Conservatives would put unemployed on community service

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Under Conservative control, Job centres have already become places unemployed people fear. If David Cameron is elected in May, they will criminalise the unemployed altogether.

It used to be a punishment for low-level criminals, but now David Cameron has admitted a future Conservative government would force it on people who have been out of work for more than six months. Those aged 18-21 will have to go straight into this work.

What does that say about Cameron’s opinion of the unemployed?

Is he trying to make it seem like a criminal offence? Is he trying to make it a criminal offence to be young and out of work?

It’s all part of his ‘divide and conquer’ plan for the UK, one supposes – treat the unlucky as an underclass and make those who are fortunate enough to be in (well-paid) work thank their lucky stars.

Take note of that caveat about ‘well-paid’ work; part of this scheme to criminalise the unemployed is an intention to force more and more people into underpaid jobs without in-work benefits, in order to make more money for his rich donors (who of course will pass some of the benefit on to the Conservative Party). You know the kind – the zero-hours contracts that Labour plans to outlaw; part-time work, temporary work, minimum wage work that means people still have to claim benefits.

There’s also an intentional – but superficial – resemblance to Labour’s plan; the job guarantee.

Both would compel benefit claimants into work after six months, but after that, the Tory plan does not stand up well at all.

Cameron’s idea is to force people to do 30 hours’ community work every week, simply to keep the low level of benefits they are already receiving – and remember, benefits are currently subject to a low level of uprating and are capped to prevent people taking what Cameron has decided is too much.

Labour would put people in real jobs, paying at least the minimum wage, for a minimum of 25 hours per week, for a set period of time (although there would be the possibility of a permanent position afterwards, if the candidate is good at the job.

Critics have pointed out that 25 hours at minimum wage would provide the same amount of money as JSA plus housing benefit, but this relies on a false assumption; housing benefit would still be available to a minimum wage employee, with only a small taper (according to Stephen Timms, Rachel Reeves’s deputy).

In addition, 25 hours per week is the minimum amount of time employers will be asked to take people on. There’s nothing to stop them asking – and funding – more.

The BBC’s Ross Hawkins has pointed out that refusing to work under either system would mean a claimant would forfeit money – but that should not be an issue. Everybody should pay their own way, if possible – it’s a fundamental pillar of the British way of life. Why would anybody turn down a chance to stand on their own two feet and not rely on other people or the state?

Cameron reckons his scam – sorry, scheme – will cost £20 million to set up, funded by savings from the delivery of Universal Credit. How far over-budget is Universal Credit, now? £12.5 billion?

His sums just don’t add up.

He stands revealed as a grubby little grafter, scrubbing around for scraps that he can offer to his corporate masters.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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19 thoughts on “Conservatives would put unemployed on community service

      1. Mike Sivier Post author

        I’m sure everybody knows about it anyway.
        You really should not post off-topic comments on these threads, you know.

  1. chris

    divide and conquer tactics are starting to fail many are now waking up and seeing what the Tories really are.

  2. Mike Sivier Post author

    Here’s a quick comment from Kicking the Cat: “Once more Cameron puts his finely honed intellect to the task and concludes that the a recession and international banking crisis was not caused by greed and laissez faire right wing lack of regulation: but by not enough school leavers becoming “voluntary” chimney sweeps and match-girls……”

  3. Thomas

    Some young people will end up turning to crime because of Cameron’s plans for them.. It’s a pity most young people don’t bother to vote, or they could give the Tory Party an electoral punch in the mouth at the polls.

  4. jaynel62

    Thank you for using the correct title for the ‘work’ unemployed people will be forced into – it IS community Service and NOT Community Work; there is a Very distinct difference a primary one being community workers were regularly responsible for the supervision of those on CS.

    Community Work is a profession, not something people can be parachuted into, not least because of issues around protection of the most vulnerable. Can’t help wonder if the Govt are going to ensure all these ‘prisoners’ are going to undergo enhanced Criminal Checks before they are forced to work in elderly clubs or youth service??

  5. george

    What on earth is wrong with benefit recipients not in work doing some social and community service? I am sick of the attitude displayed by lefties who think that money grows on trees and that layabouts and feckless folk should be feathered bedded at someone elses’ expense. Bring back national service and get these folk fit for work.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Is it a crime to be unemployed? No, it isn’t. So the unemployed should not be made to do work that is a penance for crime.
      Okay – some of the work lined up for them might not be THAT kind of community work, in which case somebody probably does it already. Is it right to displace that person from their job so that unemployed people do it for far lower pay? No, it isn’t.
      If you want National Service back, you can be the first to enrol for it. With your attitude, you’ll be perfect fodder for it.

      Just for the record, I’m heartily sick, too – of bleeding-heart right-wingers who think the size of their wallet is the only measure of their success as a human being. I’m sick of the kind of person who believes they can tell what everyone else is thinking and tries to dictate it back to them (“money grows on trees” – not only is it a stupid claim, it’s also a cliché) – without even realising that they’re only quoting what someone further up their own social ladder has told them to say (“layabouts”, “feckless”).
      In short, I’m sick of people like you, “George” (if that’s even your real name). Would it be “George Iain Duncan Smith”, by any chance? If so, you’re the most hated man in the United Kingdom; you deserve to be hated; you will be hunted down and justice will be done – as it will to everybody who uses wealth, power and influence to victimise the less-fortunate.

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