Tackling the “workshy” is a perennial preoccupation of our ruling classes.
In case you thought the IDS scheme was familiar – forcing people to do 4 week’s labour for their benefits – that is because it already exists. Since last October anyone out of work and claiming jobseekers’ allowance for over a year (in most parts of the country) has to take part in Flexible New Deal.
No one should be too surprised by the coalition plan, given that it was in the Tory manifesto:
our plans will give unemployed people a hand up, not a hand out. Unemployed people must be prepared to take up job offers. So, with the Conservatives, long-term benefit claimants who fail to find work will be required to ‘work for the dole’ on community work programmes. anyone on jobseeker’s allowance who refuses to join the Work Programme will lose the right to claim out-of-work benefits until they do, while people who refuse to accept reasonable job offers could forfeit their benefits for up to three years. this will create a welfare system that is fair but firm.
The Archbishop of Canterbury has spoken out in a BBC interview – attacking the IDS plans to make long-term unemployed work for their dole money:
I’ve got a lot of worries about that. I don’t immediately think it’s fair.
I am trying to take my eyes off the Mail’s scoop on Tony Blair giving a £50,000 lecture to toilet roll and disinfectant manufacturers – and instead concentrate on the big issue of the day. That is, Iain Duncan Smith’s plan to make the workless do manual labour in return for their dole money.
It throws up plenty of questions. Namely: