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Will reform move people from welfare into work?

01:15 UK time, Friday, 30 July 2010

Ministers are to set out options for reforming the benefits system and moving people from welfare into jobs. Will this work?

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith says he wants radical reform to tackle a "culture of worklessness" and help the least well-off in society.

Ministers want to make sure that people don't find themselves worse off when starting a job than while on benefits, which they say is often the case under the current system.

Labour have questioned whether the plans are affordable and may result in cuts in welfare provision elsewhere.

Are you on benefits? How can the welfare system be improved? Should the plans involve cutting welfare? How can the government move people into work?

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.

Comments

Page 1 of 11

  • Comment number 1.

    Surely there can't be any sane person not claiming benefit that would resist this, so the issue here is not whether it should happen but will it work, and will it work whilst continuing to make benefits available to those for whom there is no realistic option?

    Its a reasonable question since on the one hand Duncan Smith talks like this whereas just today someone else from the same government announces that people can in essence keep their jobs for ever, a move that will substantially increase the benefits bill through keeping more young people out of work.

    I'm not at all convinced by the possibility of providing an incentive to give up benefits in favour of work. It would be nice if everyone on benefit would rather give them up and go to work for an extra £50 a week but sadly I think there's a lot that wouldn't. Just making sure that people aren't worse off when working is hardly a big incentive to work a 40 hour week as against a zero hour week. Eventually IDS will surely conclude that the real way forward has to involve getting stricter and more selective on eligibility not incentive.

    Doesn't seem to me much benefit in making benefit payments smaller. With the exception of people who seem able to haul their six kids along to a benefits office and emerge with the keys to a four bedroom detatched worth a half million, I'm sure there's more to be gained by addressing eligibility that quantity of benefit. Maybe there should just be a fairly blunt ceiling though, along the lines of whatever your circumstances, you're not getting more than £x per week.

    Eligability is where the big prizes lie IMO, with questions like how do we get people who have been sick back to work, and how do we avoid giving benefits to recent immigrants from anywhere. Unless these are tackled firmly its going to be hard to save large amounts of money , and I'm afraid that unless we make decisive legal changes to facilitate the necessary measures we can't even rely on our judiciary for commonsense help.

  • Comment number 2.

    Oh not again! the rehash of old Conservative policies from the 1990's first the GP fund holding, now "on your Bike" hopefully this time, they are serious and actually make it work.. and help people, but some how???
    they are actually correct people do want in the main to work, well that is my experience in Occ health, rare is the person who wanted to be out of work, but I suspect that people will not want to move unless there is help for a while to go home as support networks are important as I can testify to having moved to the US for work, and it is hard, to find friends, the willing hand to take the Children for a hour or even 5 minutes...
    oh and who help you home when the job comes to an end? as is happening to us, I am aware this is UK and so my problems at first appear out of the loop but in actual fact they are the same, whether you move abroad or 50, 100 or 300 miles down the road.

  • Comment number 3.

    I was laid off last year.

    During the time I was in work as a temp (nearly 2 years with the same branch of the government) I received very little help.

    With working Tax credits I had an income of £212 a week, but as a single person living on his own my weekly out goings for rent/utilities and travel was £162 per week.

    I had a total income of £50 a week to feed/clothe/entertain/save and pay for medical expenses. If I had not been laid off at the time I was, my tax credits would have been reduced to £9 per week and therefore my salary would have become £201 per week.

    During this time I had to take out an overdraft, because I injured myself and was unable to work for 2 weeks and also because I needed a root canal filling redone (and before someone says have the tooth pulled,it was cheaper for the root canal to be redone than have a new dental plate made (I lost a front tooth playing rugby many years ago and the tooth the plate locks to is the one with a root canal filling)).

    I was paid less than the staff who worked for me,and I also had a total of 8 days non stat days leave in the first year This was leave I could take when I wanted, this rose to 12 days a year in the second. (BTW I had to work the time up before taking it therefore November was about the only time of the year I could get a week off.)

    If IDS wants people to go back to work, I have a few suggestions.

    Close the Temp Agencies (on average they are taking 25-33% of the wage for doing nothing.)

    As a temp, if someone does a job for more than a year (maybe 2) that person should be offered a full time position. (How can a temporary position be over a year long.)

    Give some incentives to single people. (We still have to pay rent/mortgages/utilities etc same as a married couple with children)

    Means test child benefit and Pensions, in other words if you earn £50,000 you do not need CB and if your private pension is £500 a week you do not need a state top up. (or £600,000 a year, if she who must be obeyed left work today after 40 years service her pension would be £9,000 PA not bad for a fat cat civil servant:p)

    Make the min wage high enough so people can live on it and pay for emergencies and a pension,but hey their is no chance of that since the vast majority of companies that supported the conservatives pay min wage anyways.

    If the average wage in the UK is nearly £25,000, how come the min wage is £11,200. Where I live the bank staff are now on 1 year contracts at just above min wage, jobs which pay £40,000 in England pay £16,000 here ( I know this as I have sent job descriptions to friends these people recruit staff for large companies) in England with the salary omitted and have been told the figures and have laughed at the salaries I have then quoted.)

    Allow people to live IDS,and people will work. But threatening people and making them live in poverty does not make for a good society.

    Remember when people are reduced to poverty levels ill health and crime increase, so maybe it may be wise to speak to your bosses in the CBI and get them to actually give a damm for once (no hope I know, but we have to live with hope).



  • Comment number 4.

    Forget the protestations of the Tories that all they want to do is make people better off. This is really about saving money. After all, if you can stop paying welfare and compel people to take a job - any job, even if it is so poorly paid that they are worse off than when unemployed (isn't that a form of slavery?) - then you will save money won't you? Well, no you won't, because it never works. Like anybody else, we have a subset of people whose education and intelligence is not up to the requirements of jobs considered "desirable". Unless we take the very sensible position that unskilled work should be well paid, since we all want services well done by people happy in their job, we will have to pay these people to be unemployed. In effect, this means lots of industries employing lots of people - going completely against the mantra of Tory "efficiency". You see, efficiency does not make savings for the nation. It may increase company profits in the short-term, but it imposes a welfare cost on the rest of us. In effect, we will have to subsidise services we all need so that binmen, street sweepers, postmen etc. have an enjoyable life and feel valued and respected. How to pay for it? The resulting reductions in crime, improved health, and increases in taxation, will more than cover it.

  • Comment number 5.

    What chance of employment when you have a long term mental illness and a patchy or non existent CV?
    It's all well and fine saying people should be in work but when push comes to shove what employer is going to want to take on a person with severe mental illness who has not been employed for many years?
    The realistic chances of employment are slim for a person in that position no matter how much some DWP appointed doctor theoretically declares them suitable for employment.
    Many people with severe mental illness will be left impoverished by IDS's plans with little chance of a job, decently paid or otherwise,to better their quality of life.

    The Conservatives' plans are all about cynically punishing the vulnerable in society .
    New Labour if they had been in power would have been almost as bad.


  • Comment number 6.

    Unemployment benefits are only suited to those that chose to remain unemployed.
    For anyone who has held down a job, the amount you receive offers little or no support whilst you seek new employment.
    Having just visited the US, I was interested to learn that they receive just under their full pay for 6 months when they first get laid off.
    The Government also increases an employer’s tax if they have made staff redundant to discourage the option.
    The US method helps those people who lose their jobs to continue to exist for the next 6 months without going into debt or losing their homes.
    In contrast, anyone who has experienced our system will tell you that you cant survive on what is provided.
    If you are not claiming any benefits when you lose your job, then you will most likely only receive the smallest amount which is just unemployment.
    If your partner still has their job, then forget receiving any help with rent or mortgage bills.
    We do however help those who chose to exist on benefits.
    We allow single mothers to claim for additional children even when the first is paid for by the state and they haven’t engaged in any work between the first and second child.
    We pay benefits to people who move to areas without employment options.
    Anyone who has been to the coast in recent years will have noticed how many young people there are all living in substandard accommodation claiming benefits. It would make sense for those that were born in these seaside towns, but why do we pay for those that have chosen to move there whilst they were already unemployed.
    How many single parents out there now work part time rather than full time whilst on benefits.
    For some it’s a way back into the job market, but for most it’s a means to continue with benefits whilst working the minimum hours to stop the benefits agency from questioning their availability for work.
    We also hand money to people who have never contributed to our benefits system.
    If someone moves to the UK and works, then they should be able to claim. If they subsequently move their family to the UK, then why do we then make payments to these additional people. Only if they work should they be able to have advantage of our benefits system.
    In summary, if you put an end date on all benefits and treated it more like an insurance policy then we would all be better off.
    Those that were in genuine need could be offered more whilst those that abuse could only do so for a limited period.

  • Comment number 7.

    Decades have been spent tinkering with the Unemployment Benefits System. In that time the world has been assailed by the idea that every person without a job is a workshy benefits scrounger. What about the thousands of people a year on benefits who start their own business? They tend to get ignored, primarily because they do not provide a cheap supply of labour for casualised businesses.

    Welfare to Work is an unjust strategy to place all of the obligation to create jobs onto the Unemployed. It assumes, like most other, Government Strategies, that there are special reasons for people being unemployed and that those special reasons are entirely the fault of the Unemployed person.

    While there are no long term sustainable jobs being created by employers, the whole welfare to work strategy will simply dump people into short term, insecure, low paid work. This is an essential element of the culture of worklessness: it creates dependence on employers for income. The Government end up subsidising employers to take unemployed people into temporary work with no obligation. Unlike the unemployed who have an obligation to "actively seek work", employers have no obligation to "actively seek workers". It puts the bargaining power all on the side of the Employer. Who then get the major benefit of welfare changes.

    There is a National Unemployed Workers Union. Cameron and Friends might like to seek them out on Facebook. They have made many practical suggestions about welfare reform and have long discussed the scandalous practices in "job creation schemes".

    The truth is, most unemployed people - like most employed people - are not lazy, workshy scroungers. The Department for Work and Pensions in tackling benefit fraud and overpayments estimates the amount defrauded - or overpaid - to have fallen from an estimated £2 billion in 2000-01 to £800 million in 2006-07. Of course, these figures include the actual amount of money defrauded as well as "estimates" of the cost of recovery. The actual amounts at issue are, on average, less than £2,000. Sometimes this sum is "suspected" and recorded as thought it is "real". This huge "benefits fraud bill" is the greatest piece of evidence that the Government always puts forward when saying reform is needed. Jersey accounts for £94 million of the £319m million direct loss of tax revenue which extrapolates to £4Bn losses. Tax evasion by individuals using Jersey costs at least £1.16Bn a year. Yet, the DWP and Revenue (we have an integrated tax and benefits system) rarely pursue that kind of benefits fraud as a matter of moral panic despite being able to estimate it in the same way as they do for claimants.

    The massive power to investigate benefit fraud as a mixture of civil and criminal law is the single most powerful part of the system that prevents claimants from actually knowing what their options to move from benefits to work actually are. This, again, prevents people from being in control of their own finances and employment. Unless the determination of benefits is done in a transparent, independent and accountable way, then no amount of reform changes anything. It simply entrenches patterns of pushing people into the first, lowest paid job that happens along. Which is likely to be with an employer who also retains a tax accountant. Tax "fraud" costs the government fifteen times more than Benefits "fraud". Yet the benefits system takes no notice of it.

