George Osborne extends 'work for benefit' for jobless

 

George Osborne: ''No-one will get something for nothing''

The long-term unemployed will have to undertake work placements in return for their benefits, under tougher rules unveiled by Chancellor George Osborne.

Welfare must be "fair for those who need it and fair for those who pay for it", he told the Tory conference.

Mr Osborne also announced that he hoped to freeze fuel duty until 2015 to help people with the cost of living.

While the UK was on the right track, he warned people their family finances would not be "transformed overnight".

The chancellor insisted the government's economic plan was working but was "far from complete" and turned his fire on Labour - accusing them of "declaring war on enterprise".

In other developments at Conservative conference:

  • Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said he was "proud" of the planned HS2 rail link and urged critics to stop "moaning"
  • The UK Independence Party said it was open to local deals for its candidates to stand aside in seats with Eurosceptic MPs - but the Tories reject the idea
  • David Cameron announced the Help to Buy mortgage scheme would be launched next week, three months earlier than planned
  • Home Secretary Theresa May and Justice Secretary Chris Grayling address the conference later on Monday

In his speech Mr Osborne described Labour's policy to freeze energy prices for 20 months as "phoney" and compared Ed Miliband's political philosophy to that of Karl Marx.

Start Quote

He has pledged that even when the nation's books have been balanced he will keep the lid on spending in order to put aside money for the next rainy day”

End Quote

He said he was optimistic about the future, saying the "sun had started to rise above the hill" but much more needed to be done to raise living standards for this generation and the next.

"There is no feeling at the conference of a task completed or a victory won," he said. "The battle for turning Britain round is not even close to being over."

He said he hoped to freeze fuel duty until the end of the current Parliament if savings could be found to pay for the move. Fuel duty has not risen since January 2011.

The RAC welcomed the announcement but called for a more fundamental overhaul of motoring taxation.

Mr Osborne also pledged to continue to keep control of spending even after the economic recovery was secured to avoid repeating the mistakes of "deluded" predecessors who believed they had abolished boom and bust.

Cleaning up litter

By running a budget surplus in the good times, he would "fix the roof while the sun was shining".

Analysis

There is nothing new about making jobseekers work on pain of losing their benefits.

The government began what it called Mandatory Work Activity back in 2011.

Under the scheme, JobCentre advisers sent people on four-week placements on pain of losing their Jobseeker's allowance. It was down to private contractors to source the placements.

There is nothing new in the policy affecting many thousands of people.

Between May 2011 and February 2013, there were 146,810 referrals to Mandatory Work Activity placements.

Although government figures show there were only 53,720 occasions on which people actually started the placements.

Those who failed to begin may have got a job, decided not to claim the benefit or simply refused to take part.

And there is nothing new in putting some people on work placements once their time on the Work Programme has finished.

Plans to do that were announced in May. George Osborne is changing the system, though, by extending the placements from four weeks to six months.

Only about a third of the 200,000 Jobseekers Allowance claimants affected will be on the work placements.

The other two thirds will either have to attend a jobcentre every day or undergo programmes to address the reasons they cannot find work like illiteracy or mental health problems.

The new system will affect people completing the Work Programme without finding jobs from April 2014.

Labour said Mr Osborne could not be trusted to deliver a surplus, having had to backtrack on his earlier pledge to eliminate the structural deficit in 2015.

"By opposing the measures Labour announced last week to freeze energy prices and expand free childcare for working parents, the Tories have shown once again that they only ever stand up for a privileged few not for hard working families," shadow minister Rachel Reeves said.

On welfare, Mr Osborne said that while the government would not "abandon" the long-term unemployed, no-one would be able to get something for nothing.

Those who had not found work after two years on the existing Work Programme - where contractors are paid a fee to get people into a job - will face a new scheme called help-to-work.

To still qualify for jobseeker's allowance they will have three options - work placements, such as cleaning up litter; daily visits to a job centre; or taking part in compulsory training, for example, to improve their literacy.

People would have to remain on help-to-work until they found employment - unlike the current scheme which is limited to six months.

