The number of people receiving unemployment benefits has been reduced by 75 per cent since the Labour government was elected in 2013, figures show.

The figure is down from 5,320 to 1,313, but 4,919 are receiving different types of benefits through work placement schemes.

Replying to parliamentary questions by MP Byron Camilleri, Social Solidarity Minister Michael Falzon said there were 5,320 people receiving unemployment assistance, unemployment benefits and special unemployment benefits in March 2013, which had been brought down to 1,313 by June 2017.

However, it emerged from the second parliamentary question that there were 2,559 who were under the Tapering of Benefits scheme, and 2,360 who were receiving In-Work Benefits – which had cost the government over €600,000 since they were introduced.

Tapering of Benefits is given for a three year-period to those beneficiaries who become engaged in employment or also as self occupied as long as they earn the national minimum wage or more.

The ‘in-work’ benefit was introduced in 2014 to incentivise more people to work while helping those on the low end of the scale.

The two schemes are part of government's policies to try to wean people off benefits and into work by tackling the 'welfare trap'.

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