Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Osborne's latest unemployment plans

Osborne, being the nasty little Tory he is, has a new plan to help fight unemployment in this country – demonising the long term unemployed!

Did I say “new plan”? Because that kind of sounds like the Tory’s old plan. In fact, it sounds like the Tory’s only plan.

His plan is that long term unemployed will now have to do full time community service, attend a full time course or go to the job centre every single day.

So let us count the wrongness

This Demonises the Unemployed
The Tories are stuck on the idea that the unemployed are lazy leeches on society – it’s not just a matter of delusion, it’s a lie they have to tell themselves. The only way they can continue to reshape the country to make the rich even richer and screw the poor harder and harder is to chant the mantra that it is the poor’s fault.

The minute you accept that the economy is screwed up (caused by rich bankers who have had some wonderful welfare in response) and that even in this time of “recovery” we’re seeing the majority of wealth coalescing in the hands of the rich while the standard of living for everyone else drops along-side earnings and benefits then we have to start questioning our system – and whether all the Tory cronies really need things like a cut to the upper rate of tax.

The Tories need to demonise the unemployed to maintain their myth of society and justify their cruel, selfish actions. This proposal is just another extension of that.

It Doesn’t Create Jobs
It doesn’t matter what you do to the unemployed, if there are no jobs then they can’t work. It’s that simple, especially in places outside the south-east (yes, Londoners, there are places outside the south-east). It doesn’t matter what new plans Osborne conjures up to torment and attack them, the unemployed cannot get jobs if there are no jobs to get – or 1 job among 20 applicants.

It Actively Hinders Job Search
Job hunting takes time, it takes energy and it’s emotionally highly damaging. Forcing pointless, time consuming tasks with an added level of demonization on job seekers for extra morale destruction does not help. Leaving people tired, dispirited and too busy to find work is the very opposite of help

It Will Cost Money
When the job centre requires an unemployed person to attend a course outside their normal signing day, the job centre pays the transport costs. When you consider that an unemployed person is paid about £70 a week in dole, you see how important that is – especially if travelling to wherever we’re forcing them to go costs £5 or more (the amount it would cost me to get a return bus ticket into town). Now consider forcing all these unemployed into a daily commute. You will have to pay transport for that.

If you’re going to have all these people round the country forced to attend a job centre every day, then those job centres are going to need more staff (oops, you’re cutting job centre staff? Well that’s not going to work). They’re going to need more security (and since the government uses G4S that’s going to cost even more after G4S screws them on the contract!). And that’s before we consider they’re going to need more facilities if we want to maintain the pretence of it being helpful.

This will be expensive.

There will be LESS Jobs
Just like with Workfare, if you start forcing unpaid labour then the Tory’s ever-so-special “job creators” then you reduce the number of actual, paid jobs available. It’s simple logic. A job needs filling. It can be filled by someone you have to pay or it can be filled by the unemployed for no money. Which is going to be chosen?

And that “volunteer” position is deceptive – because in this era of cuts, we’re seeing both charities being forced to step in to fill in care that should be provided by services. It’s a shifting of workforce from paid labour to unpaid volunteers. The same applies to that “community service”, for every unemployed person you force into this scheme, that’s a council worker who is not needed.

Hey, the councils could sack workers, watch them collect unemployment benefit, then force them back into work with no pay! Think of the savings!

Ultimately, the Tories can’t do anything about unemployment until they change their philosophy on the unemployed – and the poor in general. But the Tories cannot do that without changing the very nature of their party.