Those who breach the rules will lose four weeks' worth of benefits. Anyone who breaks the rules a second time faces losing three months' worth of benefits.

'Useful work'

Mr Osborne told the conference: "We are saying there is no option of doing nothing for your benefits, no something-for-nothing any more.

"They will do useful work to put something back into their community; making meals for the elderly, clearing up litter, working for a local charity.

"Others will be made to attend the job centre every working day.

"And for those with underlying problems, like drug addiction and illiteracy, there will be an intensive regime of support. No-one will be ignored or left without help. But no-one will get something for nothing."

A Department of Work and Pensions assessment of mandatory work activity - a similar compulsory work scheme introduced by ministers in 2011 - found it "had no impact on the likelihood of being employed". And on the work programme, DWP figures suggested one in 10 of those seen found a long-term job.

Unions said the help-to-work plan was an admission that existing schemes had failed.

And business groups said "warm words" on enterprise and wealth creation must be backed up by a "relentless focus" in the years ahead.

"Breaking government addiction to debt and achieving a surplus in public finances is the most important ambition any administration can have," the Institute of Directors said.

 

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

Comments

This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
 
  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 1013.

    I'll work in a placement programme. Whether it be 10, 20, 30, 40 hours per week. The more the better. As for the type of work I don't care (I'll clean peoples poo if needed) as I just want to get back onto the swing of living again.

    Plus minimum wage should paid for every hour worked under a work programme.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 1012.

    These poor long term unemployed, they'll finally have to DO SOMETHING in return for their sponging existance.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 1011.

    I have an idea.

    George Osbourne (and all cabinet ministers) should do 2 months "work experience" in a job centre (at least 20 miles from where they live), hell I wouldn't even mind if they claim expenses for that. (although they shouldn't as we can't)

    Then they could see those that want work from those that don't!

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 1010.

    TwinDad, if you divide the Jobseekers Allowance of £60/wk by the minimum wage that works out at 9 hours work a week.

    The most important thing to get jobs is get economy going whereas we have had cuts which have held the economy back by 3 yrs and massive tax cuts for the top1% while the other 99.5% have seen a fall in living standards. Stupid economics by a govt of trustafarian rich kids

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 1009.

    964. eConundrum
    So why should you get something for nothing, while they work hard to support you? Please explain.

    My uncle has been out of work for nearly 2 years. He genuinely can't find a job. Hes 63, no one wants him. Having paid in all his life, hes now having to face up to that fact. On top of this, he's also going to have to face the indignity of picking up litter for pittance.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 1008.

    If there are real jobs to be done, then why not offer them to our long term unemployed and pay them a decent wage rather than expecting people to work for less than the minimum wage. Isn't that slave labour?
    Oh yes, and he's forgotten to mention the not insubstantial costs of training, administration, supervision etc.

  • rate this
    -4

    Comment number 1007.

    Lets hope the spinless lib-dems do not scupper this

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 1006.

    918. KirstyKaye
    The Work program has nothing to offer if you are literate, can wash yourself and have marketable skills already."

    I'm sorry, but if you've been out of work for 2 years, then you can't really say that you have 'marketable skills'

  • rate this
    -14

    Comment number 1005.

    Yup as predicted the slave labour chants have appeared as per usual. I have noticed that a lot of people have a hatred for those that are successful in their lives. Just remember that those people you hate are the ones PAYING for your FREE benefits through their taxes!!

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 1004.

    To make it fair, employed people should also do their fair share of litter picking

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 1003.

    Either the government is completely clueless over the way to tackle long-term and youth unemployment - The ''Flagship" Work Programme seems to be sinking fast and this new programme doesn't look very promising: or they have some creeping agenda they're not telling us about. Or both!

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 1002.

    @28,,it is unreasonable to ask people to work for £2 an hour,,its outrageous and unfair,,bet u have a job and vote torie,,y hit the unemployed when u should be hitting the banks? its making no difference to the economy to do this.the people of england voted in this bunch of criminals, hope u are happy

  • rate this
    +103

    Comment number 1001.

    A bit torn, as a tax payer i want to see something being done whilst searching for a job to benefit the community than just sitting around.

