15:02 30 September 2013
Outlining tough new ideas about welfare spending, Chancellor Osborne has laid out “tough” conditions that 200,000 long-term unemployed must meet in order to claim benefits.
Claimants may either undertake community work, go on a full-time intensive programme to address underlying issues that keep them out of job for an extended period of time or attend sessions at the job centre every day.
The programme, called £300m-a-year Help to Work programme will start on April, 2014.
People who fail to comply for the first time will lose four weeks’ worth of benefits. For the second offence, they will lose three months’ worth.
Although the conditions are controversial, Tories insist that the programme will help people strive harder to get back to work instead of always giving them the option of “signing on as usual.” They believe that the public will support the welfare reform especially now that there is a £26,000-a-year cap on benefits that one family can claim.
Shadow Treasury Secretary, Rachel Reeves, said: “It’s taken three wasted years of rising long-term unemployment and a failed Work Programme to come up with this new scheme. But this policy is not as ambitious as Labour’s compulsory jobs guarantee, which would ensure there is a paid job for every young person out of work for over 12 months, and for every adult unemployed for more than two years.
“With Labour’s plans, we would work with employers to ensure there are jobs for young people and the long-term unemployed – which they would have to take up or lose benefits. Under the Tory scheme, people would still be allowed to languish on the dole for years on end without having a proper job.”
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