    This suits a casualised workforce of unskilled workers. Unlike the Chinese, Indian and Brazilian economies -here the workforce is becoming more educated, skilled and valued - the UK benefits system is a hangover from the workhouse that pushes people into low paid employment for the benefit of the Employer. Without a "duty to actively seek workers" being placed onto employers, the benefits system is doomed to fail and suffer reform every few years.

    As to those people starting businesses from a state of being unemployed, the benefits system actively discourages it. There are lots of small rewards for leaving benefits to becoming self employed. These are, generally, much less than those for entering employment with a.n. other. But to become self employed requires things such as understanding the market, locating customers and so on. All activities that the current benefits system treats as signs of fraud. Quite simply, the system herds the unemployed into low paid, temporary, unskilled work and discourages the creation of anything other than dependence on employers.

    Until that changes benefit reforms that benefit will only benefit employers. Not employees, taxpayers (who are funding massive corporate welfare) or the tax and benefits system. Just the worst employers who exploit the system to gain a big dose of corporate welfare.

  • Comment number 8.

    And it's taken the UK government this long to work out what the problem with the benefits system. Disgusting!

  • Comment number 9.

    The problem with the attempts by consecutive governments to get the unemployed back to work is that they have never been willing to put real investment into this. The way to get people into long term, meaningful employment is to create access to the level of training taylored to each individual's needs.

    However, since the present fashion is for cost cutting investment in the unemployed will never happen, so the choice for them will remain between a pointless subsistence existence on benefits, or a pointless existence on soulless, mind destroying minimum wage slavery.

    If the government wants people to get back to work DO something that tilts things financially in their favour and make REAL investments in their long term future.

  • Comment number 10.

    It's fine to want to get people off benefits, to want to remove disincentives to work. But you cannot do this without creating job opportunities. The tories want a smaller state, and rolling back benefit support is in line with this ideology- likewise, they are unlikely to get into the business of state investment to create jobs for the millions of people they say are on out of work benefits. Will the private sector create these jobs? I doubt it- if major cuts in public spending hurt the recovery, the private sector won't be able to produce more employment opportunities, and the competition for work will be even more intense with thousands of laid off public sector workers. People who have been out of employment for years stand little chance of getting a job when faced with such competition, and IDS needs to think harder about increasing job recruitment chances for the long term unemployed, assisting them to work through training schemes, not just withdrawal of benefits and 'on your bike.'

  • Comment number 11.

    Ok the Government is now saying that it will make sure people are not worse off by coming off benefits and returning to work.

    I am not on benefits and have a good job which I enjoy, however if I had come off benefits and was working all week only to find myself say £15 better off at the end of it I would not bother and I would stay on benefits, (just using £15 a week as an example).

    There is no point in getting up at all hours, commuting to work, working 8 or 9 hours a day, commuting back home and then going to bed early because you are knackered for an extra £15 a week.

    Ministers and others still fail to understand that people go to work to make a better life for themselves and their families and not for the benefit of the government or anyone else and people would like to know that going to back to work has the desired financial rewards for themselves.

    It all comes down to the old saying, “you work to live - not live to work”, you do not work all week for the benefit of your health, you do it for money and if you can get nearly as much by not working then why bother.

    The government and “experts” need firstly to understand the above and then put a lot more thought into how to make sure that it’s worth people going back to work in the first place

  • Comment number 12.

    Why does everyone assume that people on Incapacity are better off that if they were at work?

    I am a trained nurse and I was forced to give up work quite a few years ago. I get approximately £100 plus a week being on it and about £50 a week on DLA. I get no other benefits and I am on my own.

    Of course if I was fit enough to do the job I trained for I would be on a minimum of £17000 a year..............yes I can see I am really raking it in being on Incapacity Benefit.

  • Comment number 13.

    Same Tory rhetoric as three decades ago. Same absence of jobs to go with the weasel words. Tory mantra, page one, CCO issue 2010, version 1. 'Couldn't win the fete so we will take it out on those who stopped us'.

  • Comment number 14.

    3. At 03:11am on 30 Jul 2010, bob wrote:
    I was laid off last year.

    During the time I was in work as a temp (nearly 2 years with the same branch of the government) I received very little help.....

    Not surprising Bob. I didn't bother posting the rest of your comment in here as a lot of it was all 'poor me'. Not interested in your root canal, rugby etc.

    But some of the points you are making are already being dealt with. The child benefit is already being taken from those earning £40k and above, the means testing already takes place and the minimum wage is set at a sufficient level to allow people to live above the poverty line.

    Setting the minimum wage higher will make the UK even more uncompetitive and result in fewer jobs.

    I understand your grief about the fact you are not earning as much as you would like. But you have/had an opportunity as a temp that many people don't.

    You are in a work place where you can astound and impress. If you are ambitious enough, you would be pushing those of influence for more responsiblity and then seek a more permanent position.

    You are in charge of your own destiny. Sadly there are many like you who now bleat and moan and expect everything to be given to you rather than go out and get it.

    Become more than they expect and you will become valuable. That is how to get your £25k - not a 'it's not fair' 'they earn more than me' useless socialist atitiude that ultimately results in the self destruction of any civilisation.

    Get some gumption man!

  • Comment number 15.

    New initiatives. Training schemes. Financial incentives. Jobcentres. 100,000's of civil servants. In total, we are paying £billions every year to find a job for people employers would not touch with a barge pole. Politicians will not admit the bleedin obvious, there is about 250,000 people who are unemployable, and always will be. They have no education; no skills; no work experience. They may have problems with drink or drugs; criminal records; health; fitness. Some will simply be bone idle, and would be a burden to any company and it's workforce.
    No sane employer is ever going to employ them. Give them their benefits, and forget them. Stop wasting £billions on them.
    The rest of the unemployed are those who have unfortunately been made redundant, we have all been there. We will find new jobs without the "assistance" of civil servants or "incentives".
    Cutting benefits of claimants will save peanuts. Accept that some people are simply unemployable and the savings are massive.

  • Comment number 16.

    All very divide-and-rule this issue.
    I work 45 hours a week for £14k. I am not an idiot but feel like one most of the time.
    When bankers/mps are STILL ripping us off I would have no moral qualms in living off benefits if that brought in more money, having already damaged my health for no visible reward.
    The answer is to make jobs worthwhile, as in Europe. Britain is just a class/caste-ridden pit.

  • Comment number 17.

    like myself and ex wife we have worked all our life now she is injured and trying to get anything is very hard we have breed a society of benifit experts who know what to ask for if you donot know the system it is not good surly its time to work on a points system get points for time worked and get more if you donot work then there should be a basic amount like the soft touch on tv says people are struggling to pay bills what about the working man who struggles gets nothing only looses his home the working man in uk is lowest of low and has been for years

  • Comment number 18.

    Here we go again.

    When is the talk going to stop and the action going to begin?

    When are the 'desparately seeking work' grown-ups going to be asked what it is we need to get ourselves back into work. I know what I need to get the edge on the youngsters at job interviews, but until I get a job and save up the money for the qualification I'm thwarted. If the government can fund a student for 3 years at University to end up with a 'non-job' qualification, they can help towards funding for 'proper training' for those wanting it to get back into work. Instead of funding endless 'computer courses' that are pointless in many cases.

    When are the 'living from hand to mouth' grown-ups going to be asked how much we need to be able to live on.

    When are the unemployed people outside the '16 - 24' age bracket going to be noticed?

    When are those who are trying to get themselves off benefits going to be given the help they need to achieve this? instead of the ones who are happy to slob around all day being given more and more and more under the pretext of trying to change their mentality. Giving them less and less and less would soon see them changing their tune, especially if they saw that if they would do something to help themselves they would then get more support.

    If they want to get people back into work then they need to start listening to the people out of work and what it is we need to get us back on that ladder.

    Where, when there are threats of yet more job losses do they think all these jobs are coming from anyway?

  • Comment number 19.

    7. At 04:41am on 30 Jul 2010, hubert huzzah wrote:.....

    I agree with everything you are saying. The witch hunt against the unemployed and disabled is just smoke and mirrors by the Tories. The real travesty is the amount of tax avoidance in this country. But as the Tory money pot is a non domicile who doesn't pay tax you can clearly see where their sympathies lie.

  • Comment number 20.

    These types of measures are long overdue. Whilst I feel sorry for those who lose their jobs, and my job is in dire jeopardy at the moment, it is wrong that paid employment should ever amount to less than benefits. The incentive to work is immediately removed if you know that you are better off on the dole.
    The Labour governments desire to throw hard-working taxpayers money at the problem has exacerbated an already dire problem. The country is now left in a financial quagmire, with bankruptcy looming if we don't address this soon.
    The Coalition Government have hit the ground running and their reforms are being introduced at a breathtaking rate. Good on them. Someone has to take the bull by the horns and sort out 13 years of catastrophically bad governance.

  • Comment number 21.

    The problem is what you see in these posts - the same attitude that is now becoming the norm in this country.

    I am only earning £11k, £14k, 15K! Pathetic.

    How do we think we all started in this life?

    My first job only paid £8k and there was no minimum wage. But you work hard and you put up with it.

    You then make yourself invaluable and prove that worth more, so that your employers want yo to do more and are prepare to pay you more.

    The problem with the people on this blog so far are so busy moaning about their jobs and income levels that they fail to realise they are lucky to actually have a job!

    If you don't like it then resign and give up your job to someone who appreciates the opportunity more.

    13 years of Labour and we have ended with a generation who feel they are owed a living.

    Guess what!? You are not going to be given one.

    Hard work and ambition gets rewards. It can take time, but oddly the more ambitious and hard working you are more ofetn than not the greater the reward.

    The trouble with this latest generation now in work is that they have no concept of struggle and have ended being lazy, indolent and useless.

    I am now thinking that maybe Labour were right about the immigration. At least that way you get people who are actually willing to work and work hard.

  • Comment number 22.

    Open up the mines again, this will create hundreds if not thousands of jobs, pay a decent wage to the workforce this will rejuvenate the economy in many depressed areas. Its no good to keep harping on about how you are going to force the unemployed back into work, by withholding benefits or with other threats you can dream up. Most unemployed people want to find a job and better their situation, contrary to belief Not everyone who is on the dole is a scrounger. Its the government's job to help businesses expand so they can increase the workforce and not restrain them with so many petty rules and regulations as they are now, it is also the government's job to find work from around the world. All we ask from the government is "You DO Your Job! and we will do ours.

  • Comment number 23.

    Here's an interesting point.

    I am actually advertising a position at the moment, but I decided to remove the advert locally because none of the candidates really impressed or seemed to want the job.

    £20k plus bonuses and a partnership share in the business. But it would mean some weekend work, early starts (7:30am) and time sensitive work that would mean staying until the work was completed.

    Do you know what the killer was? 7:30am start!

    Pathetic.

    I shall be recruiting from abroad now.

  • Comment number 24.

    ''Should the plans involve cutting welfare?''
    Yes, because unless benefit is actually reduced, there is no incentive to get any job. Too many claimants consider that menial jobs are beneath them, hence they are done by economic migrants. By reducing the benefit sufficiently, claimants have a choice, take any job or get less. Simples, no? To have millions of people out of work when there are equivalent jobs taken up by migrants is the system of the madhouse.

  • Comment number 25.

    I have a little sympathy for those who have been forced on to benefits through no fault of their own, however I feel these are in the minority, just looking around my small local country town there is a proliferation of sulky, trying to look hard young men, but mainly women, now the vast majority of these young women have accessories with them, sorry children, many have more than one and most are from different fathers, you only have to ask around to find that out. One young girl who lives not far from me has five and is pregnant with a sixth from four different fathers she hasn't done a days work in her life and yet expects me and you to pay for her upgrade to a larger house, hence kiddy number six. Now i don't know about anyone else but I find that deeply offensive, the problem of course is that now these little breeders are in the system its going to be darn near impossible to get them off it, who's going to look after the accessories?