    At the same time this sort of "labour" will eventually take away from real jobs and i feel that this system could be heavily exploited as i have seen with low paid apprentices chucked after 6 months to avoid keeping them on full time with higher pay.

  • rate this
    +12

    Comment number 1000.

    This shower of misfit multimillionaire parttime politician clowns seem to be returning you to the Dickens era of workhouses & extreme poverty whilst the toffs at the other end of the scale are raking in billions Congrats Gideon you've made an enemy of William Wilberforce! Utopia UK it's got its head so far up its own backside with Etonian hooray henrys rife tax evasion & mass immigration. FARCICAL

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 999.

    28.Holtender
    2 Hours ago

    ssshhhh Common sense means nothing in todays morning for nothing culture

  • rate this
    +16

    Comment number 998.

    Once upon a time governments used to bring in policies to directly help people, now, they are content (and with the rabid knee jerkers allowing them to do it) to introduce policies that are aimed at directly punishing people for things that, for most, are not their fault at all.

    So the bloke who's paid £1000s in tax for 30 years now has to work for the benefit that he's worked 30 year for. Nice.

  • rate this
    +12

    Comment number 997.

    Unfit and unqualified for government - sack Osborne now

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 996.

    Two years long term unemployed - counting from when?

  • rate this
    +71

    Comment number 995.

    There does seem to be quite a few problems with this, that I can see...

    1) Where are all these 'job placements' going to come from?
    2) Surely if it's for private companies, they can afford to pay them too...?
    3) What about those with kids/those who'd be worse off working than otherwise?
    4) Relevance to career seems lacking, voluntary work has some, job placements don't.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 994.

    Jack Napier #979
    Couldn't agree more

 

Page 51 of 101

 

More Politics stories

RSS

Politics Live

  1.  
    @xtophercook Chris Cook, Newsnight policy editor

    tweets: I don't get why CCHQ doesn't just say "Last time, we think the debates were a distraction and we would rather run a traditional campaign"

     
  2.  
    09:03: Your say

    Politics Live readers on TV debates

    Mr Cameron, in effect, is the CEO of the United Kingdom. His duty is to abide by what the electorate requests or risk losing power, he has already lost face. He doesn't want to stand in front of his company's employees and explain his failures.

    Chris

    Either David Cameron or Ed Miliband will be obliged to form a (probably minority) government on 8th May so why is Cameron running scared of a 1 to 1 debate with Miliband?

    ... The public want to see an old fashioned 1 to 1 between the 2 potential Prime Ministers and if it doesn't happen it will be David Cameron's fault.

    Andy Kirkland

    If the conservatives think Ed Miliband is so weak why is David Cameron not willing to go head to head with him?

    Pat Pierce.

    Cameron is always going on about the achievements of this Government, how at all costs the good work being done should continue and not change course, the long term etc. If he speaks so passionately about this and how anything else would be utter chaos and doom, and he wants people to vote Tory, why does he not go all out in TV debate with Miliband and pull opposition apart and vice versa, so the voters get to see a real debate.

    K.Pearce

     
  3.  
    @IsabelHardman Isabel Hardman, assistant editor at The Spectator

    tweets: Tory MPs are in a mutinous mood over defence spending, dismissed as having "no votes". Me in today's Times

     
  4.  
    08:47: 'Thatcher would have debated' BBC News Channel

    Lord Ashdown tells the BBC he can't imagine Margaret Thatcher refusing to take part in debates - he says David Cameron's decision is "unbelievable". The former Lib Dem leader adds that broadcasters should go ahead with their plans and "empty-chair" the prime minister if needs be.

     
  5.  
    08:46: Greens on TV debates
    Nathalie Bennett

    The Green Party has just released a statement on the TV debate row: "This swerve by Cameron will further damage trust in our political system. Not only is Cameron's announcement cowardly but it also shows his contempt for the electorate.

    "People want to see a set of debates between all major party leaders, yet the Prime Minister is clearly scared of scrutiny.

    "Natalie is very much looking forward to debating with the other 6 party leaders. David Cameron must not be allowed to scupper these plans."

