Birkenhead MP Frank Field says an investigation has revealed more than a third of a million jobs advertised on the Government’s “Universal Jobmatch” website could be bogus or unlawful.

Mr Field believes the disclosure means the coalition’s welfare reform programme is “out of control and bedevilled with fraud” and has asked the National Audit Office to investigate as a matter of urgency.

A Government spokesman said the MP is mistaken and refuted his 'bogus jobs' claim.

Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants must use the Jobmatch website to look for work and apply for a minimum number of jobs listed each week.

Failure to do so results in benefits being suspended.

But today the DWP confirmed to Mr Field that 179 employer accounts - advertising 352,569 jobs - potentially could be in breach of its terms and conditions.

It said those organisations are now being contacted to “seek evidence of compliance.”

Mr Field said: “The heart of the Government’s welfare reform programme is bedevilled with fraud and in its current state, it is out of control.

“Anyone can place an advertisement on the site in the space of five minutes by ticking a few boxes.

“Ministers need to get a grip before more people fall victim to fraudsters preying on them with the helping hand of a major Government department.”

A DWP spokesman said the vast majority of employers offer genuine roles: “However we don't hesitate to take action against anyone who tries to break the rules

“It’s simply wrong to suggest there are large numbers of ‘bogus’ or fake jobs.

“Not meeting the terms and conditions does not mean they are bogus or unlawful; for example, these could be jobs for franchises or that require recruitment of other members.

“Universal Jobmatch revolutionises the way jobseekers look for work and it has already helped many jobseekers find the jobs they want through the millions of vacancies posted since 2012.

“The truth is that the vast majority of employers post genuine jobs, and we crack down on those who don’t play by the rules. 

“We also regularly monitor the site and remove jobs that don’t meet our rules, such as duplicate advertisements.”

Evidence emerged in recent weeks suggesting unemployed people in Wirral lost large sums of money when a suspect company advertised on Universal Jobmatch.

Anyone applying for work with the company were required as part of the application process to provide bank details and an upfront payment of £65 for “criminal background checks.”

However, upon arrival at what they expected to be their first day of work, the victims said they were informed their new employer did not exist.