly bad. The service ran a deficit of £930m between April and June (greater than the £820m recorded for the whole of the 2014/15 financial year) and is on course for a shortfall of at least £2bn this year - its worst position for a generation. 

Though often described as having been shielded from austerity, owing to its ring-fenced budget, the NHS is enduring the toughest spending settlement in its history. Since 1950, health spending has grown at an average annual rate of 4 per cent, but over the last parliament it rose by just 0.5 per cent. An ageing population, rising treatment costs and the social care crisis all mean that the NHS has to run merely to stand still. The Tories have pledged to provide £10bn more for the service but this still leaves £20bn of efficiency savings required. 

Speculation is now turning to whether George Osborne will provide an emergency injection of funds in the Autumn Statement on 25 November. But the long-term question is whether anyone is prepared to offer a sustainable solution to the crisis. Health experts argue that only a rise in general taxation (income tax, VAT, national insurance), patient charges or a hypothecated "health tax" will secure the future of a universal, high-quality service. But the political taboo against increasing taxes on all but the richest means no politician has ventured into this territory. Shadow health secretary Heidi Alexander has today called for the government to "find money urgently to get through the coming winter months". But the bigger question is whether, under Jeremy Corbyn, Labour is prepared to go beyond sticking-plaster solutions. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.