On reflection …

! This post hasn't been updated in over a year. A lot can change in a year including my opinion and the amount of naughty words I use. There's a good chance that there's something in what's written below that someone will find objectionable. That's fine, if I tried to please everybody all of the time then I'd be a Lib Dem (remember them?) and I'm certainly not one of those. The point is, I'm not the kind of person to try and alter history in case I said something in the past that someone can use against me in the future but just remember that the person I was then isn't the person I am now nor the person I'll be in a year's time.

My first reaction when I read this was “what the fuck”?  The taxpayer is going to pay graduates to go on a working holiday?  The British government is actually going to hand over £500 of our hard earned money to a bunch of students so they can go on a taxpayer-funded jolly?  We’re bankrupt, do they have no sense?

But then I thought about the alternative.  What’s the alternative?  It’s a scheme for graduates that can’t afford a gap year and who don’t have a job.  So what would these students be doing if they weren’t going on a gap year?  They’d be at home claiming unemployment benefits.  There aren’t enough jobs to go around so getting rid of a few students is a good thing and £500 for a year is cheaper than a year of unemployment benefits.

The 10 week trip will give the students experience that will make them more employable in future.  Their time will be spent on projects such as building schools in Borneo, Costa Rica, India and Nicaragua.

So, rather thatn seeing it as a bad thing, let’s look at it as an opportunity.  Let’s invest £500 in sending a few more unemployables abroad to do community work and save the cost of paying them unemployment benefits.  Those that can’t afford to stump up the other £1,000 and pay for flights and vaccinations can be put to good use doing community work here in exchange for the benefits they’re receiving.  Which leads nicely back to my post from way back in October 2007 on forcing people on benefits to do community work.  Chris Grayling adopted a watered-down version of what I suggested for the Tories and this is just another half-hearted variation on the theme.

It’s a good idea but 500 students isn’t enough – it needs to be done a much grander scale which will not only save the taxpayer billions in benefits in the short term, it will encourage a work ethic in the wider population that will save money in the long term and will provide a workforce to clean up and improve our towns and cities.

Technorati Technorati Tags: ,


  1. Charlie Marks (365 comments) says:

    You ignore the fact that the long-term benefit claimants are concentrated in areas that have have deindustrialised – the issue isn’t unwillingness to work, but inability to find employment. There’s only so much community work that can be done. It’s actually cheaper to empower, like this scheme for graduates does – than to punish.

    We can’t address unemployment without discussing investment. The export of capital is a major factor in this – for the last thirty years corporations have been able to send their money overseas, unhindered by the government, open up factories and employ people for less, so they’ve no reason to invest here.

  2. wonkotsane (1133 comments) says:

    I’m not disagreeing with what you say Charlie but whether someone can’t find work or whether they don’t want to find work, what’s wrong with expecting them to work in exchange for the benefits they receive?

  3. Charlie Marks (365 comments) says:

    Unless the number of hours of work was related to the payment, I wouldn’t find it a problem – but I fear that the effect could be to have people working for substantially less than the minimum wage, thus holding down the wages of those on low-incomes.

  4. wonkotsane (1133 comments) says:

    The minimum wage, discounting benefits, for doing no work is usually somewhere in the region of zero. I’m not talking about changing the amount paid in benefits, just requiring long-term claimants to do something to earn them. I don’t think it’s enough to say you’ve paid into the system through national insurance and therefore don’t need to do anything else to claim off it.

  5. Charlie Marks (365 comments) says:

    As I said, that wouldn’t be a problem – claimants would welcome being able to do meaningful work.

    As long as the number of hours worked is linked to the benefit paid, those on low incomes would not face unfair competition.

    So for every, 5.73 pounds of benefit claimed there would be an hour of work.

  6. Stan (222 comments) says:

    I’m not sure what kind of work could be done that hasn’t already been contracted out by councils to private firms. Getting the unemployed to work for benefits could be seen as unfair competition and they would also start to become protected under the various employment laws.

  7. wonkotsane (1133 comments) says:

    There’s plenty Stan – all the value added jobs that there’s no money for such as street sign cleaning, gardening for pensioners, cutting back hedges and bushes in between what the council can afford to pay contractors to do, that sort of thing. It would require a change in the law to bring it in, the law could disavow them of employment rights.

  8. Stan (222 comments) says:

    Around my area the council have contractors that clean signs and manage the greenery, although as far as I know there isn’t anyone who does pensioners gardening for the council, (though there are plenty of small private businesses that do and I can’t imagine they would be too happy).
    There would be one hell of a storm if you tried to employ people for less than the minimum wage. If you changed employment law to allow it then legally employers could challenge the law to lower pay for everyone else.
    You would also have to choose who are the legal employers, the government, the councils or private contractors.
    And would you then pay expenses or would the workers have to pay transport and food costs out of their benefits?
    By definition claiments would also be unavailable for work and so be unable to claim benefits, so unemployment law would also have to be changed. As would the tax credits rules.
    Also, because of the governments crusade to remove people from disability benefits and make them available for work, an awful lot of mentally ill people are now joining the ranks of the long-term unemployed. At the very suggestion that they would be allowed into the homes of pensioners, the brainless tossers at the Daily Mail would have a field day.
    Wouldn’t it be easier just to create the jobs and pay proper wages?

  9. axel (1214 comments) says:

    i’m mentally ill and I have managed to get into work after 2 years of severe hunting, the real problem i found that was because there are now so many ex-IB people shuffling about the system, that made it harder for me, in theory because of my issues, i am guaranteed an interview but because there are thousands of people in my situation about and having job interviews, all the reserved places were gone and this is bad for people like me because Interview 8, as it is known, is usually infested by fat lazy work shy dicks, who beleive they are actually ill and cant work as opposed to being dumped on the scrap heap and not counted as unemployed because they are lazy work shy dicks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.