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.