    On top of the breeders we have the career benefit expert, now these appear to be mostly young males and fathers to the above, who, probably rightly think they can scam more off the benefits system than they can at work. Now this is the place to start, the government has to start restricting these benefits in order to force them back to work, I know I know there isn't any jobs they say, but what they mean is there isn't any jobs they think they are worthy of, there's a big difference. These kids think they are above working for the minimum wage or just above, well tough, everyone else has had to start of at the bottom now its your turn, and I for one do not care how old you are, you made a career choice early in your life to scam the tax payer, now your're having to pay it back.

    Once the government starts to make in roads in to these people and those claiming ridiculous disability benefits, maybe, just maybe we'll see society as a whole beginning to smarten itself up, because at the moment these people make britain look very untidy indeed. I have no sympathy with blaming everyone else for your predicament, you got yourselves in it in the first place, well now's your chance to get yourself out of it and like everyone else you have to start somewhere and thats at the bottom. But I'm fairly certain that once you have started and realise there is a way out of your vicious circle you will stop blaming the very people that actually pay for your current lifestyle.

  • Comment number 26.

    Why don't they think these ideas through before attempting to put them into practice?

    The last idea "Work for your benefit" has just been scrapped because people were being pushed into jobs that they had no experience with, and the employers didn't have any interest in proper training programs and the jobs were of the type that you see the Community Paybackers doing.

    I am juggling 2 part time voluntary jobs at present. They're jobs that I enjoy doing, they're giving me experience, they look good on my CV. I've already had 2 potential employers commend my efforts, even though I didn't make the grade for their jobs. And I've submitted 6 job applications in the last 2 days.

    The people who should be vigorously targeted are the ones like one of my neighbors:

    "If I get a job who's going to look after my 4 dogs?"

  • Comment number 27.

    sircumspect:::: you were earning that much in your first job, wow, my first job I earned £25 per week and paid tax and NI.
    It's all very well you spounting your stuff, but the cost of living has gone up. Earning 11,000 per year these days you would take home approx £792 per month, providing your rent/mortgage is around £400 per month, after paying utility bills, you would have around £35 a week to live on, now as this is £10 more than I have now I'd jump at the chance, and that in your words would be my reward for hard work and ambition, I am now 50 and have worked my way up the ladder from the age of 15, kept my qualifications up to date. Wow some reward.

  • Comment number 28.

    the main problem i see is were are the jobs going to come from with there being such big cuts in the public sector it will only create more unemployment . what about the ones that are genuinely ill and cant work
    were do they stand this will be laid wide open for the disabled to be persecuted like i said before you cant send people back to jobs that dont exist the uk doesn't produce anything any more

  • Comment number 29.

    The government need to work on the recovery of the UK, create jobs that are worthwhile and entice people to working in them. Read the local papers, how many jobs are valued over £12k per annum? Someone on benefits earns far greater than that. Housing rent £625 per month or more, council tax paid £130 per month, then given the living allowances etc. if you were working you would need to earn in excess of £1200 to pay for this.

    Minimum wage should be £15k tax free. Max unemployment benefit allowance should be a lot less than this, but you are able to work tax free up to the £15k (benefits included) then start paying tax. It's easy to say go out and get a job, how many people would employ a school leaver with no skills? or an over 50 with skills you don't need?

    And yes I have been there in the early 1990's unemployment in my town 28%. I worked over 1 year for £5 a week more than sitting on my backside, but that was one of the biggest investments in my life.

  • Comment number 30.

    Here we go again! The Tories are not in five minutes and it’s bash the poor again. How on earth can a bunch of millionaires struggling on six figure salaries and non dom status have the slightest idea of the lifes of ordinary people?? People want to work but not for nothing.Why don’t we address the problem of low wages.Why is it left to the tax payer to finance firms who pay poor wages ?? Why is benefit fraud see as an evil crime yet tax evasion a sport?? Costing the tax payer 15 times as much money...people get the government they deserve??

  • Comment number 31.

    "14. At 06:54am on 30 Jul 2010, sircomespect wrote:
    '3. At 03:11am on 30 Jul 2010, bob wrote:
    I was laid off last year.

    During the time I was in work as a temp (nearly 2 years with the same branch of the government) I received very little help.....'

    Not surprising Bob. I didn't bother posting the rest of your comment in here as a lot of it was all 'poor me'. Not interested in your root canal, rugby etc.

    You are in a work place where you can astound and impress. If you are ambitious enough, you would be pushing those of influence for more responsiblity and then seek a more permanent position.

    You are in charge of your own destiny. Sadly there are many like you who now bleat and moan and expect everything to be given to you rather than go out and get it.

    Get some gumption man!"


    Never been out of work, have you? Or perhaps more opportunities came your way when you were.

    Try astounding and impressing as a temp in the current economic climate, and you may find the permanent workforce closing ranks to ensure you don't threaten their jobs. Seen it happen. Seen the people who stand around for half the day explaining to each other how busy they are, and the ones who get on with their work are the ones who lose their jobs. Can you explain that one? I can't.

    Stop lecturing.

  • Comment number 32.

    Sircumspect::::::I am actually advertising a position at the moment, but I decided to remove the advert locally because none of the candidates really impressed or seemed to want the job.

    Did you advertise nationally before you advertised internationally?
    What about giving someone a chance at the job on less pay until they are up to your standards?

    See it's people like you who are moving jobs abroad because you can't be bothered investing and training some from the UK that are adding fuel to the fire of the so called need to immegration needs.

    Solomondogs:::::::::I would do 'menial jobs' indeed I did last year had 3 temporary cleaning jobs, spent 12 hours a day cleaning up other people's mess, yet when it came to employing me on a permanent basis I was told I didn't have the relevant qualifications to even apply for the job, the person who got one of the jobs........yep was an immigrant. The fact that I was willing to take the 'you can mop a floor' certificate, didn't make any difference, the company wern't willing to help towards the cost of the qualification and as I was earning minimum wage I couldn't afford the whole cost myself.

    You lot spouting off your mouths about spongers etc etc, need to get your facts straight, companies these days would rather take on someone from abroad who has more experience or qualifications, rather than invest time and training for someone from the UK. Not everyone can be experienced or qualified for every job, and as you need qualifications to even mop a floor these days........well need I say more.





  • Comment number 33.

    22. At 07:26am on 30 Jul 2010, mascotman wrote:

    Open up the mines again, this will create hundreds if not thousands of jobs, pay a decent wage to the workforce this will rejuvenate the economy in many depressed areas.

    >>>

    Why will producing thousands of tonnes of coal that no-one wants, help anything? These would be jobs for jobs sake, no different to the much derided 'Community Cohesion Co-ordination Support Manager' type of job.

    I'm sorry to say this but heavy industry, manufacturing and especially mining (except certain small scale specialisms) won't come back to this country and the reason is that the unions simply don't understand that if the product sells for £1000, you can't pay the worker £1100.

    On the topic subject, I have always had a lot of time for IDS, but these ideas surprise me, at a time when everyone else is on an austerity drive.

    These are NOT punitive enough. There is a significant cohort of people who are perfectly content living off the benefit system.

    Before anyone starts, I KNOW that many people want to work and are realistic and are on hard times. Believe me, I know that is true.

    But I'm not talking about the good people.

    I'm talking about the generational and the contented unemployed. Those who's father never worked, those single mothers with two kids from different fathers, whose mothers were single parents too. Those utterly unrealistic kids who feel that they should be earning what some of their school friends earn. Those dreamers who were once something important, and consider themselves above taking 'any' job. The crooks who are already working too hard to take a national insurance job. Those who can't possibly take a job because of their bad back (I have a bad back. Get some Diclofenac and get over it).

    I'm referring to the idle, the feckless, the selfish and to anyone who stands with his hand out and a sullen expression.

    Your money should be taken away and you should be given food coupons. Why should you be able to get Sky, cars, plasma TVs, cigarettes, alcohol etc on MY taxes? You may feel aggrieved and let down, but frankly, your feelings are nothing to the levels of resentment and contempt that million of us taxpayers hold you.

    YOU are the problem.

    However, any person who is genuinely unemployed and feverishly searching for a job should be given total help. Their postage, travel expenses, interview clothes should be paid for. They should receive personalied advice, counseling, support. I wouldn't mind if they DID have Sky, cars etc as long as they are looking for work. I have experienced the soul searching that has to be done when the main bread winner comes home with a letter of redundancy in his hand.

    These people MUST be helped and it would be a good use of our taxes to do so.

    One last thing.
    Before the workshy and lefty whingers start, let me just say that I have spent more time in a JobCentre/Unemployment Benefit Office than you. I worked in one for about eight years and I know what I am talking about. If you have done more time in a Jobcentre than me, then how come you can afford a computer & an ISP after more than eight years of not working?

  • Comment number 34.

    To Iain Duncan Smith as a person on bnefits due to mental heath problems
    where are the jobs for me when fit people cannot get jobs.All you will do
    is make more people ill.

  • Comment number 35.

    Up the tax free limit to at LEAST 10k a year and keep it going up year on year.
    Otherwise there's simply no point, you just get taxed to death.
    The best system is the Personal allowance PLUS council taxes to be a persons tax free lower level.

    Council tax sucks 100-300 a month in cash out of peoples pockets, so 2500 a year disappears before you EVEN WALK OUT THE DOOR.

    So the 6500 personal allowance is currently 4000 in reality.

    Council tax is a second permanent mortgage eating at your wealth which leaves you with no choices.
    Council tax also destroys property prices.

    Dublin/Ireland property values rocketed past London because no-one pays council tax in the Republic.

    The higher the council tax goes, the lower the property prices will be.

  • Comment number 36.

    Iain Duncan Smith seems to think the current system is a mystery to many people claiming benefits. No so. I think he'll find many of the jobless know the system very well, it is their career to know all the angles. Making the system simpler is to be applauded, but his focus should surely be on simply getting people off wellfare. Good luck with that, it's needed! It's not religion which is the opiate of the masses, it's a labour government.

  • Comment number 37.

    "23. At 07:34am on 30 Jul 2010, sircomespect wrote:
    Here's an interesting point.

    I am actually advertising a position at the moment, but I decided to remove the advert locally because none of the candidates really impressed or seemed to want the job.

    £20k plus bonuses and a partnership share in the business. But it would mean some weekend work, early starts (7:30am) and time sensitive work that would mean staying until the work was completed.

    Do you know what the killer was? 7:30am start!

    Pathetic.

    I shall be recruiting from abroad now."


    7:30 start and you're posting at 7:34. Busy, then?

    If the only reason for people not wanting your job was the 7:30 start - there's more to it than that, whatever they told you.

  • Comment number 38.

    "11. At 06:17am on 30 Jul 2010, Alan Baker wrote:
    I am not on benefits and have a good job which I enjoy, however if I had come off benefits and was working all week only to find myself say £15 better off at the end of it I would not bother and I would stay on benefits, (just using £15 a week as an example)."

    And your attitude is just one of the problems we face. If you chose to go onto benefits as you get more money, why should you be allowed to sit on your backside at home while the workers in the UK subsuidise your life?

    Where's your pride in providing a living for yourself rather than leeching from the rest of us?

  • Comment number 39.

