In the most radical clampdown on the work-shy yet, Iain Duncan Smith will announce that the unemployed will be found compulsory 30 hour-a-week work placements and if they fail to turn up they will lose their Jobseekers\’ Allowance for at least three months.
So they\’ll be working for nothing. However, one of our major problems is that many people do in fact work for nothing. Out of work benefits are such that going out to work, a few/some/many people are in fact working for free as their in work incomes are no different (and in some cases less) than those out of work benefits.
And there are really only two solutions to this: we can taper those out of work benefits withdrawal rates so that work always pays. But this is howlingly expensive. Or we can cut out of work benefits: this has the side effect of severe collateral damage in that those who really cannot (or cannot find) work live in (yes, OK, by the standards of a modern society) destitution.
This is the magic get out method though. If you\’re going to have to work to get your benefits no matter what then both of those problems are diminished.
If you already have to work for \”nothing\”, ie, the benefits level, then the tapering and the absolute levels of benefits don\’t need to change as much in order to get to our desired position: that work pays.
I would note that all of this is implied in the research of Richard Layard. The long term unemployed must be forced, in some manner, to reconnect with the labour market. It might be benefit withdrawals, might be compulsory training or make work jobs, but the solution is going to be to force (through incentives, naturally, not at gunpoint) people back into having a connection with the world of work.
This, however, seems an infelicitous choice of phrasing:
People who cannot work, for example the terminally ill, would be given support with no time limit.