Saturday, January 05, 2008

Back to Work Boys

Conservative Party leader, David Cameron, is expected, next week, to reveal radical new ideas as part of a broader plan to encourage the 3.1 million people in long-term unemployment back to work. If he is the next Prime Minister, then such proposals, will without doubt, have a visible impact on areas of higher deprivation and unemployment, which include Thanet.

In a Green Paper on welfare reform, to be launched in Brixton on Tuesday, he is also expected to say that he has not ruled out controversial plans to place time limits on some benefits and will also propose a "screening" regime to identify fraudulent claimants of invalidity benefit, cutting benefits to people who refuse to make themselves available for work and forcing lone parents to seek employment once their youngest child reaches the age of four.

The social security budget currently costs £140 billion a year and estimates puts its fraudulent element as high as 30%.

Both Tony Blair, before he left and Gordon Brown, more recently, announced plans of their own to deal with the problem of long-term unemployment but with a generous welfare state, unemployment, is hard to solve.

By widening access to university education and by growing the size of the public sector dramatically, the Labour government has managed to paper-over one part of the employment problem, although the ultimate consequences will be seen in the approaching public-sector pensions black-hole and a generation of student debt and a dilution of standards at the academic level. However, with maybe as many as a million new workers from Europe now competing for the jobs that the long-term unemployed refuse, I find it hard to see how any policy from any party, is going to have the required impact on the hard-core unemployable.

What jobs exactly are they going to do I wonder? More importantly, with next week's GCSE education results predicted to show that numeracy and literacy figures are even worse than before, what jobs can they do?

It's a problem that defies an elegant solution but one, when one considers the need to grow and sustain our own local economy, needs a campaign, that actually works and which doesn't hit the poorest and most vulnerable hardest.


sue said...

I don't understand how a lone parent of, say 20, can go to work once their child is 4 if they cannot afford the childcare costs.
Some benefits already have time limits (Jobseekers allowance).
There is already a screening programme in force to identify fraudulent claimants. The problem, as in so many things,is failure to enforce existing legislation.
If any Government wants people to go back to work, they must make working a better option than staying on benefit, not by cutting benefits, but by making the minimum wage realistic, rather than the slave wage it currently is.
£5.52 for workers over 22. (why isn't it over 18?)
£4.60 for workers 18-21.
£3.40 for 16-17 year olds.
So someone over 22 can earn £220 for a 40 hour week which is probably reduced to about £175 after deductions. Laughable.
If anyone mentions Working Tax credit, I will laugh even louder.

Anonymous said...

Please read to the end before commenting :

(1) Outlaw redundancy and severance compensation.

(2) End the benefits system and replace it with a reversible tax system. One govt bank. Deducting or paying out tax credit according to the level of economic activity. Sack all benefits public servants without compensation.

(3) (see (2)) End any differentiation between being economically inactive through being unemployed or through being sick. ONE category ... economically inactive ... one rate of tax credit.

(4) Euthanasia for drug addicts and drug pushers

(5) Mandatory adoption of single mother babies.

(6) End to immigration.

(7) Properly declare multiculturalism unlawful.

(8) Extend availability of allotments.

(9) End grant aid to industry (that is a bigger rip off than benefits fraud)

(10) Increase the Regular and Reserve Armed Forces. Bring back National Service.

(11) End all dumbed down degree courses and stop any public funding of courses such as drama studies, womens studies, retail studies, business studies, sociology.

(12) Sack all social workers without compensation

(13) Sack all police interpreters. Anyone who is charged with an offence who does not speak English to be summarily executed with no rights of defence.

(14) Outlaw gypsies or any form of travelling lifestyle.

(15) Roads into Canterbury, Winchester, York and any other place with a cathedral or church to be for Christian use only. (to bring us in line with Islamic countries)

(16) Vandalism to be made a capital offence.

(17) Charity to be banned from any activity except of providing care. IE Ms Chakrabarti of Liberty would not get any air time to exert her non judicial, non democratic influence over our laws of the realm.

Or put another way Simon. As far as an answer, to this country's plight, goes I am b-ggared if I know. But let us at least give Eastcliff Richard to quote on his blog as he has been scoring a few zero comments of late.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the above especially points 7, 10,15,16 and 17.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 12.07 I agree with you 100%. Have you considered running for local government ?!?!
Now watch the abuse come, many people would agree with your points but are villified on this blog for daring to have an opinion contrary to others.
The sad thing is, I am not sure if you are joking or serious about the points you make, however, it will take something as radical as your list of points to get this country out of the pan and proud again.

Anonymous said...