    Employers have got the notion these days that all they have to do is pay minimum wage and the benefits system will top up pay. They also employ many staff through agencies ensuring they can be got rid of at a moments notice if any of their staff should have the temerity to complain,say,about work conditions. Of course this also means they can pay their directors 6 figure sums and huge bonuses whilst paying their staff Dickensian levels of pay.I dare say a lot of Victorian employers had a tad more decency than some of their 21st century versions though.

    But so much of all this presupposes that there actually proper jobs out there that need doing.I have been out of work for 3 months and the Jobcentre vacancy screens locally are filled with dubious sales and charity door to door part time 'jobs'. All I want is a decent employer with a proper job that I can get involved with, and be rewarded properly and appreciated for my efforts. In 2010,this seems too much to ask.

  • Comment number 40.

    "The welfare system is only there as a safety net in good times, but with the lack of jobs in the U.K. Reform wont help any one get a job? but if its cut the rates {which are very low now } This will lead to many more homeless familys and single people which may lead to an increase in petty crime , drugs and alcoholics {Nothing to lose so why not?Without many new proper jobs we will all have a bleak future in the U.K.

  • Comment number 41.

    I retired a few years ago, on a decent pension and hate it. 'Done that...didn't like'.
    It should be down to the individual as to when they finish working.

  • Comment number 42.

    by reform, im guessing that means punishing or bullying those on benefits, how abouts creating more UK jobs and force companies to employ here instead of being able to offshore jobs. its common knowledge that there are currently 12 people for every available job, so their headline ideaof getting people back into work, does not add up, yet they still carry on as if there are jobs for everyone, and people are simply refusing to go to work, the truth is there is not enough employment to go round.

    you can bet the kind of jobs this government will eventually generate, will be ones of long hours, and lowest rates of pay, to ensure the menial workers are taken advantage of by greedy get rich quick investments, designed to provide maximum profit for investors, whilst paying the lowest possible wages.


  • Comment number 43.

    IDS says he ws trying to make the people of out of work "better off, and their families better-off, than they would be out of work and on benefits".

    I think this will not work. Successive Govts have tried and have failed. Benefits ought to be at a level that people feel they are worse off on benefits. Benefits should be at a level no more than people’s ability to earn and ought to be time limit, say no more than a year. The benefits from all sources should be restricted to no more than minimum wage level less 10%.

    Some pacifist would say 'there would be revolution' and riots in the streets. To eliminate the malaise of the last 40 years we need a 'revolution'.

    It is not the jobs which are a disincentive, the level of benefits are. No wonder generations have been lost to work ethics and living on benefits has become a NORM!!

    President Clinton took revolutionary steps like time limit the benefits and drastically reduced the level of benefits and he had big success. IDS has the vision and coalition has the stomach. LET US DO IT!

    It may sound cruel but human beings are lot more resourceful than our successive govt have given credit to them.

  • Comment number 44.

    The fundamental principle here is to make it financially more advantageous to work than to be on benefits, a simple solution CAP all benefits payable to an individual at 75% of the minimum hourly wage rate x 40 hours or approximately £9,000 per annum.

    Stop paying people to have children.

    Get people off disablility benefits (subject to stringent and regular medicals) and into work.

  • Comment number 45.

    Surely instead of paying large numbers of civil servants to process tax credits etc - why not abolish tax credits etc and simply increase tax allowances to about £12000 ( the minimum wage) pa per person.This would eliminate much of the financial advantage of being on benefits and vastly reduce the number of salaries being paid by the taxpayers to administer the system. The Tax allowance should be indexed to the minimum wage so that no minimum wage earner suffers any deductions. National Insurance and council tax should be incorporated into the tax system. This would vastly simplify the sytem, reduce local authority costs and be fair as everyone would pay the same according to their income.
    So the new system would be fair, simple, very inexpensive to operate for the tax payer and procide real incentive to work.

  • Comment number 46.

    As with all these things, there is too much carrot and not enough stick! The incentives work fine for those that want to work - but what about those that don't?

  • Comment number 47.

    I think this will not work. Successive Govts have tried and have failed. Benefits ought to be at a level that people feel they are worse off on benefits. Benefits should be at a level no more than people’s ability to earn and ought to be time limit, say no more than a year. The benefits from all sources should be restricted to no more than minimum wage level less 10%.

    Some pacifist would say 'there would be revolution' and riots in the streets. To eliminate the malaise of the last 40 years we need a 'revolution'.

    It is not the jobs which are a disincentive, the level of benefits are. No wonder generations have been lost to work ethics and living on benefits has become a NORM!!

    President Clinton took revolutionary steps like time limit the benefits and drastically reduced the level of benefits and he had big success. IDS has the vision and coalition has the stomach. LET US DO IT!

    It may sound cruel but human beings are lot more resourceful than our successive govt have given credit to them.

  • Comment number 48.

    The truth of the matter is that the cost of living in the UK is unsustainable for people who earn the minimum wage therefore the government has to prop up their incomes.

    This has nothing to do with 'rubbish' jobs but the fact that the government is owned by the CBI, utility companies and the banking industry.

    In short capitalism is to blame BUT i am in no way demanding that we enter socialism, just a more sustainable way of life.

    Maybe we should have a harsher depression to force prices down everywhere to a realistic level.

  • Comment number 49.

    37. At 08:07am on 30 Jul 2010, ruffled_feathers wrote:

    7:30 start and you're posting at 7:34. Busy, then?

    If the only reason for people not wanting your job was the 7:30 start - there's more to it than that, whatever they told you.


    I started work at 6:30am actually and I run the business so I can do pretty much what I want when I want. That's what ambition got me! :)

    You may be right, it might not be the 7:30am start, but judging by the rolling of the eyes and the general lack of enthusiasm - I still wouldn't employ them.

    Oh and Muse - BTW the job involves 6 months of on the job training and one month trade college training. So the investment in someone from the UK is pretty vast.

    The problem is that I have yet to meet anyone from the UK who has any form of work ethic.

    You're right maybe it's me. Permanent position in a growing company with the opportunity to share in its success. Tch what is wrong with me?

    No qualifications needed either, just buckets of enthusiasm, an ability to perceive design, use a computer and oh - a willingness to work.

    Yep you're right its me.

  • Comment number 50.

    "11. At 06:17am on 30 Jul 2010, Alan Baker wrote:
    I am not on benefits and have a good job which I enjoy, however if I had come off benefits and was working all week only to find myself say £15 better off at the end of it I would not bother and I would stay on benefits, (just using £15 a week as an example)."

    And your attitude is just one of the problems we face. If you chose to go onto benefits as you get more money, why should you be allowed to sit on your backside at home while the workers in the UK subsidise your life?

    Where's your pride in providing a living for yourself rather than leeching from the rest of us?

    Oh Dear Clair you still do not get the point do you, we have in this country whole generations where words like pride, work, loyalty and providing are alien to them thanks to being molly cuddled over the last few decades to the point where they cannot be bothered.

    As for leeching of the rest of you I never have and my Income tax alone works out above 5 figures a year which I am quite happy to pay.

    All I was trying to point out that there is NO INCENTIVE for these people to return to work, most of the wages being offered are appallingly low and in many cases the standard of living for these people and their families drops considerably when they do return to work so very often these days “pride” takes second place to putting food on the table for their children.

    You may enjoy working like a donkey for a pittance and taking "pride" in yourself but other people just work for the money and have a life outside the workplace.


  • Comment number 51.

    You work for an employer, but you also work for someone else at the same time.
    Can you guess who it is? Here are a few clues.

    Council tax
    income tax
    national insurance tax
    ciggy tax
    booze tax
    gambling tax
    road tax
    petrol tax
    value added tax
    parking tax
    passport tax

    Then they moan about people not wanting to work...

  • Comment number 52.

    I imagine that we agree with the premise that it is right to earn more money through working than it is to sit on your butt all day.....Under NEW Labour we have driven ourselves into a nation of panderers and scroungers. Money should be directed at those less able/disabled in society with obvious needs....and in my view that does not mean the likes of my neighbour......'kids of 16 with kids' or who like her 'live in' boyfriend has never worked but who has two 'staffies' and deal drugs.
    Sadly the only way out of this mess is to toughen up; simplify the benefit system, keep pressuring and 'testing' those say they cannot work, lift the tax base rate for those in work....whilst NOT increasing 'benefits' for years to come......thus creating a DIVIDE that means good money in pockets for those who do work.

  • Comment number 53.

    I'm an ex squaddie who now has Arthritis in every joint a crumbling spine plus MS/fIBROMYALGIA with symptons such as, (most are severe) Pain - Fibromyalgia pain has no boundaries. People describe the pain as deep muscular aching, throbbing, shooting, stabbing, or intense burning. Quite often, the pain and stiffness are worse in the morning, and muscle groups that are used repetitively may hurt more.12 In addition, the severity of regional pains (particularly those in the head, neck, shoulders and lower back) are a strong predictor of a person's overall pain rating.13 The muscles in these painful areas can feel tight, knotted and rope-like. Pressing on the firm, knotted region hurts and often causes the pain to shoot to other muscles when a myofascial trigger point is present.

    Fatigue - This symptom can be one of the most incapacitating for people with fibromyalgia. Patients may feel as though their arms and legs are weighted down by concrete blocks and their bodies may be so drained of energy that every task is an effort.7

    Memory and Concentration - Difficulty concentrating and retaining new information may seriously interfere with everyday mental tasks.14 This symptom is referred to as "fibro fog" and may hinder job opportunities. In particular, fibromyalgia patients have serious difficulty retaining new information if they are distracted.15

    Sleep Disorders - Patients report trouble falling asleep and more importantly staying asleep, but the unrefreshing quality is what makes the disorder much worse than insomnia. Repeat arousals prevent patients from reaching deep, restorative sleep.16 As a result, the night is spent in "quasi-sleep" and patients wake up feeling as though they have been run over by a Mack truck. An overnight sleep study will likely show repeat arousals with bursts of awake-like brain activity occurring throughout the night, but a specific sleep disorder may not be identified.17

    Exercise Difficulties - Moderate intensity exercise activates a powerful pain-relieving system in healthy people, but it makes the pain of fibromyalgia worse.18 This is why initiating an exercise program may make you achy and tired. However, if you do not exercise on a regular basis, the performance of normal daily living activities will start to cause more pain. Rather than give in to the increased pain sensitivity related to exercise, patients are advised to do mild exercise in short intervals (such as five minutes at a time) to keep the muscles fit while not over-taxing them. A study in Sweden revealed that half of the fibromyalgia patients found it impossible or difficult to climb stairs and a majority of patients could not run. Just standing for five minutes was extremely taxing to one-fourth of the patients.19

    Irritable Bowel Syndrome - Constipation, diarrhea, frequent abdominal pain and bloating, abdominal gas, and nausea represent symptoms commonly found in roughly 40 to 70 percent of fibromyalgia patients.20

    Chronic Headaches - Recurrent migraine or tension headaches are experienced by 50 to 70 percent of fibromyalgia patients. Most headaches are rated as severe, occur at least two times per week, and often have a migraine component.21 Referred pain from myofascial trigger points in the shoulder, neck, and head muscles are suspected to be responsible for most tension-type headache and also play a role in migraines.22

    Jaw Pain - Temporomandibular joint dysfunction causes tremendous jaw-related face and head pain and affects one-quarter of fibromyalgia patients. Typically, the problems are related to the muscles and ligaments surrounding the jaw joint and not necessarily the joint itself.23

    Other Common Symptoms - Non-cardiac chest pain, acid reflux, irregular heart beat or palpitations, shortness of breath, numbness and tingling sensations, the feeling of swollen extremities, chemical sensitivities, nasal congestion, premenstrual syndrome and painful periods, irritable bladder, interstitial cystitis, vulvodynia (vulvar pain), difficulty focusing eyes, dry or burning eyes and mouth, dizziness or feeling faint, profuse sweating, muscle weakness and balance issues can occur.24,25,26 Fibromyalgia patients are often sensitive to odors, loud noises, bright lights, some foods, and often the medications that they are prescribed.27

    Aggravating Factors - Changes in weather, cold or drafty environments, hormonal fluctuations (premenstrual and menopausal states), stress, depression, anxiety, and over-exertion can all contribute to fibromyalgia symptom flare-ups.12


    Duncan wants me to go to work, fine i will i have the perfect job in mind where if i'm having a bad day/week/month i can just take the time off and work from the bed, Duncan help me become an MP.
    I'd swap my maladies with Duncan right now in fact lets swap lives i'm pretty confident i could manage your life with ease and i'm equally sure you wouldn't last a month in mine, especially if you were wearing an arthritis suit which gives a mild taste of the pain we suffer 24/7.

