POLITICS

DWP Has 'No Idea' How Much It Is Paying To Get Young People Into Sex Industry Jobs

18/02/2014 15:09 GMT | Updated 18/02/2014 15:59 GMT
Ian Nicholson/PA Archive
Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith unveils radical proposals to reform the UK's "antiquated" benefits system at the Bromley by Bow Centre, east London.

Iain Duncan Smith has come under fire after the Department for Work and Pensions admitted it does not know how much it is paying adult employers in government subsidies to take on young people.

Labour MP Fiona Mactaggart told HuffPostUK that the department's failure to know how many adult employers were getting £2,275 "wage incentives" to hire young people in full-time work was "unacceptable".

"It is intolerable that there is no check on what kinds of roles they may be employed in, and wrong that the department has no idea of where those jobs lead. It is unacceptable that the department has no idea who gets handouts for employing youngsters."

"From talking to women who have left prostitution I know that some started work in the bar or reception of one of these establishments. It is unacceptable that the department has no idea who gets handouts for employing youngsters."

The furore comes after it was revealed that employers looking to take on young people for jobs like working behind the bar in a strip club, or on a porn film set but not as a performer behind the camera, can be eligible for a £2,275 subsidy under the government's "Youth Contract".

However, according to official guidance from Iain Duncan Smith's Department for Work and Pensions, employers who wanted to hire young people for jobs like full-time strippograms, topless maids and "cat fighters" would not get the subsidy

In response to an Freedom of Information request by the Huffington Post UK, the Department admitted that it could not provide an answer as it "does not record job type/title or industry sector in the information it holds on Wage Incentives under the Youth Contract".

Mactaggart said that she had asked the Commons Work and Pensions committee to launch an inquiry into the issue of how many young people are being subsidized by the government to get into adult industry jobs.

She added: "It is a wrong use of taxpayer’s money, it’s an abuse of young people and the fact that the government doesn’t even bother to keep figures on this practice is shows that they just don’t care."

A DWP spokesperson said: “This Government took action to ensure jobs in the adult industry which might exploit jobseekers were not advertised through Jobcentre Plus.

“We also ensured that to be eligible for our schemes jobs must not exploit vulnerable jobseekers."

However, the coalition's vigilance did not stop a £10-per-hour prostitute job advert popping up in error on the Direct Gov website.