The extreme solutions you suggest 12.07 are I hope offered tongue in cheek. The problems facing Cameron et al when they form the next Tory Govt are going to require a good few years to sort out. The greatest difficulty is going to be to grasp the nettle and remove this country from the EU and its immigration/free movement policy. We are never going to get the 'slackers' back into work as long as there are those prepared to work for less than our pathetic minimum wage. As Sue, points out above, you cannot possibly raise a family as a single parent on the minimum wage. There used to be something called 'market-forces' and it worked quite simply on the basis that if you could not attract workers you raised pay rates until you did. Such 'market-forces' also mean that when you have 600,000 east europeans happy to work for less, wages will be depressed. The two factors that distort the market place in labour are benefits and mass immigration. A simple example of the latter was the reduction in farm-workers wages when farmers realised that the 'Parish' would have to subsidise the reduced wages under the operation of The Victorian Poor Laws; the modern distortion depressing wages is Family Tax credits.

Anonymous said...

My comments above were slightly tongue in cheek. I hoped that the points would emphasise the difficulty the country faces.

Hard choices.

I am nearly 60. I recall when I was a young man an engineer who said that with a high proprtion of the workforce concerned with accounting for money (benefits, banking, rates, building societies, customs, inland revenue) and only a small proportion concerned with manufacture, farming, power generation etc that the country was doomed to ever increasing decline.

Back then this sort of man was seen by us youngsters as a prophet of doom.

But over the years I have watched the process by which the low risk parochial benefits comparatively too much. The public servant being a typical case.

I recall in 1963 a friend left school and his dad told him the day of the skilled man was over. We were horrified when he took his dad's advice and went straight to labouring at a paint factory and did not take an apprenticeship.

He bought his own house aged 21 with a 50% deposit. None of us have caught him. He was uncatchable. Amongst the rest of us are architects, surveyors, engineers.

Then there was the right to buy fiasco. What sort of country gives gifts of property to people who do not reward the country by being innovators, employers, entrepreneurs.

The increase of reward for low risk. It is a destructive trait.

I met another man, a boxing coach, whose sons got ten O levels apiece but both refused to go into sixth form and both became postmen. Their peer group who went through sixth form and university now provide some of their buy to let tenants.

If anyone wants to know what I would really do ?

I would repeal the Human Rights Act.

I would make all human rights in this country those that al;ready exist in Common Law.

I would educate the whole population that every person in this land is entitled to enjoy peace guaranteed by the Queen and that right requires no refinement by humans rights luvvies.

I would end Home Office power over police through the Courts to reassert that constables are independent ministerial officers of the Crown.

Then I would send the message out. Everyone is welcome in this tolerant monocultural constitutional monarchy but with the right to peace comes the duties of responsibility. If you don't like it then feel free to shift out.

I would massively increase the reserve forces and link their technical corps to industry and power generation etc to create a joined up technical education system available to the armed services and the economy.

I would increase the regular forces.

I would end the benefits system and revert to a reversible tax system. To lay off loads of parasitic public servants, to obviate any need for a national Id card scheme, to tackle the black economy, to tackle benefits fraud at a stroke and ensure that those working are entitled to be here.

I would change charity status so that to be a charity must involve direct care. Charity status would end for human rights groups (who distort the law by their influence and privileged position) for pressure groups such as those who lobbied for an advantageous position for single mother claimants.

I would publicly burn all copies of Home Office Key competencies for police and sack all the parasitic sociology type Home Office civil servants who aspire to dictating police practice and procedure.

Unless rape is involved then to be paid from the reversible tax system new single mothers would have to give baby up for adoption.

I would end severance and redundancy because all my working life I have seen skilled and professional men waste years of what should have been productive life hanging on for the redundancy. An end to compensation for failure would enhance mobility of skilled labour and encourage a constant effort to keep knowledge up to date.

I would introduce an Act which parallels the Health and safety at Work Act in law for quality control. In other words we would not aspire to own the means of production but we would own, by legislation the quality of goods made in UK.

I would repeal all laws protecting whistle blowers and replace them with a law making it an offence to fail to whistle blow. Bringing failure to report matters into line with treason law.

The vision is to match rights to responsibilities. End reward for people who cop out (such as those who leave school and become local benefits officers) low risk parochials. It follows that I would outlaw all public sector pensions. (apart from armed services and technical civil service IE useful people)

A difficult problem exists and it will take difficult measures to address.

As a constitutional monarchy we cannot have political union with Europe. There will be no need to legislate as it is already unlawful.

Anonymous said...

How doyou protect the genuine sick and disabled who can no longer work through no fault of their own?

Anonymous said...

