Monday, September 30, 2013

UK ending the "something-for-nothing culture"

The Scotsman is reporting:

THE long-term unemployed are to be put into community service, made to look for work every day or be put on a programme to tackle their underlying problems in a dramatic toughening up of the welfare system, Chancellor George Osborne will announce today.
In his address to the Conservative Party conference in Manchester, Mr Osborne will say that the option of simply signing on to receive unemployment benefits will end within months.
The Chancellor will promise an end to “the something-for-nothing culture”, in a move that is expected to go down well with Tory members.
The £300 million “Help to Work” package will see 200,000 people who have been unemployed for at least two years, including more than 20,000 Scots, being forced to work for their benefits or attend intensive programmes aimed at getting them a job. The programme is set to be rolled out in six months, and Mr Osborne will tell Tory members that it is part of his strategy to make the economic recovery last.
In a conference where the Tories are pitching themselves as the party “for hardworking people”, the Chancellor will explain that he is an “economic optimist”, but tell delegates he is offering an “economic plan, not a quick fix”.
And in a direct rebuff to Labour’s attacks on falling living standards, he will warn that “without an economic plan, you do not have living standards”.
The unemployment initiative was last night condemned by Labour as a return to the spirit of the workhouse, as strict new rules will see people lose their benefits if they do not follow the programme.
From April next year, people claiming Jobseekers Allowance will have to either do full-time community work, attend the jobcentre and search for work every day, or be placed on the new Mandatory Intensive Regime – a tough programme which will see claimants with problems such as drug addiction or mental health issues attend jobcentres regularly to tackle the difficulties which stop them working. They will regularly meet specialist advisers to deal with their individual problems.
If they fail to do one of the three options they will lose their benefits, at present worth up to £71.70 a week.
Mr Osborne will boast that the scheme is the first across the UK which will see people forced to work or lose their benefits.
The Chancellor will argue that under Labour, people were left “trapped on benefits”, with 1.4 million people in 2010 having spent nine out of the previous ten years on benefits.
Complaining about a “lost generation”, Mr Osborne will also point out that the number of workless households in the UK almost doubled under Labour, from 136,000 in 1997 to 269,000 in 2010. He will say: “By the time Labour left office, five million people were on out-of-work benefits. What a waste of life and talent. A generation of people recycled through the jobcentre, collecting their dole cheques year in, year out, and no-one seemed to notice.”
Recent statistics from the Office for National Statistics reveal that Glasgow has a higher proportion of workless households than any other part of the UK, with 30.2 per cent of homes in the city being workless. The figures showed huge disparity across Scotland. Only 12 per cent of households are out of work in Aberdeen and Moray, in contrast to many parts of west-central Scotland, such as North Ayrshire, where 28 per cent of homes had no-one working, and Inverclyde, where the figure was 25 per cent.
Mr Osborne will blame the “open door immigration policy” under Labour for keeping UK citizens out of the low-skilled labour market. Highlighting government achievements so far he will say: “Well, never again. We’ve capped benefits and our work programme is getting people into jobs. Immigration down by a third.”

What amused me about the last sentence is what he says later:

And in a bid to give an upbeat message he will add: “I’m an optimist about the world. “I am a believer in freedom and free markets. I see the global economy growing. I see hundreds of millions of people in places like India and China leaving grinding poverty to join it. That’s something to celebrate.”
Maybe I am mistaken but I always thought that "freedom and free markets" stood alongside open immigration. Call it pragmatism if you like but politicians only ever sing from the right song sheet to the extent that it aligns with popular beliefs - and getting re-elected.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I very much like the get-tough welfare policy but the UK will need to cut immigration by MUCH more than a third if they are to avoid massive social unrest in the near future.