     
  6.  
    @jimwaterson Jim Waterson, BuzzFeed UK deputy editor

    tweets: Happy to host a seven-way leaders' debate over Twitter group DMs at a time that suits the parties.

     
  7.  
    08:40: What's happened so far?

    It's been a busy morning in Westminster. Here's a quick recap for those of you heading to work or just arriving at the office:

    There's bound to be plenty more to come. We'll bring you all the latest news and analysis. Don't forget to let us know your views; emails is politics@bbc.co.uk or tweet @bbcpolitics.

     
  8.  
    @kayburley Kay Burley, Sky News presenter

    tweets: So @campbellclaret says he's been prepping @Ed_Miliband for #TVdebates by 'playing David Cameron' Now there's a thought...

     
  9.  
    08:27: Harvey Proctor BBC Radio 4 Today

    "The police wish to interview me", Mr Proctor says. He wants it to happen "at the earliest opportunity", he adds.

     
  10.  
    08:25: Harvey Proctor BBC Radio 4 Today

    Harvey Proctor says he was a discreet man and he would not have discussed his sexuality with senior colleagues in the Commons. He tells Today he did not know about alleged sex abuse. He says he is "sure" some of the allegations are true, but others are not.

     
  11.  
    08:24: Harvey Proctor on claims BBC Radio 4 Today

    Former Conservative MP Harvey Proctor is speaking to Today after his house was searched by police. The police have told him they are investigating historical sex abuse allegations going back to 1970s and 1980s, he says. The offences he committed in the past would no longer be offences - they related to the age of consent, he adds. He denies ever attending sex parties of being part of any "rent boy ring" with high profile figures.

     
  12.  
    08:21: Debate fallout BBC Radio 5 live
    Lord Carlile

    Reaction to the debates row is pouring in. This is from Liberal Democrat peer Lord Carlile:

    "I think we should found our debates on the system we've got, upon a credible approach and treating the public as intelligent people and the Prime Minister I'm afraid is running scared from it because he knows how well Nick Clegg did at the last election so he doesn't want him in the debates."

    On plans for a seven-party debate, he adds: "I most certainly will not be watching a bun fight of that kind because I think it will be extremely uninformative. I think the public should be treated with respect in this controversy and the public expect that this will be resolved on the basis of the election system we have, like it or not."

     
  13.  
    08:19: Lord Ashdown on debates BBC Radio 4 Today

    The biggest losers from this are the British people, says Lord Ashdown. He accuses the prime minister of "cowardice" and suggests the debates could become a right for the British people.

     
  14.  
    08:16: Lord Ashdown on debates BBC Radio 4 Today

    Lord Ashdown asks "why on earth" should David Cameron be allowed to "veto" debates? He says the Lib Dems will take part in whatever debates take place. He says Nick Clegg will be happy to debate Ed Miliband on the government's record if Mr Cameron won't.

     
  15.  
    08:15: Lord Ashdown on debates BBC Radio 4 Today
    Lord Ashdown

    Lord Ashdown, chairman of Liberal Democrats election campaign, says David Cameron is frightened of "defending his own position" during the TV debates. The peer says what the prime minister is proposing is "ludicrous" and highlights it would come out before the Conservative election is published.

     
  16.  
    @georgegalloway George Galloway, MP

    tweets: How pathetic must a PM be that he is "frit" to debate with Ed Miliband....?

     
  17.  
    Norman Smith BBC Assistant Political Editor

    tweets: Ed Miliband met BBC boss Tony Hall last night to urge broadcasters to stand firm over #tvdebates

     
  18.  
    @tnewtondunn Tom Newton Dunn, The Sun political editor

    tweets: "Cameron accused of running scared on TV debates..." is the headline on BBC bulletins, who stand to lose out considerably by No10's offer.

     
  19.  
    08:07: Devolution for Cornwall
    Cornwall flag

    The Liberal Democrats want to offer the people of Cornwall a legislative assembly with powers to run local services. The option of a Cornish Assembly would be put to a referendum under the party's plans. Nick Clegg - who is in Cornwall today - says the reform would mean housing, healthcare and transport decisions were taken locally.

