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.