  • Comment number 54.

    I did both..

  • Comment number 55.

    25. At 07:37am on 30 Jul 2010, solomondogs wrote:

    I have a little sympathy for those who have been forced on to benefits through no fault of their own, however I feel these are in the minority, just looking around my small local country town there is a proliferation of sulky, trying to look hard young men, but mainly women, now the vast majority of these young women have accessories with them, sorry children, many have more than one and most are from different fathers, you only have to ask around to find that out. One young girl who lives not far from me has five and is pregnant with a sixth from four different fathers she hasn't done a days work in her life and yet expects me and you to pay for her upgrade to a larger house, hence kiddy number six. Now i don't know about anyone else but I find that deeply offensive, the problem of course is that now these little breeders are in the system its going to be darn near impossible to get them off it, who's going to look after the accessories?

    On top of the breeders we have the career benefit expert, now these appear to be mostly young males and fathers to the above, who, probably rightly think they can scam more off the benefits system than they can at work. Now this is the place to start, the government has to start restricting these benefits in order to force them back to work, I know I know there isn't any jobs they say, but what they mean is there isn't any jobs they think they are worthy of, there's a big difference. These kids think they are above working for the minimum wage or just above, well tough, everyone else has had to start of at the bottom now its your turn, and I for one do not care how old you are, you made a career choice early in your life to scam the tax payer, now your're having to pay it back.

    Once the government starts to make in roads in to these people and those claiming ridiculous disability benefits, maybe, just maybe we'll see society as a whole beginning to smarten itself up, because at the moment these people make britain look very untidy indeed. I have no sympathy with blaming everyone else for your predicament, you got yourselves in it in the first place, well now's your chance to get yourself out of it and like everyone else you have to start somewhere and thats at the bottom. But I'm fairly certain that once you have started and realise there is a way out of your vicious circle you will stop blaming the very people that actually pay for your current lifestyle.

    ------------------------------------------------------

    Your small country town is a mirror image of my town. This is why all the rhetoric on HYS from many simply does not stack up. All people have to do is look around them and they will see what is mentioned above. It needs sorting out.

  • Comment number 56.

    Alan Barker - you have hit the nail on the head.

    'All I was trying to point out that there is NO INCENTIVE for these people to return to work, most of the wages being offered are appallingly low and in many cases the standard of living for these people and their families drops considerably when they do return to work so very often these days “pride” takes second place to putting food on the table for their children.

    You may enjoy working like a donkey for a pittance and taking "pride" in yourself but other people just work for the money and have a life outside the workplace.'


    Having been in that position myself over the years I realised that in order to get the best out of employees you need to pay them well and involve them in the business growth.

    There will always be some people who don't want that level of involvement and I understand that. But for those that do, the rewards should reflect their involvement.

    That way it becomes a matter of choice. You get back what you put in is my motto.

  • Comment number 57.

    The government could begin by NOT creating a new army of disheartened and depressed newly unemployed public servants. These include - for just a few weeks now until the redundancy notices arrive - hundreds of dedicated and experienced careers advisers and personal advisers working for Connexions and other agencies trying to get young people into work, college, apprenticeships and training. Colleges are cutting courses, lecturers are joining other "front-line" workers in the pit of ruined careers and debt that can never be repaid. Never mind though, there will be less police to catch us when we turn to drink, drugs and crime.

    Not exactly joined-up government. Just more evidence that we have a government not of radical thinkers but the radically stupid.

    Politically denigrate and then sack dedicated public servants, politically denigrate and then "enable" - or press - thousands of unskilled, demotivated, possibly disabled, long term unemployed into a labour market empty of jobs and empty of anyone to train them, support them or advise them. This is either government by unintended consequence or cynical social engineering to drive down wages in the UK - through pain and desperation - to the levels of our global competitors in India and China. What kind of country do we want?

    Same old Tories. Liberal Democrats should be ashamed of themselves.

  • Comment number 58.

    The help you recieve at the Job Centre is a joke, I am unemployed, and manage to get 1 or 2 interviews a week, the jobcentre say that they will help by providing help by ensuring you get the fares to interviews paid, but you try claiming and actually getting paid this money.

    They purposefully make it as awkward as possible for you to actually get anything, they first require you to arrive at the jobcentre at your own cost, (my local one was closed down, and I am now forced to travel to hounslow town centre, which is now 4+ miles from my home, takes a hour to walk there, or £4 bus fares, to get there and back)

    they have no interest in refunding these costs, when you are called in for their worthless weekly back to work meetings, they expect you to travel in without fail or your benefit gets stopped.

    The bus fares are £2 each way they refuse to repay, even if you provide them the tickets, that state the cost paid, they will only pay £2.40 from the £4 actual cost, because its their "policy", so everytime i go there at their request, it costs me £1.60 out of the pittyful benefits im entitled to, as these benefits are not designed to cover these extra travel costs, they are the basic legal minimum for living expenses, ensuring the most basic of no thrills level of survival.

    upon getting to the job centre they require full proof where the interview is and contact numbers to ring, they then proceed to call the place where you are going for interview, explaining to the prospective new employer, that you have turned up at the jobcentre to get money, to pay your fares, grilling the person on the other end of the phone, I have had 3 interviews cancelled by the tactics these people use, to try to ensure you do not attempt to claim any offered travel costs.

    They blatently will not let you go to the interview, paying the costs and claiming them back afterwards, by providing the receipts, as they want to put you through a humiliating set process,that is as off putting as possible, I have yet to sucessfully claim this offered travel money.

    Job centres are just process centres, and their customers (unemployed people) are just messed about, required to attend pointless meetings, in the hope of wearing them down, with te default of we will stop your benefit, if you dont do exactly what we tell you to do. I am sure there are massive cost savings being made by job centre staff who force people off claiming what they are entitled to, through their underhand teqniques that eventually have people miss a pointless meeting, and having their benefit stopped by default.....

    To all the people who think, I have a job Im ok, be prepared if you lose that job through no fault of your own, as this is what awaits you, you become nothing more than a burden, it does not matter how much you have paid in, they just dont want you to take anything back out.

  • Comment number 59.

    I am currently off work on benefits due to an injury last year and it is by no means pleasant. The number of forms, medical assessments, reviews and paperwork required has been excessive and I do find myself wondering how many of the problems with the welfare system are to do with unnecessary and confusing bureaucracy. Having worked at least part time since I was 15 and having never used any kinds of benefits in the past I am thoroughly looking forward to getting into a position to go back to work. However this is not as simple as it sounds...

    My career was freelance in the performing arts and was therefore very practical. This has meant that although my injury is not massively serious it has barred me from everything I am qualified to do. Furthermore because of mobility issues I can't drive and public transport is extremely difficult to access. The only way I could get back to work would be to use taxis which would cancel out the pay on any temp job I could get. Going back to work is therefore not viable.

    This is an astonishingly frustrating situation. I have been offered no help or advice on mobility options I could access or training schemes I could get onto. No-one has offered information on work I could do from home or that I could introduce gradually to ease out of using benefits. They have been too busy giving me appointments and making me fill in forms that, as far as I can see, often serve little or no purpose.

    Whilst there are, of course, some people who will do just about anything to avoid work changing the system to target this minority misses the point. There are many, if not most of us, who just want help to get by until we can work again, that's what benefits are for. Benefits are not high - I am entitled to two and I get about £400 a month which is less than half minimum wage. Cutting benefits will only serve to drive people into debt or trap them into work that they are not qualified to do and neither of these things are helpful to the individual or to society as a whole. If you want to save money on the welfare system stop the pointless appointments and paperwork and give us realistic options to make ourselves useful.

  • Comment number 60.

    Sircumspect:::::: When can I start?

  • Comment number 61.

    I had a nervous breakdown after the death of my father, I handled this event terribly it made me very ill, i lost 7 stone my employer disciplined me to the hilt and eventually faced with thier unhelpful aggressive sickness policy i had enough of the constant threats of loosing my job and told them to stick it,( this was not a small tin pot company either, and aparently they have a reputation of being a good employer, unless you ask anyone who works there.) In my darkest hours of depression and anxiety i ended up with a criminal record for assault.
    2yrs later I am constantly ringing on spec, replying to adverts, have my cv registered on numerous job websites. I spend on average 5 hours a day every single day looking for a Job. All that i can find are through employment agencies on temporary contracts or minimum wage. How can a 40yr old with 4 kids afford to take a minimum wage job, answer not without going into serious debt and having the bailiffs out.
    The solution to the mess that is unemployment is simple
    Ban employment agencies for positions that are not highly skilled.
    Make it illegal to employ migrant labor in an area that has high unemployment.
    Increase minimum wage to an actual living wage.

    I will continue to search for a job, i am not fussy about what i do as long as it will pay the bills. Moving is not an option as my child who is 12 is a grade A student and she also attends a dance school (which grandma pays for) which she and her 2 sisters have won a hell of alot of trophies for. The stability of being around friends family and neighbours who have been extremely helpful during the terrible past couple of years has held our family together we can not possibly move.

    Seriously its not a case of cant be bothered it really is a case of there are no jobs suitable for me. I can not take a job that would plunge our family into debt. For me the calculation is simple the amount we get in state benefits + travel costs is all i require. is that too much to ask.

  • Comment number 62.

    Benefit reform is needed but the proposals aren't enough. There should be no cash unemployment benefit.

    When I finished uni with two good degrees I took a series of temp placements while looking for the right job. I worked behind a bar, made tea at a local tip, sorted invoices, a huge variety of things - the point being whatever was available, for however long, I did.

    My wife has recently retrained as a teacher. It's holidays, and jobs are hard to find. Today she has gone to a temp job tearing the perforations off invoices as they run out of a printer for under £6ph.

    If you want your own money, work.

    For the unavoidable times when a person is between jobs welfare should extend as far as providing food, shelter when required, and the means to attend interviews in a presentable manner and nothing more - no cash.

    The country can't afford to have healthy people who are unproductive, let alone pay them for it.

  • Comment number 63.

    Nothing new that the system is too good. What needs to be looked at is how to get people to make some active contribution in order to maintain their entitlement. Money for nothing should NEVER be an option (we don't even grant this luxury to our own kids...).

    And some sort of temporary support scheme should be provided to those who have accepted a full time job with an earnings shortfall. A real effort needs to be made to stop people making the easy choice. The whole of society would be better off in this scenario...

