Political Promise

Benefits, unemployment, double dip recession and murmuring of a ‘lost generation’

In Uncategorized on August 17, 2010 at 1:47 pm

By Joseph Raffell

These are the headlines that we read every single day and with recent figure suggesting unemployment is around 7.8% the coalition government is tackling the dual problems of getting people back into work whilst cutting cost on expenditures such as benefits. Initiatives such as chasing up those illegally claiming benefits and retesting receivers of incapacity benefits are positive moves toward decreasing these costs. However I object to the current drive against the unemployed, which states that the majority claiming benefits are simply lazy and have nothing to offer.

The government plans to make the system so that being in work is far more desirable than a life on benefits. While I won’t say there aren’t people who live on benefits for most of their lives, the point is that especially now in a time of economic turmoil that there are a lot of educated and skilled people wanting to work hard and support themselves. Why not encourage these people and energise them, rather than spouting the discouraging sentiments we constantly hear from government and media alike. Being unemployed is not fun, and not being able to utilise the skills learned in education or in previous work negatively effects the majority of people. I can tell you this because many of my friends and I are claiming housing and job seekers benefits. We have degrees or good A levels, work experience and a real want to develop a career. Yet many of us, graduates or not are struggling to earn money and develop in a profession. In a period where unemployment is so high, why not utilise the great mass of unemployed. Put their skills into getting the economy back on track and improving our communities. I’ve been to the job centre three times so far to get job seekers allowance; I am applying for jobs everyday and volunteering as much as I can. I could be doing more, i could be doing less. However the sad thing is none of these services or idea came of what to do whilst unemployed came from the job centre itself and this is something the government need to make sure is rectified.

If the conservatives want to reintroduce benefits claimants back to work then they need to invest heavily in services such as the job centre plus. Job centres are packed and this means that advisors don’t have the ability to offer the sort of support some people really need to get back into work. Encouraging volunteering and increased partnership with either charities or private businesses that can utilise a mass move to get benefit claimants to volunteer or get into positive training can only be a good thing. By making benefits dependant on personal development, we can change the idea that government hand outs are a right rather than a privilege bringing something positive out of this recession for the generations to come.

The way back to employment for those on benefits is going be a long route and I myself hope I won’t be claiming benefits for much longer, but for re-employment of people who have been in unemployment for years a mass development program must be implemented. While the government are attempting to make saving across the board, this is one area where for the long term development of this country investment must be made to prevent the so called ‘lost generation’ of workers and a skills gap that cannot be readdressed for years to come.

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