Well apparently anon 5.01 considers euthanasia is the solution that would obviate the need for Doctors, Nurses and the NHS generally that would save even more money.

Anonymous said...

The sick and disabled would be classified, along with unemployed, as economically inactive and draw tax credit instead of benefits as there would be no distinction between being sick or being unemployed.

The fact is that the current benefits system was drawn up against a mathematical nonsense (contributory benefits) and a moral flaw (means tested benefits).

The moral flaw in means tested benefits is that its founding principle was to maintain a claimant at the level they have reached. hence within limits the system would try to maintain the duke in his castle and the homeless man on the street. No levelling up No levelling down.

The homeless man gets a pocket money sum drawn daily in cash to keep him on the street ? That cannot be right.

Sickness and disability. Let us look at that most obscene piece of admin called the all work test.

Let us consider for example a claimant with a bowel disorder. They are callewd for the all work test. Asked how many times they lose control of their bowels in a public place in the past twelve months. Eleven ? Sorry you are fit for work. Twelve ? OK you can have long term disability benefits. It is f-cking obscene.

The system is based on disability rather than incapacity from work. These are different things. Just look at disabled action groups. They can attend university for workshops in film making for the disabled, they can use the internet, they can use public transport to attend the Edinburgh fringe festival, they can tie themselves to railing at parliament. But they are not fit for any form of work ???

Then look at the conditions to receive mobility component of DLA. If you can prove that you are too inform to drive then you get full mobility supplement and a motability car.

The theme, of a good thread, is that hard choices lay ahead.

The reason so many people are fiddling inacapacity benefits is that it pays more than unemployment.

It is ridiculous to believe that a hulking unemployed labourer needs less nutrition than a diminutive wheelchair user. So the answer is to classify them all as economically inactive and pay them erqual amounts of tax credit froim a reversible tax system which would replace benefits.

For more than thirty years in Thanet the performance of the local benefits people, as examined by potential benefits fraud prosecution decisions, is that 10 out of 11 have been wrongly assessed and that the claimant made no profit above what they were really entitled to ?

In the 1970s and 80s Thanet had the ignominy of being featured in two Grannie business poor care standard expose' documentaries on TV. yet the principal civil servant in charge of Thanet benefits was proud that he was overall paying less than entitlement to the care home industry in Thanet.

So please do not be scared to abandon the benefits system. It is a mathematical nonsense , employing a vast number of public sector parasites who actually seem to make it their life's work to pay under entitlement even for the care of our elderly in private care homes.

The way reversible tax might work is this. Unemployed unskilled. 70% of national minimum wage. Starts course in plumbing. Tax credit increased to 70% of improver rate for a plumber. Qualifies .. 70% of pay rate for a basic plumber.

The system must work so that work always rewards more than the tax credit.

Actually anon 5.01 has worked for the NHS. take for example linear accelerators used to treat cancers ? Used four weekdays per week office hours. Shut down one week day for service. Not used weekends. Obscene. Invest over a million in a machine and then use it only four part days !

This is not just about quantity of treatments but quality as there is a thing called fractionation which can be improved by a greater linac availability.

Why does this sort of thing go on. The parallel departmentalist over managed bureaucratic nature of the NHS.

I also think it inevitable that we will have to tackle drug abuse. That will take the return of capital punishment for suppliers. It will take the segregation (internment) of drug users to separate the market from the supplier.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps I might add that it was anon 501 who faced charges under the Official Secrets Act for exposing the underpayment of benefits and the plight of those in sub standard private care.

His activity helped lead to the change of care home legislation from Section 37 of the Natioanl aSsistance Act and also helped lead to todays improved arrangements for monitoring standards in private care homes.

So I hardly need lessons in caring for my fellow citizens from a smug do nothing say nothing ad hominem commentator ?

anon again! said...

anon again!

Whilst I agree in principal with the lazy 'won't work' scum being forced into employment, it would be sinful to send a really sick or suffering person out to work.
I hope Mr Cameron has read what happened to Kanzler Schroeder, when he picked on the 5,000,000 unemployed Germans..... he got the boot!
National Service would be a wonderfull intrusion to the 'growing up' process.

Anonymous said...

I would pointout that the motablity allowance isn't always used on a motabilty car but pays for the disabled to travel in other cars as they are unable to drive or use public transport. it is all very well to disparage the disabled but those that do have no real concept of real disability which can be difficult to live with. A little compassion would not go amiss.

Anonymous said...

Ah, would this be the same Conservative Party that spent the early 90s getting as many claimants of Unemployment Benefit on to Incapacity as they could so as to massage the terrible unemployment figures?