  • Comment number 64.

    Real life story to illustrate that it doesnt work. Its designed to fore middle class workers\ hard working people who have recently been made redundant into proverty and only then would this work.
    This is a real life story and happened to me.....
    I am a single mum with a 4 year old kid, I had relocated to pick up a job & rented out my own home when I moved. I earned over £40k\yr and paid for everything myself. I recently was made redundant but was denied income support (& now I am homeless & squatting with my kid) on the grounds that I rented out my home & rent is an income. I make no profit from the rent & legally I cant live in the house as its got a buy-to-let mortgage (which I did when I started renting). I am being forced to sell, would be pushed into debt after selling as quick sales mean I am getting 40k less that I normally should do but as I cant even feed my kid I simply have to sell. Infact I now run the daily risk that the state would seek to take my kid as I cant afford to feed her. Even the cash sale takes days and its another set of weeks after before I would know if I can get income support. And yes I have asked the council and I am not eligible for any crisis loan etc etc
    Now once I am well and truly poor, I will then qualify for the reforms. I would hesistate before cheering any reforms as one size does not fit all. No mention is made of those forced into proverty by these same welfare reforms........

  • Comment number 65.

    It depends on the small print. Over the last 30 years successive governemtns have tried to overcome the problem of benefits as opposed to work.
    There are and always will be those people who make everything harder for the majority of people out of work or illvby manipulating the system.
    It will be a clever politician indeed who manages to develop a system that avoids this issue.
    In my opinion the biggest barrier to worklessness is the exhorbitant rents charged by Housing Associations. Local council rents are in the range of £60 per week while the Housing Associations charge up to three times that for a three bedroon property.
    Most Agencies locally have jobs advertised at £6-7 per hour. £240 gross is £204(net).
    The Maths doesn't add up for a sole wage earner.

  • Comment number 66.

    Yes - this is a long ignored timely move.
    ALL sections of our massively-wasteful Benefit-system should be stringently overhauled...

    'How can the welfare system be improved?' (HYS):
    ------------------------------------------------
    It's right to deeply inspect the many anomalies that have become inherent in the Benefits-system - in recent years.

    In my own opinion:
    ------------------
    Another of the most Socially-despised and so easily abused parts of the system, is the VERY apparent rise of the 'total package' of Benefits that have been showered on irresponsible teenage single-mothers.

    Giving birth at a very early age has become the 'given' meal-ticket to a house, multiple-benefits and a life of relative ease and further promiscuity with regard to multiple 'relationships' - that very often result in further Children to be raised on yet more benefits.
    This is having a very bad effect on our Society as a whole.

    The Government and 'interested' Groups constantly 'howl' at the weakness in our Education-system that leaves so many teenage girls supposedly 'ignorant' of sex and it's consequences - such as becoming pregnant.

    The fact that females can get pregnant when they have unprotected sex has been known from time-immemorial. It is simply not valid to blame pregnancy on the lack of sex-knowledge.
    Pregnancy among teenage-mothers has become the 'meal-ticket' to a benefits 'heaven' and most of them become purposely pregnant for this reason.

    The even more unpalatable fact is that so many of the Children of these 'Teen mums' will not only lose-out on a proper stable Family environment, but will probably also end up on Benefit themselves - becoming yet ANOTHER drain on this system.

    It's time that these 'Teen mums' were NOT encouraged to gain all those Benefits. It's time that their PARENTS were expected to house them and their Children. - Perhaps THEN, Parents would try to DIScourage such pregnancies - to a far greater degree.

    At the moment, SOME 'Parents' - especially those on 'long-term' Benefits themselves - are actually encouraging their young daughters to use of the Benefit-system - via having a baby.

    Have a look at the number of births these 'Teen mums' have every year - it's staggering - and so is the cost TO THE REST OF US...

  • Comment number 67.

    is it me?
    i understand and agree that for any country to have a flourishing economy, there have to be people in work, making things that we can sell on the open markets! this is over simplified for this reason-at the moment we have a system that seems to be casting off employees in favour of either cheaper foreign employees, or mechanisation.
    this is going to end in tears, because ther is only so much money in the bucket, and when its eventually filtered its way into the coffers of the super - rich,there will be no more to come,. therefore i suggest we cap the amount of money that any singular person can amass,therefore slowing down the rate of decline, and making the money usable in the system, by many more people, instead of becoming one person's love thing!
    i know this is utopian thinking, but it's so simple its idiotic.
    money is a tool! if there is no tool to use, how can we work the economy?
    the divide between the super rich and the nearest neighbour is so vast, that soon we will look for a new tool kit, and probably go back to bartering and feudalism! so where will the fine upstanding entrepeneurial skills of the super rich have got us?
    the key is reasonability! but the reality is greed. my case rests!

  • Comment number 68.

    Most people actually want to work, the problem is that there are not enough jobs. I myself am a qualified accountant and have spent 10 months trying to find work, I got paid jobseekers allowance of just over £60 per week for the first 6 months and nothing since then. I can ensure everyone that the benefits I received have not discouraged me from trying to find work.
    Sure there is a small minority of people who abuse the system, but this is a very very small minority of the people who are on benefits. A lot of them as I say want to work, but need a lot of help to get back into work, particularly if they have been out of work for some time as their confidence is very low. Unfortunately given the current job situation their chances of finding work is virtually nil.

  • Comment number 69.

    How on earth can a tory toff like ian duncan smith understand what it is like to be unemployed and poor. They do not choose to be like this, they have to live like this because thatcher destroyed british industry and the lives of millions of working class people.

  • Comment number 70.

    People who get up and go to work every day are fed up with seeing benefit recipiants having a better standard of living than themselves. We(the country) just cannot afford to pay so many people for doing nothing productive during their lives. We have families where several generations have never worked. The work ethic is no longer in their genes. It's about time that these types were disencouraged to breed. The Welfare State has run it's course and been found lacking. It has institutionalised too large a percentage of the population. It's time to roll it back. Benefits must be too high if some recipiants are 'too fat to work'.

  • Comment number 71.

    I have no idea as the Tories have yet to tell us what they plan to do!

  • Comment number 72.

    It will only work if people are better off in work than on benefits AND if there are the jobs in the area for people to get.
    Those who say they took any job going are lucky simply because in many areas there are no jobs going. If they have families the low paid jobs that may be available in one area do not make it practical to move especially if one parent already has another ill paid job. Often low paid jobs may only be temporary so people would be moving from area to area frequently trying to stay in work.
    Simply too many Daily Mail readers just do not understand what it is like to live in a depressed area where there are no jobs, no prospects and no escape.
    Yes simplify the system but remember that areas vary and 'getting on your bike' is not an option for the unqualified and low paid in depressed areas.

  • Comment number 73.

    After holding down a pretty complex and important job for 28 years, I understand perfectly how much better off you are employed than not, financially, socially and psychologically. Problem is, since my health fell apart and I began suffering from major spells of depression to the point where my doctors were concerned I was becoming suicidal, the idea of going back to work is currently impossible because I know full well I am not capable of sustained, reliable attendance, or full concentration - and understand perfectly why any rational employer would take other people in preference to me.

    The main problem I have with the benefits system is that it is simply incomprehensible. So many things that are 'available' to those who need them need separate applications on different forms to different bodies, and nobody is at the centre of the system pointing you where to go, they are all just locked into administering their own, probably overcomplicated little part of the process. Dealing with A4E (a private company supporting the DWP in helping those on benefits) was fascinating, they were by far the most helpful and well informed body I dealt with, but why wasn't the DWP itself able to do what they did, and worked hard at doing - telling people what they were entitled to across the range of the system? If these changes address that, I'll be delighted to see them come in.

    As for the 'too many people who get benefit don't deserve it' - well, (with sadness, since I was a Civil Servant for quite some time) the problem there is not the system, or the rules - it's the shoddy way they are being applied and managed. Recently we were told that of the 3bn 'wasted' in the benefits system, 1bn went through 'fraud' and 2bn through 'overpayments'..... so where should we be concentrating efforts on sorting the system out? The problem isn't the claimants, it's the woefully poor management of the administration.

    It's very telling that if you ask any of the people who carry out that work what their targets are, you get a string of 'this % of claims allowed or disallowed within this timescale, so many % cut from this or that budget', but you never get told 'making sure the people who deserve the benefits get them' - which carries within it the concept that those who do not deserve them do not get them - all the concentration goes on the measuring of things that are not the point of the system, but are much more easily measured.... and thus measuring replaces managing, and what should be being achieved vanishes under a morass of meaningless targets, numbers and statistics..

    Like so many things in the UK now, the 'problem' is people not doing what they are meant to be doing, and instead concentrating on pointless detail, because that's 'manageable'. This pervades pretty much all the public sector now, and is doing immense harm to perfectly reasonable legislative rules, schemes and initiatives, whilst also holding back or actively harming the people the system is meant to be there to help.

  • Comment number 74.

    The problem is complex and not capable of an easy solution or it would have been fixed by now.
    For a lot of people on benefits, the system gives them eligibility for other things for example free school meals. If they take a job many of these fringe benefits, which can be quite significant, may be lost. There is then a genuine fear that taking a job will make them worse off financially than simply staying on the benefits. For these people we need to provide a transition to the world of work which is financially secure in the short term, along with firm encouragement to get off the system.
    Then there are those who don't want to work and see the benefits system as an alternative career choice. They will go to ingenious lengths to claim everything they can and avoid work. We have to be a lot tougher with these people. If they cannot find work after six months they should be forced to do community service if they wish to continue to receive their benefits. For those who are single with no dependants, this should also result in payment with vouchers for food and rent, with minimal pocket money to cover basic expenses.
    We have to make the system supportive of those who want to find work and very tough on those who don't. For some this means less money in future.

  • Comment number 75.

    Once the government becomes the supplier of people's needs, there is no limit to the needs that will be claimed as a basic right.

  • Comment number 76.

    A friend of mine has deliberately kept herself out of work by having 6 children over the past 20 years. She tries to milk the system dry and then bleats that the government makes it hard for her (and gets precisely zero sympathy from me, I should add). It's people like this who have to be targeted. But given that she has a number of children all under 16, she needs more help. Yes, she got herself into this, but it's not the children's fault and the government needs to provide assistance with childcare so that she can actually work and not leave her smaller children to look after themselves after school.

  • Comment number 77.

    It depends what those 'reforms' are, doesn't it?

    Made redundant six years ago I spent two years full-time actively seeking work to no avail. During that time running up an overdraft which is costing £60 a month. Still no work.

    Except I do some voluntary work which I'm told is needed, is valuable and so on. However, can I get paid for this work? That would be possible, to the tune of £150+ per day, if I had a piece of paper referred to as a 'degree'.

    Maybe it would help many such others (and I know there are many) if we were employed dependent upon the the basis of skills we have and what we can actually do rather than mostly irrelevant pieces of paper which only prove that a lot of information (accurate or inaccurate) has been assimilated.

    Now that would be a most useful reform, would it not?

    Oh ... and get rid of age discrimination as well, please? You think a university graduate newly entering the market place is a better option than someone with no degree but with fifty years experience?

    You get what you pay for and the results show in what is produced.

    And thus, standards deteriorate ...

  • Comment number 78.

    3. At 03:11am on 30 Jul 2010, bob wrote:

    Means test child benefit and Pensions, in other words if you earn £50,000 you do not need CB and if your private pension is £500 a week you do not need a state top up. (or £600,000 a year, if she who must be obeyed left work today after 40 years service her pension would be £9,000 PA not bad for a fat cat civil servant:p)

    = = = = = = = =

    Why the devil should my state pension be means tested?????

