Making work pay: Balls announces compulsory jobs guarantee for long-term unemployed


Ed Balls today set out plans for a compulsory jobs guarantee for the long-term unemployed – ensuring there is a job for every adult who is long-term unemployed.

Ed-Balls
In an article for Politics Home, the shadow chancellor says the guarantee will be for adults out of work for two years, to be extended to those without a job for 18 months and then a year. Those offered work will be obliged to take it up or face losing benefits.

There are currently 129,400 adults over the age of 25 who have been out of work for 24 months or more – a staggering 88 per cent increase on the same month last year, and 146 per cent increase in the last two years.

Labour says the £1 billion costs can be funded by reversing the government’s decision to stop tax relief on pension contributions for those earning more than £150,000 being limited to 20 per cent.

Balls writes:

Tackling long-term unemployment will be a top priority for the next Labour government because we know from the 1980s that it has a scarring effect on individuals and communities, damages our economy and society, and builds up long-term costs for the taxpayer.

“Once again this government’s record is lamentable. It’s so called welfare to work programme is nothing of the sort. The Work Programme’s results have been worse than doing nothing with just two in 100 jobseekers helped into sustained employment. And the government’s wider economic failure, with a flatlining economy and rising long-term unemployment, means the welfare bill is set to be over £13 billion higher than George Osborne planned.

“Labour has already proposed a compulsory Youth Jobs Guarantee, which would use funds raised from a tax on bank bonuses to fund a guaranteed job for every young person out of work for a year or more – which they will have to take.”

The three tests for a “One Nation” welfare system, Balls adds, are that it:

1. “Must pay more to be in work than live on benefits, both for the individual and the Exchequer”;

2. “Must get tough on the scourge of long-term unemployment by matching rights with responsibilities”;

3. “Must be fair to those who are in work or genuinely want to work“.

He concludes:

“David Cameron cannot be the one nation prime minister Britain needs when his government targets people in work and people who want to work, and labels them as scroungers. When a government becomes more interested in exploiting the challenges the country faces rather than solving them, it shows they are no longer fit to govern, and are just interested in scoring cheap points and trying to set so called political traps.

“The fundamental truth is that the best way to get the benefits bill down is not to attack the striving mum in part-time work or the redundant nurse desperately trying to find a new job, but to get everybody back to work. That is what Labour’s jobs guarantees would do. Britain needs real welfare reform that is tough, fair and that works.

“Welfare reform that unites the country and takes the economy forward, not divisive, nasty and misleading smears from an out of touch and failing government.”

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  • sunshine31

    At what point are you going to stand up for and stop the evil attacks on the sick & disabled who are not able to improve their lives by working?

  • Newsbot9

    It’s the typical welfare-bashing language again – you have to jump into the first terrible minimum-wage job which comes along, so why would companies advertise anything but high-skill roles for anything more? Mid-skill jobs, you WILL find people on the dole.

    This is just a deadline for ensuring that people get pushed onto the minimum wage.

    His “point 1″ is a charter for further welfare cuts, of course…Britain already has a very harsh, conditional and punishing benefit system and he’s setting up further attacks with this speech.

  • Galadriel

    What this article, like the one in the Guardian fails to note, is that these jobs are part-time, not full-time positions. For a paltry 25 hours a week (as reported on the BBC Politics page. Scroungers will simply become Shirkers in this ridiculous data and word shifting game.

    “Tackling long-term unemployment will be a top priority for the next Labour government’.

    Right – so when are you going to tackle the underemployment issues then Balls, which, as has been documented on this site, is actually a bigger problem than unemployment.

    “Welfare reform that unites the country and takes the economy forward, not divisive, nasty and misleading smears from an out of touch and failing government”. That’s what it says above.

    I would hardly call shifting the unemployed into the underemployed category ‘Welfare reform’. It is welfare tinkering. Nothing more.

    The people of this country deserve more than meerly low-paid, part-time, meaningless Toil. They want meaningful employment and a living full-time wage.

    You won’t win the war of Rhetoric with this paper-shifting exercise.

  • Old Albion

    Unemployment will continue to rise all the time the door is open to unlimited immigration. Something you leftys love to support.

  • LB

    Well you could take that min skill job. Nothing says you can’t look for the high skill roles whilst working.

  • LB

    Quite.

    Take one billion from the productive. Remember, that 1 billion is going into investments, so remove it, and use it as you say to move people from Scroungers to Shirkers.

    If its a billion per 130K workers, that’s 8K per person moved, assuming no other payments or costs. 8K? Still on benefits.

    So where’s the growth? It’s going to cause lots of damage on the investment front, and not going to generate jobs.

    5,000 bn of debt still remains hidden off the books. (pensions) 1,100 bn of debt on top, plus PFI, guarantees, ….

    Never going to be paid when taxes only raise 500 bn.

    If I was a civil servant, I would be shitting bricks. Greek style cuts are on their way

  • LB

    He can’t. There is too much debt. They’ve run a Ponzi. ONS puts the pension debts at 5,000 bn on top of the other debts.

