And then there are the pots and pots of taxpayers' cash that have been used to reach this unedifying position. Those households cost some £12.7 billion a year in public money. One New Deal scheme found jobs for only 61 people in a year, at a cost of £1,100 each.
The brand of welfare reform championed by David Freud gets more people into work and at a lower cost. At last the Government is shifting to this approach, but maybe – as Melanie Phillips notes – we shouldn't expect much from them after a decade of disappointment over welfare.