    I paid into it for 45 years - I expect the same return as everybody else.

    Just because I paid into another pension scheme - taking a large amount of my salary - cannot mean I cannot derive the benefit of the NI I paid in too.



    Reminds me of Lord Montgomery who used to go to his local Post Office to collect his well earned pension. He said "I paid the same in as everyone else - I have every right to get the same out"

    Methinks you are just jealous of people with more fore -thought than you.

  • Comment number 79.

    Cleansing services are a great example of taxes gone insane.

    If you pay 100 for bin services you pay:

    value added tax on
    council tax which comes out of
    taxed income

    Triple taxed! Three times the fun!

    Then they moan about people not wanting to work...

    ---------------
    missed out a couple previously btw

    airport taxes
    the telly tax

    (Feel free to add)

  • Comment number 80.

    49. At 08:36am on 30 Jul 2010, sircomespect wrote:

    If the only reason for people not wanting your job was the 7:30 start - there's more to it than that, whatever they told you.

    I started work at 6:30am actually and I run the business so I can do pretty much what I want when I want. That's what ambition got me! :)

    You may be right, it might not be the 7:30am start, but judging by the rolling of the eyes and the general lack of enthusiasm - I still wouldn't employ them.

    Oh and Muse - BTW the job involves 6 months of on the job training and one month trade college training. So the investment in someone from the UK is pretty vast.

    The problem is that I have yet to meet anyone from the UK who has any form of work ethic.

    You're right maybe it's me. Permanent position in a growing company with the opportunity to share in its success. Tch what is wrong with me?

    No qualifications needed either, just buckets of enthusiasm, an ability to perceive design, use a computer and oh - a willingness to work.

    Yep you're right its me.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------

    Hey, where are you? I'll work for you!!

    PS - Work ethic lacking? Especially for manual trades? Advertise in the Racing Post. Those stable lads know how to graft, and Trainers know how to motivate them; up at 5am, work all day, professional, proud, always cheerful, more interested in work than money, unsociable hours no problem, no effort too much trouble. People are not lazy - just inadequately managed and motivated.

  • Comment number 81.

    "49. At 08:36am on 30 Jul 2010, sircomespect wrote:
    37. At 08:07am on 30 Jul 2010, ruffled_feathers wrote:

    7:30 start and you're posting at 7:34. Busy, then?

    If the only reason for people not wanting your job was the 7:30 start - there's more to it than that, whatever they told you.


    I started work at 6:30am actually and I run the business so I can do pretty much what I want when I want. That's what ambition got me! :)

    You may be right, it might not be the 7:30am start, but judging by the rolling of the eyes and the general lack of enthusiasm - I still wouldn't employ them.

    Oh and Muse - BTW the job involves 6 months of on the job training and one month trade college training. So the investment in someone from the UK is pretty vast.

    The problem is that I have yet to meet anyone from the UK who has any form of work ethic.

    You're right maybe it's me. Permanent position in a growing company with the opportunity to share in its success. Tch what is wrong with me?

    No qualifications needed either, just buckets of enthusiasm, an ability to perceive design, use a computer and oh - a willingness to work.

    Yep you're right its me."



    So as a matter of interest, and being out of work myself - can you say what you do and where you are?

  • Comment number 82.

    More lenient rules regarding earning while claiming benefits have been needed for years. If you adhere to all the rules, have a couple of kids and need to pay rent, the level of benefit payments will just enable you to keep your head above water. Take up casual or part-time work and you will be in financial difficulties very quickly, as under the present rules you will almost immediatly have at least a portion of your benefiit cut. When living on a week by week (and sometimes day by day) basis and need to know how much cash will be available, the situation becomes a nightmare, with the added fear of becoming criminalized for 'claiming while earning', and all that entails. For single people, and those with no dependants however, the level of benefit is inadequate to keep your head above water, so the threat of being criminalized is greater, as you would need to subsidise the meagre income by finding casual or part-time work. I hope the proposed reforms will include helping, rather than hindering ordinary folk that have fallen on hard times, by removing THE FEAR OF WORKING, and the implication that all are out to defraud the system; the truth being they are only trying to make ends meet.

  • Comment number 83.

    instead of welfare reform (albeit necessary as the system is way too complex), why do people miss the glaringly obvious point of wages? Why do we insist that people take minimum wage jobs, i find it disgusting that tax payers need to subsidise employers. What I mean is that the vast majority of people on minimum wages could not afford to have a decent standard of living without tax credits. Why should tax payers subsidise employers who make a profit but won't pay a LIVING WAGE. Why should people have to work two or more jobs to get a living wage? We need a culture that recognises that whilst work is important, it is not the be all and end all. People cannot work 60 hours or more and not have health problems, without their work suffering and without having difficulties in relationships. What is the point in having a partner and kids if you never see them? But sadly under the current system that's what we are reduced to. Then, we wonder why there's so much child crime, so many broken homes. We have a society that encourages consumption and greed but condemns the effects this has on society: debt, rising stress levels, broken homes, crime. Note that when i say living wage, i do not mean luxury just the minimum neccessary to have a life of dignity, where you don't worry about putting food on the table, paying bills etc. Pluys in this day and age, it is not unreasonable to suggest that having access to books, broadband, one holiday a year is a minimum. If we do not do so we are essentially saying as marx did that employers want to pay their employees barely enough wages so they don't starve to death. Surely we have moved on from that idea? Surely we must embrace the idea that people should have dignity in their lives, even if they are poor and are not socially well connected or academically gifted? Or do we still embrace a culture of hedonism and excess, celebrating the useless and talentless. where it's quite often the case that ability doesn't count but your connection do. Where we condemn those who lose their jobs as parasites instead of compassion (reflecting that it could easily be us), where those at the top siphon off wealth but contribute nothing. Where those who destroy the economy are not punished and where corruption is rife (look at all the missing billions the americans can't account for in iraq). of course their will always be wealth divisions in society but they do not have be so extreme! No one is saying that businesses shouldn't make profits either but we have to reflect on the way businesses are run and their effects on society. All we hear about is cutting costs, we never never hear about the human costs, the effects on service etc. Why do we put up with decreasing levels of service, with longer queues in banks, shops etc, where they are always short staffed or not trained up properly. Where the staff don't have time to do their jobs and have to start early, work though lunches, work late. If you have to do this to complete your work then its GLARINGLY OBVIOUS that your place of work needs more staff. Instead of reducing staff levels, reduce the pay of the board of directors! Instead of posting billions of pounds in profit, pay more to the lowest paid. Ok your profits might only go up by 50% (british gas) instead of 98%!!!! OK the directors might only take home 500,000 instead of 2 million but excuse me if i don't shed a tear. Wake up people and do something before we end up as a third world country!!!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 84.

    Same Old Tory Polocies as 1979,only this time the Organ Grinder has got named monkeies called Cleggie & Cable.If it were not such a serious issue I would feel inclined to ask if the three C's were just three pantomine stooges,because thats how they carry on.
    With poor old Grove the House comedian guaranteed to get a laugh with everything he does.
    No idea of the real world and working for a living.

  • Comment number 85.

    At 08:51am on 30 Jul 2010, terrymiles wrote:

    he government could begin by NOT creating a new army of disheartened and depressed newly unemployed public servants. These include - for just a few weeks now until the redundancy notices arrive - hundreds of dedicated and experienced careers advisers and personal advisers working for Connexions and other agencies trying to get young people into work, college, apprenticeships and training.

    ===============================

    Terry, you sound like you're a civil servant, probably working in Conexions. I think you clearly need to read the two posts immediately following yours (58, and 59). Unfortunately, dedication and experience are no replacement for competence and achievement and clearly the system is very broken and no longer fit for purpose.

    I've never been a Tory supporter, but I'm willing to give them a chance to fix things and judge them on their actions.

  • Comment number 86.

    This is not a question of will it work since it must work.

    However the real problem is that with a contracting economy and a fixed minimum wage providing a wages floor the jobs are simply not there to be taken. If there are no jobs to replace benefits the money saved in benefits will be spent on; the criminal justice system, and health care.

    While looked at from the DWP perspective this reduction in benefits is a good thing it probably merits a multi pronged approach:

    + Ending universal child benefit for the second and subsequent children.

    + Freezing benefit increases, except pensions, for 3yrs. At the same time consolidating and reducing the number of benefits that can be claimed.

    + Restricting and gradually reducing the tax credit system to household where the income is average national wage only. This means it is possible to reduce the number of staff needed to administer the system who can be made redundant. It is consistent with rises in the tax free allowance anyway.

    At the same time introducing a "work4welfare" should be the norm where people give up a minimum of a day a week to work for the community that is paying them their benefit. Surely, this is another plank of David Camerons "big society".

  • Comment number 87.

    Open to suggestions here:

    I have been turned down for jobs with the excuse given that because of the level of job and the salary I would get bored and wouldn't stay very long. (If I didn't want to work for such a small wage I wouldn't have applied for the job)

    I have 'been let go' from temporary jobs because I do it too well and am making the permenant staff look bad. (seems a lot of employers these days don't want people who do a good job, maybe the law makes it difficult to get rid of 'incompetants')

    For every job I apply for there are apparently over 100 applicants, many younger than me with more qualifications but less experience. (the one qualification that would open many doors and give me a better chance against the 'youngsters' is expensive and needs to be self-funded, but I am determined somehow to get that qualification)

    I have been told "we would love to offer you the job, but you dont' live in the area". (if I wasn't prepared to relocate I wouldn't have applied for the job).

    These are not made up, these are the very reasons I am being given for not getting jobs I have applied for. When employment agency after employment agency are totally confused why I am not being offered a job when the feedback from interviews is great interview, professionally presented, knowledgable, came across as enthusiastic, I am beginning to wonder what Employers these days are looking for. The only thing I can think is they don't want to pay for someone of my experience. Yet as stated above if I apply for a lower waged position that I am well qualified for they still don't want to employ me.

    What can I do to overcome this?

  • Comment number 88.

    Working on 24hr internal rotation shifts, it's obvious on the journey to and from work at many different times of the day/night through familiar local 'enclaves' of generational unemployment, it's known that many are claiming benefit; not declaring how many are living in a household and working on a 'self-employed' basis?

    It would be helpful if the government focused on 'undeclared' occupants paying rent to tenants in receipt of council tax credit and housing allowance to owner/occupiers with many 'undeclared' lodgers to cut fraud?

  • Comment number 89.

    It's a simple fact that the able bodied will never know. Especially the likes of IDS. Employers do NOT like employing disabled people. In today's "target driven" culture and in the eyes of most employers Disabled people are slow. Disabled people are not "Cost Effective". Disabled people are insurance risks. Disabled people hold back the productivity in their departments - Ergo; Disabled people hold back the whole Global Corporation! Also the Disability Discrimination Act has simply made it easier for companies to dismiss Disabled people and get away with it - because they can wangle it so it LOOKS like they've followed every letter of the law when in fact they haven't. In the meantime they will have persecuted their Disabled (now ex) employee and run them ragged and into the ground via a tribunal process - which will ultimately lead to them needing even more time off work to get over the hell they've just been through.

    I have no end of disabled friends, some with good degrees who have been through this situation - Giving 100% accuracy in their work - 100% customer service and have worked harder than some of the idle able bodied shysters in their office/department/Public Private Quango (because they can get away with it being best mates with their line manager). These friends have either been pushed out of the job for some of the reasons given - or are hanging on to it by the skin of their teeth because they will also be ultimately 'dispensable'.

