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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Welfare reform must not perish over court ruling

Over at the Telegraph Lottie Dexter argues that a court ruling that calls on the government to scrap its controversial back-to-work scheme risks undermining the Coalition's entire programme of welfare reform.

She says that the victory in the Court of Appeal by University graduate Cait Reilly on Tuesday over her claim that requiring her to work for free at a Poundland discount store was unlawful marks the latest kick in the teeth for Department of Work and Pensions:

This controversial ruling throws the Work Programme, a central plank of Iain Duncan Smith’s initiatives, into question. Similar to the scheme that Ms Reiley was signed onto, the Work Programme time-limits benefits by automatically signing claimants up for intensive support; those aged 18-24 years must join up after nine months on benefit, and the over-25s after a year. And if they refuse this assistance, they risk having their benefits get cut.

These parameters underpin the success of a whole programme of welfare reform and their removal would strike the heart of the Tories' flagship social policy. Moving people into work relies not just on incentive, but also a set of terms and conditions.

The implementation of Universal Credit, which lets claimants keep some of their benefits when they start a job and in doing so makes work pay, provides a much-needed carrot.

A carrot, however, means little without a stick. And the threat of having no more benefit payments – life support money – is this stick. It is the linchpin of reform. It gives social workers a bargaining chip, and gives an incentive to the unemployed – often under confident, insecure and with no experience – to turn up at the start of the day.

It is the case of course that these schemes are not unique to this government. The previous Labour Government imposed a similar obligation on claimants.

Lottie Dexter though says that the Government must salvage something from this decision:

Far too often, these young people are left stranded in unemployment, their talents ignored and potential wasted. But these schemes give them a helping hand. They give them the basic skills that they don’t learn in school; turning up on time, working with a team and taking instruction and responsibility. And they can bulk up a CV, have a job interview and gain a referee.

Basic as this might sound our young job hunters don’t have these skills. Many are without a CV. Most are without experience.

As such we shouldn’t be too quick to write off the back-to-work scheme, and certainly not welfare reform. Back-to-work schemes are not 'slavery'.

The DWP have a long road ahead, but it’s a most important one and must be travelled.

We will have to see what the Department of Work and Pensions do next.
it's obvious that IDS* hsn't got a clue!
he should have accepted the move when it was offered!!
Their has never been any intelligent thinking about the root causes of unemploymwent and the last ones to expect are the DWP themselves.
The govt could solve Youth unemployment (or make a big dent in it) by looking at Agriculture, instead of giving subsidies to landowners for machinery (which does people out of work), give them labour as a form of subsidy. This would save taxpayer, the environment and have other positves

According to Wiki, Poundland is owned by Warburg Pincus, a global private equity firm with offices in the US, Europe, Brazil, China and India. It has approximately $30bn in assets under management. Poundland was sold to WP in 2010 for £200m.

A news report said that in one of Poundland's stores 80% of the staff were unpaid workers, providing free labour for the company, at the taxpayers' expense.

That the previous Labour Government applauds such schemes is no measure of the morality of them. That same government engaged in illegal and immoral conflicts.

Face it Peter, your party is in coalition with some pretty right wing bedfellows, who with LibDem help have pushed through a right wing agenda.

Unfortunately, despite your comment guidance, you have a tendency to not publish comments which are critical, but nevertheless meet your criteria.
Therefore I will not be surprised if this comment does not appear.
maen- do not be surprised if Peter does exactly what you do not expect...!
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