Merthyr Tydfil comes in for a lot of stick as reports That it tops the league in UK Blackspots. And we get the usual criticism that there are layabouts living of the dole.
Employment Minister Chris Grayling claimed too many healthy adults in 'unemployment blackspots' were treating benefit dependency as a way of life.
Strangely the most informed information comes from Jeff Randall ina n article in the Telegraph in lieu of a programme to be presented by him on Sky News at 7.30pm on Tuesday September 7.
If I am a wrong then I apologise to Randal but I suspect the programme will contain the usual edited Vox Pop concentrating on the few people who are abusing the system and not those who genuinely are seeking work but cant find any.
Because in his article he like every other commentator appears to blame the unemployed themselves.
All the commentators seem to make the claim that there are plenty of jobs if the unemployed are willing to travel
Randal claims that.
““They bemoaned Merthyr's lack of opportunities and facilities, yet refused to consider a 45-minute train ride to Cardiff. "Wouldn't know how to get there," one said.””
He does not mention that under Employment rules those seeking jobseekers allowance must look for work that is within a 3 hour round trip area.
Now if you have access to a car then this whilst daunting this is possible, but in a area like Merthyr would involve using often more than two forms of transport.
What employer is going to risk employing someone who has to rely on three different modes of public transport in order to get to work?
Even if they did , the idea that Randal gives that just outside Methyr are hundreds of jobs awaiting them is ludicrous but of course the media the current and previous governments cant see this.
But anyone can find someone on the Dole sitting on their backside but they are a small minority.
What about those who have been seeking work for years and are constantly rejected how many have been asked if they ever are invited to an interview ?
“How are you going to get to work on time if you can’t drive?”
How many are rejected by those at Human Resourced simply by the fact that they are long term unemployed or by they address.
Even if they has taken steps by improving their skills through further education. I suspect they would still discriminated against.
I have no problem with the argument that many people are on incapacity benefit who should not be; But this a result of people being encouraged by the government employment agencies over the years to do so in order to hide the true cost of unemployment.
No amount of welfare reform is going to create jobs. What we need in Merthyr and other Blackspots is the creation of imaginative schemes to create business ventures involving local people.
What we need is the creation of a Merthyr cooperative agency using the Mondragon in the Basque country that seeks to create jobs and have the finances to do so. These businesses will be based on local needs and skills and have the resources to create new skills.
After an initial set up which will be costly. Then these cooperative schemes could be self-financing.
Referring to people as layabouts and constantly emphasising the negative will not help the unemployed who genuinely seeking work ( the vast majority) one iota and increase and futher mean that Human Resources wiil refer to the post code when making decisions, and concentrating on a mythical belief that all we have to do is reform the welfare system will lead nowhere.
But in the face of a right wing media who will constantly oppose progressive socialist ideas as bringing jobs in the way I have suggested above .Who amongst the mainstream parties will have the courage to take it up?