Suzanne Moore gets up on that traditional high horse at The Guardian to decry the Help to Work programme. This may or may not, it is true, be quite as spiffing as those proposing it wish to claim. But the point for us to look at here is that Ms. Moore, and many like her, know the reason it is being deployed yet choose to ignore that very reason.
This is called Help to Work. Doublespeak. For it doesn’t help and it won’t work. Jobcentres are not geared up to cope with such numbers, and many leading charities such as Oxfam are boycotting mandatory work placements because they think the key word in voluntary work is, er, voluntary. If it isn’t, we are basically talking about community service, which you would get for being found guilty of an offence
The government’s own research indicates that unpaid work placements are not increasing the chances of claimants finding work. But, yet again, this policy is not about finance (it will actually cost money if travel fares to jobcentres are paid); it is an ideological assault that seeks to undermine the very idea of unemployment benefit.
Yeah, yeah, Tories grinding the faces of the poor into the dust again. But what’s this?
Employers aren’t fantastically keen on someone has not worked for a while.
Umm, yes, that’s the point of these sorts of schemes. It comes from the work of Richard Layard, who has been pointing this out since the 1970s (it was in textbooks in the 80s at least). Employers don’t want people, for some reason, who have been long term unemployed. So, if we have long term unemployed then we’ve got to get them a job of some kind, doing damn near anything, so that they’re not long term unemployed, but perhaps partially employed, employed, short term unemployed even, where they have a chance of attracting an employer.
This is the very point of it all, the aim and intention. Which is why, whole the name has changed over the decades, each and every government has been trying to implement some similar sort of scheme since those 80s. On the grounds that Layard is actually correct in his analysis. Welfare to Work was just one other name for exatly this same plan and for the same darn reasons.
It’s not so much that people are ignorant of all this it’s that commentators on the point seem to have all of the necessary information to hand but still willfully ignore some of it.