     
  20.  
    07:58: 'Rule out SNP pact'
    Scottish Labour

    The Scotsman reports this morning that Labour's Scottish MPs are demanding a deal with the SNP is ruled out before the election. The newspaper says the call came yesterday at a weekly meeting of party MPs from north of the border. There were "no dissenting voices" when the issue was raised by Edinburgh MP Ian Murray, the report adds.

     
  21.  
    07:50: Former MP's home searched

    The home of Harvey Proctor, the former Conservative MP who left Parliament in the 1980s, has been searched by police investigating historical allegations of child abuse and murder or manslaughter. Our home affairs correspondent Tom Symonds says the move is part of Operation Midland, launched after a man in his forties alleged he was abused by a group of "prominent individuals" in the 1970s and 1980s.

     
  22.  
    Ross Hawkins Political correspondent, BBC News

    tweets: If parties invited to debates insist they happen & broadcasters stand by plan to press on whoever turns up, this will be an almighty scrap

     
  23.  
    07:39: Blair Labour donation
    Blair

    The Times is reporting this morning that former prime minister Tony Blair has donated £106,000 to Labour candidates around the UK. The money, from Mr Blair's private fortune, will be divided between 106 of Labour's target seats, the newspaper says.

     
  24.  
    07:32: Your say

    A selection of comments from Politics Live readers on the TV debates

    Rather than what broadcasters or what political parties want regarding debates, what about what the electorate wants?

    The debates at the last election and the Scottish referendum debates were widely watched and helped reconnect the public with the political process. They took leaders out of their ivory towers and made them more accountable to the people they are supposed to lead.

    Cameron refusing to take part in debates shows his contempt for this process and a fear of public scrutiny. I really think the Tories have made a major error of judgement here, the electorate will not be gentle.

    Ged Roddam

    The prime minister has stated he only wants one debate. It is not the broadcasters who should pressurise otherwise. They need to respect his position on this, as do the other parties who are name calling.

    Broadcasters would not be pressurising the CEO of a large company on how to run their business...

    Sara Brewer

    Do you agree? Email is politics@bbc.co.uk with your views.

     
  25.  
    @rosschawkins Ross Hawkins, BBC political correspondent

    tweets: Lib Dem view on debates is they'll do them even if not happy about format. Will broadcasters - as they've suggested - go ahead without PM?

     
  26.  
    @PickardJE Jim Pickard, Financial Times

    tweets: Alastair Campbell is outraged by Cameron wriggling from TV debates. Reminded he blocked Blair from doing so in 1997 he tells #today: "True."

     
  27.  
    07:22: One man debate? BBC Radio 4 Today

    Asked if Ed Miliband should offer to take part in a debate alone, Alastair Campbell says it's a "tactical judgement", but Mr Miliband should "probably" press ahead without David Cameron. It's the interest of both the Labour Party and the country as a whole that an Ed Miliband v David Cameron takes place, Mr Campbell adds.

     
  28.  
    @Kevin_Maguire Kevin Maguire, Daily Mirror associate editor

    tweets: TV election debates are important in principle. If we adopt a written constitution, put them in alongside secret ballots and spending caps

     
  29.  
    07:15: Campbell on TV debates BBC Radio 4 Today

    Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair's former director of communications, says David Cameron's decision to only take part in one TV debate is "democratically wrong and morally cowardly". He says Mr Cameron should be honest about why he doesn't want to take part - "he just doesn't want to do them", Mr Campbell says.

     
  30.  
    07:11: One-on-one debate? Ross Hawkins Political correspondent, BBC News

    Is it possible for a "one-on-one" debate to go ahead with just one person? Labour thinks so, our political correspondent reports. The party will insist the plan is credible and could lead to Ed Miliband taking part in a debate with a presenter.

    "If that were to happen, David Cameron would be pursued by a man in a chicken costume throughout the campaign, I'm certain of that", our correspondent adds.

