It helps to work it out

So, the Tories, on our behalf – we being the hardworking families – are clamping down further on skivvers, loafers and loungers. The latest wheeze is a punitive regime for people out of work for more than 3 years. Scrape the surface and as usual, there’s a lack of substance to match the rhetoric. Still, got to feed the conference masses.

First, they don’t seem to know how many folk will be targeted. Media reports today suggest 200,000 people a year claim Job Seekers Allowance for more than three years. Yet, ONS ONS Labour Force SurveyLabour Force stats appear only to provide data for those claiming for two years or longer. I’m sure someone in the bowels of government data land knows how many people have been unemployed for more than three years, but I think we can assume its less than the 200,000 being bandied about by the Tories.

And here’s a thing – old DWP data from 2010 indicates that the total number of people claiming JSA for more than two years was just over 100,000. The number would appear to have doubled in less than three years thanks to Tory economic policies. So the UK Government is about to use lots of our hard worked for taxes to sort a problem it appears to have helped create in the first place. Great.

There’s some confusion too about which particular scroungers are being targeted this time. But as the people likely to be on income related JSA are those on benefits long term, we can hazard a guess that it will include disabled people and carers, including of disabled children. Exactly the sort of folk we should be hounding to the job centre on a daily basis.

On which, has anyone looked at a map of job centre locations recently? If you live in rural Scotland, in particular, you’re going to struggle to afford daily round trips to the local job centre to find work.

As for the “mandatory intensive regimes” for folk with “underlying problems” such as substance misuse and illiteracy, where are these additional services going to spring from, when budget cuts elsewhere have hit hard?

The thirty hours a week community work seems fair enough on the face of it, until you factor in the need for PVG scheme membership for some of the roles being bandied about, then there’s training and other regulations to think about. Which suggests that the £1500 average going to be spent on this scheme per person won’t actually stretch that far.

But never mind the detail, or the impact, or the cost, feel the column inches and the warmth of that conference applause.

4 thoughts on “It helps to work it out

  1. If there’s 30000 jobs and 90000 wanting work, what you do with the 60000 who are unsuccessful.
    This reminds me of the comedy sketch about eating the unemployed.
    Eventually there is no one left as each group of workers in turn becomes unemployed.

  2. This is more flimsy and ill thought out politics from the Govt. – get the press release out first…aim for the benefit scroungers as an easy target…worry about the practicalities later.

    You make a good point about “mandatory intensive regimes” for folk with “underlying problems” such as substance misuse and illiteracy – what on earth does that mean in the real world?

    As for the figures, it’s a case of deciding what the problem is and then find the figures to back it up, rather than the other way around.

    A popular refrain from this govt. has been families with ‘3 generations of benefit claimants, where no family members have worked’. A study last year by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation concluded that the number of families in the UK actually fitting this description was miniscule.

    Of course you could argue about the definition of ‘3 generations of benefit claimants’ but the point is that this is simply a very neat soundbite based on, as far as i can tell, anecdotal evidence.

    The benefit system needs reform, and i’m not saying this is easy, but a lot of this is just bashing those who are least able to defend themselves…bullying, i suppose.

  3. Never mind rurally. It was a serious hit on my JSA when I was unemployed just to go once a week (Thanks First Glasgow). I literally couldn’t afford to go 5 days a week if I was still on JSA. Unless they’re planning to increase the allowance (Seriously doubt it) then all I see this policy accomplishing is creating even more food banks.

    Part of me thinks this policy is never going to actually come to pass anyway. It’s just to feed the delegates and give the Lib Dems something to veto in order to make themselves feel better.

  4. Plus, how much extra DwP staff time will it take to implement daily visits & supervising work in the community? How much will that cost?

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