    Given taxes only raise 500 bn, they are 14 times geared just on the debt.

    Now for spending. The overspend is 30% of taxes.

    You have to face up to the economic reality. There isn’t the money.

    So the question is who loses out?

    The rich? There aren’t enough of them. For example, lets take all of Branson’s assets (not income, the lot). That’s 2 billion. You’ve just plugged the deficit for 2-3 days. Now who? The debt is still there, it hasn’t gone down, in actually gone up because the pensions liability will have grown, even if the borrowing hasn’t.

    So yes I agree. Those genuinely not able to work because of disability need to be protected.

    To protect the unemployed, they need to be able to save for themselves whilst the times are good. Allowing the state to take their money and spend it, means that when it comes to payouts, they won’t get it. That’s the risk of the welfare state, and you are seeing just the first indications. There is far more to come.

  • Steve Jones

    Leftys such as Boris Johnson? Your argument is nonsense anyway and isn’t backed up by any credible data.

  • Mr Reasonable

    I thought the correct spelling was ‘lefties’; change the y to ies when changing to a plural. Nothing so undermines one’s credibility as poor spelling, don’t you think?

  • Timmo111

    Why would he ? He was part of the last government that chose to start this evil attack on the sick and disabled before the financial crash and at a time when the top rate of tax was only forty pence.

  • John Ruddy

    I think you need to look at the Future Jobs Fund which was very successful, and which the participants found to be very rewarding, giving them back a feeling of self worth that their unemployment had robbed from them.
    This isnt about forcing people in the first minimum wage job that comes along – its about creating jobs for those people to go into.
    For so long people have been trying to tell the coalition that the unemployed arnt shirkers (or whatever language you want ot use), because there arnt enough jobs out there. This is giving them the chance to prove people wrong, by giving that job which could turn around their job prospects.

  • John Ruddy

    I think you need to look at the Future Jobs Fund which was very successful, and which the participants found to be very rewarding, giving them back a feeling of self worth that their unemployment had robbed from them.
    This isnt about forcing people in the first minimum wage job that comes along – its about creating jobs for those people to go into.
    For so long people have been trying to tell the coalition that the unemployed arnt shirkers (or whatever language you want ot use), because there arnt enough jobs out there. This is giving them the chance to prove people wrong, by giving that job which could turn around their job prospects.

  • John Ruddy

    Or indeed that being in that job wont help you get a better job than being someone who has been unemployed for 2 years.

  • Newsbot9

    Ah, so it’s going to be sub-minimum wage jobs then? This is directly in line with previous attacks on the poor Miliband has made.

    Forced jobs are going to be seen as negatives by employers.

  • Newsbot9

    Ah yes, so, after spending 40 hours a week working, and 15 hours a week travelling…oh, right. And of course no days off for the first three months…

  • Newsbot9

    That’s right, as long as he’s not willing to make your 1% pay your way, there will be a tax collection problem, like Greece’s. You’re the Ponzi scammer, “capitalist”.

    Keep on calling for all, maybe, 3 people total you genuinely believe can’t work to be “protected” And keep saying how it’s so terrible that the poor haven’t had a higher poverty premium, as you want, and hence been able to save less.

    Of course you’re going to kill far more. It’s you, and the way you’re keeping the debt high to commit your atrocities.

  • Newsbot9

    Yes, you’ll enact Greek-style cuts because you’ve wrecked the economy by refusing to pay, just like the Greeks. Except it’s not everyone here, it’s only your rich.

    You keep calling known debt “off the books” to excuse, scammer, not paying it. You keep celebrating the fact you’ve blocked growth. You keep calling on the government to make it so work can’t pay for the poor without outright slavery.

    Of course, I’m sure you’ll make civil servants work for no pay at all under your “advanced” system. Why, how dare they try and help people!

  • Newsbot9

    A typical lie based on bigotry. The studies show time and again that you’re wrong, and simply lashing out against Britain, trying to wreck the economy further.

  • Newsbot9

    What about the people who are working, and are cutting back on food and heating/ This has gone far beyond the sick and disabled.

  • http://twitter.com/UrquhartGary Gary Urquhart

    Poor use of language by Ed Balls with the “compulsion” element. It just looks like a race to the low ground between Labour & ConDems. Should be better than that!

  • blarg1987

    Part of the underlying problem is that alot of people on benefits are people who are in work but employers like to pay the minimum wage leaving tax payers to subsidise employers through tax credits etc.

    The currentr policies are all sticks we need carrots, cuts in housing benefit should have also include a cap on what the rental sector can charge an dpossibly reduction. With the cuts in benefits, this should be accomponied by increasing the tsx free allowance and changing the law to force employers to pay the living wage.

    I know free marketers will say this will damage job growth etc, but since they say weshould be all in this togeather this would set the exmple that we are rather then the evidence which says we are not.

  • blarg1987

    Part of the underlying problem is that alot of people on benefits are people who are in work but employers like to pay the minimum wage leaving tax payers to subsidise employers through tax credits etc.