    Iain Duncan Smith will never know about this or be able to understand it - until perhaps someone cuts his legs off or pokes his eyes out or bursts his eardrums.

  • Comment number 90.

    43. At 08:22am on 30 Jul 2010, notoappeasement wrote:
    IDS says he ws trying to make the people of out of work "better off, and their families better-off, than they would be out of work and on benefits".

    I think this will not work. Successive Govts have tried and have failed. Benefits ought to be at a level that people feel they are worse off on benefits. Benefits should be at a level no more than people’s ability to earn and ought to be time limit, say no more than a year. The benefits from all sources should be restricted to no more than minimum wage level less 10%.

    Some pacifist would say 'there would be revolution' and riots in the streets. To eliminate the malaise of the last 40 years we need a 'revolution'.

    It is not the jobs which are a disincentive, the level of benefits are. No wonder generations have been lost to work ethics and living on benefits has become a NORM!!

    President Clinton took revolutionary steps like time limit the benefits and drastically reduced the level of benefits and he had big success. IDS has the vision and coalition has the stomach. LET US DO IT!

    It may sound cruel but human beings are lot more resourceful than our successive govt have given credit to them

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    So the basic principal of your idea is to force people into abject poverty and deprivation, homelessness. And this will motivate them to find work.

    Your assumption is that everyone on benefits does not want employment. This can not be further from the truth. I am seriously actively seeking employment. I am very computer literate, build and repair p.c's, I have a large amount of customer service experience. can i find a job that will support my family NO. would i move away from my wife's family, not unless i wanted a divorce. I am half blind in my left eye but right compensates however this does mean that i do not drive, cant see a rear view mirror.
    I have recently been tested at one of the many adult learning centres and they found that i was ranked amongst the top 10%. ( must remember punctuation and grammar when ranting).
    I have also, besides applying for vacancies that are local and accessible by public transport, been applying for live in opportunities that were further afield.
    I want to work, It is driving me crazy, listening to people say oh if you want a job youd take one but surely the main criteria is that it must pay the bills and not plunge us into serious debt. to aid heres a little list of benefits we as a family recieve.
    ================================================
    Child benefit 4 children 11mnths, 2yrs,9 and 12( EVERYONE GETS THIS IT WONT CHANGE)
    Housing benefit(will end)
    Council tax benfit( will end)
    Jobseekers allowance( of course will end when working)
    Free School meals(will end)
    Child tax credits (will be replaced by working tax credits)

    Something else to consider, benefits are not due to increase but in JANUARY VAT is set to increase to 20% so we will have even less money.

    Have a look for yourself see how many FULL TIME Vacancies you can find in Tamworth or surrounding areas that are accessable by public transport that i could live on. without plunging my family into serious debt, and further into poverty were broke . please!!!

    BTW the amount my family recieves in benefits is nothing compared to the £150'000 each and every member of parliament claims every single year for office expenses and there are 600+ of them and they have a salary of 65k too. but yeah lets beat up on the unemployed and not the wasteful politicians who pretend to do things by having a committee where men take minutes and waste hours and accomplish nothing.

  • Comment number 91.

    76. At 09:20am on 30 Jul 2010, GeorgieGuy wrote:
    "A friend of mine has deliberately kept herself out of work by having 6 children over the past 20 years. She tries to milk the system dry and then bleats that the government makes it hard for her (and gets precisely zero sympathy from me, I should add). It's people like this who have to be targeted. But given that she has a number of children all under 16, she needs more help. Yes, she got herself into this, but it's not the children's fault and the government needs to provide assistance with childcare so that she can actually work and not leave her smaller children to look after themselves after school."


    Why are you rewarding her with your friendship? People like this should be shunned.

  • Comment number 92.

    62. At 08:55am on 30 Jul 2010, John Smith wrote:
    Benefit reform is needed but the proposals aren't enough. There should be no cash unemployment benefit.
    You had obviously contributed a lot to society when we wasted taxpayers money having you at University,it would have been better spent buying you a train ticket to the North East or Wales. You would have had no trouble finding a job in either of those two places unlike hundreds of harworking ex miners who you castigate in your sweeping statement.Have you ever been to places like Blackhall.I doubt you even know where it is.

  • Comment number 93.

    lol

    bringing the 50 or so out-of-work and in-work benefits into a single "universal credit"

    ...which will be a 150 page questionnaire covering the 50 criteria already covered...

    Yup. Great idea IDS.

  • Comment number 94.

    Of course the benefit system needs an overhaul. More like an enema. It is downright crazy to be better off on benefits. Some of my neighbours are into their second generation of stay at homes despite lolling around the area with their very scary dogs and looking perfectly capable of earning their living. The main problem seems to be a lack of jobs in some areas and this is only going to get worse as all those soon to be sacked join the ranks. Unless many new job opportunities are found I cannot see the new plans working.
    It is despicable that the previous government allowed a benefit culture to develop. So many people now have the attitude that the world owes them a living.
    Let us not make those genuinely sick and disabled suffer in the process.

  • Comment number 95.

    The government focuses all its efforts on trying to motivate the unemployed into finding work – what they should be doing is motivating employers to recruit them.

    Most companies have a deliberate policy of not employing anyone who is unemployed, particularly the long term unemployed - and if you are over forty and unemployed you have no chance.

    The only solution to long term unemployment is to make it mandatory for large companies to recruit a certain number of unemployed and to offer them incentives for doing so.

  • Comment number 96.

    No it won't! Dave's big britian means getting people to work for nothing. Think of all the profit if you could get people fighting over work that only just feeds and clothes them. Those that aren't lucky enough, well it's their own fault and they will have to rely on soup kitchens and begging. I know quite a few unemployed people, victims of the bankers recession and all would work if they were earning a living wage. There was a programme on TV the other day called "the Fairy Jobmother", she helps long term unemployed find work. In the episode I saw she helped a young woman find a job in Currys. What the programme didn't tell you was now that she is working she is liable to pay all the rent and council tax for her unemployed mother and brother leaving her with less than if she wasn't working. Yes you are better off working but how many bankers, civil servants, do you think would get up at 6, day in day out, and work for nothing? That is the problem, it is the system at fault. You can't blame people for refusing to be treated like donkeys. We have the natural resources, technology, manpower and desire to create a better world for ourselves and our communities but one thing always stands in the way. Profit! Nothing ever gets done unless somebody is making at least 10% at each step in the process, that means everything, yes everything costs at least 110%. The powers that be could ban the manufacture of weaponry and get away from paranoia politics and start to create a more just and purposeful world for all. It doesn't happen because it is not in there interest to. Tony Blair was a good example. He thought he could make the world a better place by bombing people and war. Look where it has left us - but, he is doing ok.

  • Comment number 97.

    This is typical Tory policy, when will ordinary people learn that the Tories are only interested in the well-to-do. Everything about the Tories is to cut, cut and cut again. This policy on Welfare is nothing to do with reform, it is simply to squeeze people until they have nothing left in the bank forcing them to resort to either charity or come "cap in hand" to the Tory Altar for help, this has always been the Conservative way, the disabled and unemployed must use all their current resouces before begging for help. The general overall cuts proposed are unneccessary, con trick and will be deeply damaging to the fabric of our country and will the in the long term cost more in repair than the original cuts just to stand still. The ethos from the Tories that spending is wrong and frugal is right will set this country back decades, Roads will decay, Hospitals will decay, Schools will decay the list is endless and so will the cost of pulling everything up by it's boot straps when we are mired in the cost of repair and catch-up. Spending money from Central Government (our money) to provide what we need and rely on, creates works, creates production of the materials required, is a forward positive step not the retrograde and backward looking policies that the Tories are promoting. Margaret Hilda Thatcher did the same, wrecked British manufacturing and replaced it with Financial Services, reeking years of austerity and misery on the British people, just look what happened when Banking collapsed, we were hung out to dry, compare us with Germany who DO have a manufacturing economy, they are better placed now than we are. This policy by Duncan-Smith is an exercise in creating poverty and deprivation nothing more and nothing less, it will cause misery to millions, take money out of the economy and end up with a dole queue of 5,000,000 odd, people who will not receive a penny until they are down on their "uppers" and begging the Tory "Squire" for help. WAKE UP, this Government is a "sheep" in Thatcher's clothing, do we really want to go back to the misery of the 1980's accompanied by Victorian squalor!

  • Comment number 98.

    64. At 09:05am on 30 Jul 2010, Ayibb Ladipo wrote:
    ...
    I am a single mum with a 4 year old kid, I had relocated to pick up a job & rented out my own home when I moved. I earned over £40k\yr and paid for everything myself. I recently was made redundant but was denied income support (& now I am homeless & squatting with my kid) on the grounds that I rented out my home & rent is an income. I make no profit from the rent & legally I cant live in the house as its got a buy-to-let mortgage (which I did when I started renting). I am being forced to sell, would be pushed into debt after selling as quick sales mean I am getting 40k less that I normally should do but as I cant even feed my kid I simply have to sell. Infact I now run the daily risk that the state would seek to take my kid as I cant afford to feed her. Even the cash sale takes days and its another set of weeks after before I would know if I can get income support. And yes I have asked the council and I am not eligible for any crisis loan etc etc
    Now once I am well and truly poor, I will then qualify for the reforms. I would hesistate before cheering any reforms as one size does not fit all. No mention is made of those forced into proverty by these same welfare reforms........

    =================================

    This is horrible. You shouldn't be in this situation.

    Your mortgage lender is acting irresponsibly if they are forcing you to sell your home. They should either let you rent the property to yourself while you are unemployed, or convert the mortgage back to a repayment one. I'd report you to the FSA, or the ombudsman if I was you.

    Also, its sound like you've fallen though the cracks in the current benfits system - or are the victim of an incompetant benefits officer. Either way, any sane person would say you are eligible for benefits. Have you tried to talk to your MP or to citizen's advice to see if they can help?

  • Comment number 99.

    Young girls who get pregnant with no father listed just to collect a house and benefits should be housed in large communities (like an army camp!) of (say) 50. 25 go out to work and the other 25 baby sit, look after the housework and cooking etc.

    All the income is taken and each woman receives equal pocket money. The rest is used to fund the system and topped up with benefit payment.

    This will make a lot of them think twice. It's too easy to swan into a house/flat and then live a no responsibility life for ever. It will also free up housing for others.

  • Comment number 100.

    I would like to commend the comments of Hubert Huzzah (below), who makes a very intelligent contribution to this debate. There are many obstacles to moving from benefits into work, and trying to do so can be a very demoralising and frustrating experience. It is difficult to take up temporary/supply/erratic jobs due to the uncertainty involved, and the amount of form-filling (eg you have to know whether you will definitely have at least 16 hours work for at least 3 months, and for housing benefit, you have to know in advance what your weekly income is going to be). But at the same time these are the sort of jobs that are currently available and probably the only way back into the workforce for someone who has been out of paid employment for a long time.

    Another obstacle for many people is transport. If you have been on benefits for any length of time, then it is unlikely you will be running a car. This can severely limit which jobs are logistically possible, especially if you also have family responsibilities (which means you can't leave for work till 9am for example). There is no point in beating people with a stick if they have nowhere to go. They will end up like Seligman's tortured dogs - in a state of learned helplessness.

    The details of the new welfare reforms will be important. Will there be more carrot or stick? If it frees people up to do whatever work is available, however erratic and temporary, then that could be useful.

 

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