     
  31.  
    07:06: Telegraph on debates The Daily Telegraph

    The Telegraph has penned an editorial which says the televised discussions are good for democracy. The paper argues the debates would "inject some much-needed spontaneity and excitement into the stage-managed, safety-first election campaigning". The piece says broadcasters now need to work together to make sure "some sort of debate" does take place.

     
  32.  
    Norman Smith BBC Assistant Political Editor

    tweets: Labour say Ed Miliband will still take part in Ch4//Sky head to head debate without the PM

     
  33.  
    @NickyMorgan01 Nicky Morgan, minister for women

    tweets: Looking forward to today's #CWIB2015. Bringing together ambitious business women for masterclasses and mentoring. #womensday

     
  34.  
    06:55: 'Move Parliament to Manchester' The Guardian

    Earlier this week, we reported Commons Speaker John Bercow saying the Houses of Parliament may have to be "abandoned" within 20 years without extensive repair work. There have been a number of suggestions on possible alternatives. Today, Simon Jenkins writes in the Guardian that Parliament should be moved to Manchester, arguing it would be good for democracy.

     
  35.  
    06:51: Broadcasters 'pressing ahead' Norman Smith BBC Assistant Political Editor

    "Talking to some of those involved last night, my impression at the moment, is the broadcasters are intent on toughing this one out... They do not think that one 90-minute debate involving eight parties in the next fortnight or so is acceptable. They do not think it is acceptable one party should have the power to veto what goes ahead. As things stand they are intent on pressing ahead with the debates as currently scheduled."

     
  36.  
    06:42: Cameron's debate plans Norman Smith BBC Assistant Political Editor

    Our correspondent has been analysing last night's big debate news.

    The effect is to swing a huge wrecking ball in the direction of the broadcasters' plans for these TV debates, he says. It may demolish all hopes for a debate to be held, or may leave one "paltry" 90-minute debate later this month.

    The clear view of Downing Street is that this is the fault of broadcasters, who they accuse of coming forward with proposals without consultation, to a timetable that was never going to be acceptable, and of failing to get the parties to get together for meaningful negotiations, our correspondent says.

     
  37.  
    06:39: TV debate reaction
    HuffPo

    There is plenty of reaction around to Downing Street's one-debate proposal. Including this, which leaves little doubt as to where the Huffington Post stands on the issue.

     
  38.  
    06:30: Scotland Ashcroft poll

    In other political news you may have missed from last night, a poll suggested the SNP could win Gordon Brown's seat - Kircaldy and Cowdenbeath - at the election in May. The poll by Lord Ashcroft also suggested Charles Kennedy, the former Liberal Democrat leader, could also lose his seat to the nationalists. It's the latest polling which suggests the SNP could make significant gains on 7 May.

     
  39.  
    06:25: The papers
    Daily Telegraph front page - 05/03/15

    Downing Street's announcement that the prime minister will only take part in one TV debate ahead of the election features in several papers, with The Daily Telegraph describing it as an "ultimatum" to broadcasters. The BBC's Alex Kleiderman has the full round-up of the nationals here.

     
  40.  
    06:20: Child benefit changes? BBC Newsnight BBC Two, 22:30

    The BBC has learned the Conservatives are considering limiting child benefit to three children. As Newsnight reported last night, the Treasury has "softened" to the idea, which could save an estimated £300m a year.

     
  41.  
    06:15: Debate bombshell
    Leaders

    In case you missed it, there was a significant development last night on the TV leaders debates, after Downing Street wrote to broadcasters to make a "final offer" of only one debate with seven, possibly eight, leaders. Other parties criticised the PM, accusing him of "acting like a chicken" and the broadcasters have said they will respond to the proposal in due course. Expect more reaction on this story this morning.

     
  42.  
    06:10: Good morning

    Hello and welcome to a fresh Thursday's political coverage. Nick Eardley and Matthew Davis will bring you all the action, reaction and analysis in text and you'll be able to watch and listen to all the main BBC political programmes, from Today and Breakfast through to Newsnight and Today in Parliament. Don't forget you can get in touch by emailing politics@bbc.co.uk or via social media @bbcpolitics. Here's how Wednesday unfolded.

     

Features

Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.