The Tories are on the back foot—stung by the backlash against their “workfare” scheme to force unemployed people to work for free.
Ministers, bosses and right wing journalists have gone blue in the face trying to defend the indefensible. But none of them would work for nothing. So why should anyone else?
The government claimed that firms are doing jobless people a favour. Ministers say the schemes provide “valuable work experience”.
Many dispute this. But if it is valuable, presumably those on the schemes would be helping firms make profit. So why shouldn’t they be paid for it?
The government claims that half of those forced into workfare get a job at the end of it. But these figures simply refer to how many people stop claiming benefits. It is the same proportion as those for people who did not go on workfare.
The Department for Work and Pensions researched workfare schemes in other countries in 2008. It concluded there is “little evidence that workfare increases the likelihood of finding work” and that “it can even reduce employment chances”.
There are at least 2.67 million unemployed in this country and only 476,000 job vacancies. That works out at 5.6 people chasing each available job.
It isn’t lazy or unskilled workers who cause unemployment. It is bosses who put their thirst for profits above all else.
Workfare should be scrapped. And the government should take action to create decent jobs, with proper pay. Cameron and his cronies wouldn’t settle for anything less. Neither should we.