UK CRACKING DOWN ON UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS – Work and Pensions Minister, Iain Duncan Smith, plans to introduce a U.S style ‘work for benefits’ system that would effectively force all unemployed people to take unpaid full-time jobs or face being refused unemployment benefit.
The current Government has over the last 18 months introduced a number of welfare reforms in order to reduce the burden on the taxpayer. Whist many of these measures have been contended by opposing political factions they do, on the whole, appear to be fully supported by the taxpaying public.
We have become a society that feels welfare is an ‘entitlement’ however the vast welfare bill is crippling Britain and with the Right of Free Movement looming upon us the Government now needs to find ways of deterring economic refugees from a number of EU member states.
The idea is that anyone receiving unemployment benefit would be forced to work in the community. There are of course many jobs that need doing, such as cleaning the streets, tending communal gardens etc and this scheme will be a way to ensure that those on unemployment benefit are simply not permitted to get something for nothing.
The Government has already outlined preliminary plans through the Government’s ‘back to work’ scheme. It is intended that any one unemployed who fails to find appropriate employment will be required to work in community activities in order to earn their unemployment benefits; and anyone refusing such work will face having their benefits removed.
“It’s not acceptable for people to expect to live a life on benefits if they’re able to work.
The welfare state rightly provides a safety net for those out of work. But in return, jobseekers must do everything they can to get into work, that’s only fair” Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith statement to the Daily Mail
In a recent poll the public wholeheartedly supports welfare reforms and certainly feel that far stricter conditions should be applied for anyone receiving long-term welfare.
When the ‘work for benefits’ scheme was put to the public the YouGov survey clearly showed majority support in the scheme.
There will no doubt be concessions to the requirements. For instance the survey revealed that 67 per cent felt that unemployed mothers with children under the age of 4 should be exempt; however once children are in full time education then the ‘work for benefits’ rule should apply.
Mental and physical disabilities were also covered in the survey. Some 25 per cent felt that those with mental disabilities should be excluded whilst only 22 per cent felt that physical disability should permit exclusion.
It is of course a known fact that most physically disabled people are keen on working and being valued members of a taxpaying society – this was recently revealed in a separate survey in which over 87 per cent of disabled people confirmed their desire to work.
The Government plan to unveil the new ‘work for benefits’ scheme next week during the Conservative Party Conference and it is expected to receive full support from its members.
One section of the plan yet to be decided is whether the scheme should include those under the age of 25. Some feel that it is sometimes extremely difficult for our youth to find employment due to the lack of skills or experience.
However there are those that feel that the scheme would provide young unemployed members of the community with a purpose; other than sitting around all day doing nothing.
The Government has already tested the water with a small ‘pilot scheme’ where it discovered that a significant amount of unemployed would rather relinquish their benefits rather than participate in unpaid work.
The results of the pilot scheme is worrying on two fronts; firstly is does indicate that some are simply far too lazy and that the ‘entitlement’ culture runs too deep. Secondly there are fears that imposing such a scheme that is refused by the unemployed could result in higher levels of crime.
According to the latest Government figures some 170,000 people are listed as long-term unemployed and it is felt that such a scheme would tackle this issue effectively.