Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Long Term Unemployment to be (virtually) a criminal offence.

George Osborne is announce at Conservative Party conference in Manchester that 200,000 benefit claimants who have been out of work for two years will be placed on a new "Help to Work scheme", where they will be made to either work 30 hours a week for six months doing community work, attend the jobcentre on a daily basis to look for work, or undertake a mandatory regime for dealing with the issues causing their unemployment, such as mental health problems or drug addiction.

So how different is Community Service for people n the United Kingdom ,convicted of crimes who are required to perform community services or to work for agencies in the sentencing jurisdiction either entirely or partly in lieu of other judicial remedies and sanctions, such as incarceration or fines. community service is now officially referred to by the Home Office as more straightforward "compulsory unpaid work".Compulsory unpaid work includes up to 300 hours of activities, such as conservation work, cleaning up graffiti, or working with a charity. The Howard League for Penal Reform (the world's oldest prison reform organisation) is a prominent advocate for the increased use of community sentencing in order to reduce the prison population and improve the rehabilitation of those sentenced for criminal activity.

Convicted Felons or Long term Unemployed. Can you see a difference?

Are the long term unemployed going to wear similar "uniform" and will it distinguish them . Will they be open to abuse from the public who assume that they are convicted criminals.

Assuming they get help in travel costs does this mean that they will have to paid much more a week in order they can attend a Jobcenter on a Daily bases.

The new scheme will cost £300 million a year. As yet, there is very little evidence to suggest it will deliver a return on that investment.

The whole Workfare Programme has been a complete failure  where those finding work on the scheme have fallen far less on expectations

And less face it . What future employer faced with the CV of a person spending 30 hours a week picking up litter will be impressed to offer that person a job?

Of course this announcement trailed well before Osbourne speech was there to distract from the Governments economic failings and the fact that there was no real good news..

It was there to say "We are not out of this economic mess and its all the fault of that huge number of work-shy people who are doing nothing whilst "Honest decent people are going to  work each day"

Actually Aside from the fact that,he 200,000 long-term claimants of unemployment benefit targeted by Osborne make up just 5 per cent of JSA claims and only 2.5 per cent of the overall benefits bill and only a small percentage of these are actually work-shy the majority are victims of circumstance 

Demonising the unemployed plays well and helps to give the impression that its not the failure of government policy thats the problem.

But is treating them in the same way as criminals the answer?

1 comment:

  1. It certainly isn't the answer. A previous scheme in the 1980s - the community program - was voluntary. Gave you 16- 20 hours work for community organisations doing things of use in the community, that did not substitute for someone's real job. It paid benefit + 50% and gave you full access to full benefits that might otherwise be stopped. It was genuinely useful and I would welcome a reintroduction of it. It helped with life skills and gave the community some worthwhile projects that gave real benefits to the wider community. And it wasn't compulsory.... This penny pinching vindictive plan just does not measure up. It fails on all measures.