You know, all these wonderful people beginning their screams about what Duncan Smith is going to force the long term unemployed to do?
I wonder what the Labour Peer and one of the country\’s pre-eminent labour economists might say about this?
Ah, here he is from 2001:
These ideas make one focus on the intense need which many unemployed people have for
active help to overcome the barriers to employment. The main kinds of “active labour market
policies” that can be used are these:
• Job-search assistance, advice and matching to the available vacancies. Good
controlled experiments in Sweden show how unemployment has been reduced in
areas where the job centres have more staff.
• Training. This has a mixed record but the right education and training can clearly
set a person on a new path in life.
• Employment subsidies. These can induce employers to give a chance to hard-toplace
workers and thus expand the size of the effective workforce. A good
example is the Jobstart programme in Australia.
• Work experience. Where no job can be found with a regular employer, work on
publicly-useful projects can help improve people’s work habits and give them
work records which help in finding regular jobs.
These programmes can help and have been around for a long time, though usually on
a small scale. But unless they are universal, they tend to be used by people who already had
the best chance of finding work.
Thus the big new idea in Labour’s New Deal is this. We ought to offer everybody
on the threshold of long-term unemployment a choice of activity for at least a period.
And when that happens we should remove the option of life on benefit.
Hmm, looks like he doesn\’t just approve of it, he urges that we should do this.