    The currentr policies are all sticks we need carrots, cuts in housing benefit should have also include a cap on what the rental sector can charge an dpossibly reduction. With the cuts in benefits, this should be accomponied by increasing the tsx free allowance and changing the law to force employers to pay the living wage.

    I know free marketers will say this will damage job growth etc, but since they say weshould be all in this togeather this would set the exmple that we are rather then the evidence which says we are not.

  • blarg1987

    Part of the underlying problem is that alot of people on benefits are people who are in work but employers like to pay the minimum wage leaving tax payers to subsidise employers through tax credits etc.

    The currentr policies are all sticks we need carrots, cuts in housing benefit should have also include a cap on what the rental sector can charge an dpossibly reduction. With the cuts in benefits, this should be accomponied by increasing the tsx free allowance and changing the law to force employers to pay the living wage.

    I know free marketers will say this will damage job growth etc, but since they say weshould be all in this togeather this would set the exmple that we are rather then the evidence which says we are not.

  • blarg1987

    Part of the underlying problem is that alot of people on benefits are people who are in work but employers like to pay the minimum wage leaving tax payers to subsidise employers through tax credits etc.

    The currentr policies are all sticks we need carrots, cuts in housing benefit should have also include a cap on what the rental sector can charge an dpossibly reduction. With the cuts in benefits, this should be accomponied by increasing the tsx free allowance and changing the law to force employers to pay the living wage.

    I know free marketers will say this will damage job growth etc, but since they say weshould be all in this togeather this would set the exmple that we are rather then the evidence which says we are not.

  • blarg1987

    Part of the underlying problem is that alot of people on benefits are people who are in work but employers like to pay the minimum wage leaving tax payers to subsidise employers through tax credits etc.

    The currentr policies are all sticks we need carrots, cuts in housing benefit should have also include a cap on what the rental sector can charge an dpossibly reduction. With the cuts in benefits, this should be accomponied by increasing the tsx free allowance and changing the law to force employers to pay the living wage.

    I know free marketers will say this will damage job growth etc, but since they say weshould be all in this togeather this would set the exmple that we are rather then the evidence which says we are not.

  • blarg1987

    Part of the underlying problem is that alot of people on benefits are people who are in work but employers like to pay the minimum wage leaving tax payers to subsidise employers through tax credits etc.

    The currentr policies are all sticks we need carrots, cuts in housing benefit should have also include a cap on what the rental sector can charge an dpossibly reduction. With the cuts in benefits, this should be accomponied by increasing the tsx free allowance and changing the law to force employers to pay the living wage.

    I know free marketers will say this will damage job growth etc, but since they say weshould be all in this togeather this would set the exmple that we are rather then the evidence which says we are not.

  • Newsbot9

    Capping rents is something which has been alluded to by Milliband…he needs to talk about it if he’s going to try for it. It doesn’t serve the Tory policy of social cleansing, of course…

    Increasing the tax free allowance, a middle class tax cut, isn’t the best way forward. Reversing the steady decrease in terms of the %GDP paid as wages is.

  • Rob

    I spend 40 hours a week working and the 15 traveling and I’m studying for a professorial diploma in my off time. It aint hard.

  • Newsbot9

    Yes, it is for single people…

  • LB

    It is.

    Look at the difference between the number employed and the fall in umemployment. The difference is primarily due to migration.

    The main problem with migration is the importation of low skilled workers. That means less jobs, lower wages, for the low skilled,so they stay on benefits, and other people pay the price for that.

    Curtail low wage migrants, and make sure migrant do not get benefits, and you cut off support for the BNP and their foreigners out mantra.

  • LB

    I agree on the tax. No one should pay any tax below min wage. Do that and there is no need for a living wage. Take home pay is after all what matters. Taxation currently is the poors biggest cost

  • joseph ridgwell

    not for me to judge
    others can
    plain simple fact
    he’s just a mad man
    but
    what do we know
    of the things he’s seen
    how did he get there
    where has he been
    not for me to judge
    others can
    plain simple fact
    he’s just a mad man
    but
    what of his past
    whats he been through
    why’s he so differant
    to people like you
    not for me to judge
    others can
    plain simple fact
    he’s just a mad man
    MAN
    michael fitzgerald
    .

  • Monkey_Bach

    So the Labour Party is going to pay the unemployed the minimum wage to work for private companies, at no cost to them, even though those self-same companies wouldn’t give the time of day to those unfortunate people, let alone employ them, under any other circumstances. I find this questionable. Firstly the government will be tilting the balance in respect to some private employers by supplying them with free labour. Secondly with free labour available on tap employers will fill unskilled and temporary positions with personnel from the Compulsory Jobs Guarantee scheme and so the scheme may well destroy potential real jobs which might be open to such people. This seems kind of nuts to me, especially remembering what a failure the New Deal was even during boom times in the noughties.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/labours-new-deal-a-moderate-triumph-707174.html

    My assumption is that this is just an element in Labour’s “Bread and Circuses” agenda, i.e., it’s less about helping the long-term unemployed than throwing the employed general public some raw meat to show that Labour will be “tougher” on certain kinds of benefit claimants than the Tories.

    Pretty empty stuff really.

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