Jonny Roberts discusses the government scheme to create manual labour duties for the unemployed.
The announcement today that those who are unemployed will be forced to work 30-hours a week in ‘manual labour’ is more bad news from the Coalition Government.
We all know the fellow graduate who refuses to belittle him or herself with a job anything less than their dream vacancy and quite happily picks up the £50.95 ‘dole’ money. It’s easy to think yes make these bastard scroungers work 30-hours a week picking up rubbish – that’ll soon see them taking the job as a waiter or cashier until they can find the job they really want. Tempting as this sounds the trouble is three-fold:
- There are very few jobs. Making only graduates comply with this scheme may actually be a fine amendment to the reform (mental note: e-mail local MP…of whats the point he’s a useless tag-a-long-with-the-whip-for-a-ministers-job-in-the-future Tory), however for a person aged 55 who worked all their life for a company now gone bust and has no formal qualifications there simply are not enough jobs going round for this reform to come into place right now.
- Forcing people to work for their benefits in a ‘community service’-style criminalises being unemployed. It is a punishment for being so dispensable to your previous employer that they let you go – shame on you. Not only this but it is yet another assault on the principle of National Insurance. You receive support in unemployment because you pay into the national pot for this, not because you do some voluntary work for the equivalent of £2.16 an hour (£2.16 an hour x 30 hours work = approx £65 Jobseeker’s Allowance).
- As pointed out at the Work & Pensions Select Committee, working 30 hours a week 9-5 will actually make it harder to search and apply for jobs/prepare and travel to interviews.
The worst thing about all of this is the latter part of point 2. As the Government imposes 25% cuts on all local government it sounds ominously like the Government is suggesting to Councils – cut your street cleaners, your litter pickers and similar jobs for which you currently pay the minimum wage of £5.95 an hour, and replace them with the unemployed who will work for £2.16 an hour – and local councils won’t even pick up that bill, that’ll be the Department for Work and Pensions.
I’d long wondered the logic of the Coalition’s cuts. Why so soon, why so fast? Now we know – for every job lost that would normally still cost the state (admittedly less) in Jobseeker’s Allowance, they are now seeking ‘cash-back’ in the form of cheap labour. There can be nothing more heinous than a Government which seeks to sack off people earning the bare minimum only to ‘re-employ’ them on less than half.
The millionaire’s are running the country and its 4 years 7 months until we can make them unemployed at the ballot box.