'Make 'em work' - could workfare work for Britain?
The question of whether those claiming benefits should have to work for their money has long polarised political opinion, to such an extent that it has often been pushed to the political margins.
Lord Jones actually took a step further than most in claiming that if he were a viewer at home, Panorama's report on the young unemployed would make him so angry that he would want to starve some of the long-term unemployed back into work.
He added that he thought he was in step with the British public's thinking on the subject.
Workfare is of course an alternative to the social welfare system that operates in the UK and is rooted in the US of the early 1970s.
In the UK, as long as people are demonstrating that they are actively seeking employment then - if eligible - they receive their benefits.
In many US states - and indeed parts of Australia and Canada - unemployed have to take jobs - often in the public or voluntary sector - to continue to earn their benefits. If they don't accept an offer of work, then they don't receive their payments.
Panorama went to McDowell County, West Virginia in the United States for a programme broadcast on 7 April 1986 to investigate the workfare system operating there.
There, they found workfare employees in almost every area of the public sector, from patient day care in health centres and residential homes, to street cleaning to, perhaps most surprisingly, walking the beat as police officers, able to do everything a regular police officer could do - except carry a gun.
What Panorama also discovered was a system that appeared to be working successfully.
Those employed claimed that workfare gave them dignity and a sense of self-worth from working for their benefits and the local mayor spoke of the contribution made to the local economy and the public good.
Workfare was not without its critics. Opponents claimed that it was simply a source of cheap labour and that it actually stymied opportunity for the unemployed.
But its popular appeal and apparent economic sense made it a vote-winner and a form of workfare was introduced nationally in the US in 1996 under Bill Clinton.
It remains to be seen whether workfare will be introduced in the UK after the election, but with unemployment continuing to rise and the need for public spending cuts now generally accepted, it might prove to be a tempting option for future governments.