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Helping the long-term unemployed and ending the something-for-nothing culture
30/09/2013 22:45:00


We should be very proud of the fact that in this country if you fall sick or lose your job, you won’t find yourself on the streets.

But our benefit system was intended as a safety net, not a way of life. Under Labour, more and more people found themselves permanently trapped on benefits, paid more by the state not to work than they could earn if they got a job. This Government has introduced a cap on the amount of benefits an out-of-work household can receive to ensure this is no longer the case and is replacing a number of benefits with Universal Credit to ensure that people who get a pay rise or work more hours are always better off as a result.

But as well as those trapped on benefits, there are others who want to work but haven’t been able to find a job for years and some who cheat the system, claiming benefit while working in the black market. We also need to address these two problems as well as ensuring that the system is fair to those who pay for it, that no-one gets something for nothing.

That’s why the Chancellor has announced the new Help to Work scheme. The idea is that, starting next April, the long-term unemployed will have to do something in exchange for their benefits whether that’s clearing up litter, working for a local charity, attending the job centre every working day or getting treatment for underlying problems like drug addiction and illiteracy. This will help the majority who are genuinely looking for work by getting them back into the routine of work and improving their CV; discourage those who are cheating the system; and ensure that taxpayers are getting something back for their hard-earned money.

Long-term unemployment is a great social evil. Under this Government, no-one will be left to rot on the dole, but no-one will get something for nothing either.

Comment on this blog


Readers' Comments

On 04/10/2013 23:26:00 ron striebig wrote:
, Consider the actual facts

A 6 million working tax payers earn less that the £15K poverty level

B 5 million benefit claimants get less than the £15K poverty level

C Only 0.9 % of benefit claimants defraud the system

D But 4/5 % of tax revenue is loss to fraud

E The £56 per week given to the unemployed id equivalent to £1.87 per hour

F But E above is what the Government propose giving the unemployed to pick up litter etc

G Will the one million litter pickers put one million out of work so that they also become litter

pickers and hence soon every one will, be out of work all on £56 per week

H And what army of persons will ensure that the litter pickers actually pick litter?

I This idea has not been thought through with no end game strategy

J Peter Piper was good at picking a peck of pickled pepper but not I fear picking up litter

K. Asking the one million to work for charities run by CEO's on £150K pa it the ultimate in

slave labour abolished in 1820--

L Continue such policies as this and the Conservative party will be gone forever as will be the

fate of the liberal Democrats.at the next election

On 05/10/2013 10:06:00 ron striebig wrote:
Not thought through idea

Not workable,very costly, and unenforceable

No one will work for £56 per week

A definite vote loser

On 14/10/2013 15:49:00 Emma wrote:
Mr Barwell, considering that Employment and Support Allowance criteria, as it stands right now, actually actively excludes a number of sick and disabled people from being eligible , it is my observation that it is not 100% true this is any guarantee sick and disabled people won’t end up on the street. It’s a similar case with JSA. For example, people who can only look for part time work rather than full time work aren’t even allowed to claim it. Also, when it comes to situations when people claim either benefit as stand alone benefits, the reality is they are not paid anything near enough to cover full living expenses in situations when they are living alone, and not everybody who does is considered eligible for housing benefit.

It seems to be implied here that everybody claiming unemployment benefits earns as much as somebody in work when this is not the case for everybody. The DWP would know this better than anybody, as its on their records how much they pay different claimants. I don’t understand why this benefit cap is being imposed on everybody regardless of individual circumstances – and not just on those who earn more than those in work?

As for getting people to spend more time in job centres every working day, I don’t see how this would work, considering job centre building size limitations, and I don’t see how will help those already doing their best to find work anyway. Just because they’re in a different building to their home won’t change the job market. And what about people with health/disability conditions that cause problems with getting around/coping well with staying in public places for long? The same would apply to doing any kind of casual work in a number of instances - some people simply can’t do it, and that has nothing to do with expecting something for nothing, they genuinely can’t help it. To give them this kind of grief, over reasons they cannot help, is a huge social evil in itself. I’d even go as far as saying, to me, it seems pretty sadistic. You can’t force somebody to do something they’re already unable to just because you want them to. All such an attitude achieves is creatin g additional emotional distress for these people. It doesn’t help them at all.

On 16/10/2013 14:14:00 Simon wrote:
The "majority who are genuinely looking for work" could do with assistance in accessing resources, training, work experience placements etc. but what they don't need is to be forced to do (a) a job that they aren't suited to (e.g. litter picking) and (b) to attend an office for 35 hours a week that won't have the necessary resources (e.g. Job Centres don't have the necessary toiletry requirements for the number of people involved - check out the HSE website for details of facilities vs numbers of staff). Adding half a dozen PCs to replace a dozen job points won't help either. Both Labour and the Conservatives/Coalition miss the point in that those looking for work need the assistance they actually ask for and those not looking need the big stick approach, maybe, and that we are all individuals and one size does not fit all.

There are other issues that I'm not qualified to comment upon, such as not being sure where the unemployed are meant to get the cash for a full time child minder while their out picking up litter or sitting looking into space waiting for a chance to share the limited resources. But clearly these sorts of issues need to be addressed before rolling out this sort of scheme.

The long-term unemployed need a few things to help, the first of which is for the economy to continue to recover so that there are actually jobs out there to get! Training and a way to update their existing skills are useful too, If the 24+ loan scheme could be enlarged for more non-NVQ training that would be useful (e.g. Website development, Agile technologies, BCS Testing qualifications, advanced administration training, management/supervisory training would all be useful for someone in my situation).




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