Sunday, 7 November 2010

The Plan to Get the Feckless Back Into Work

Some strange stuff from Iain Duncan-Smith:-

From the Telegraph:-
"This is what he is trying to achieve from a 21st century perspective. When he brought in the welfare system, work was a much simpler system. You were pretty much in work full-time or you were out of work.
"It was pretty much men who were in work and it was dominated by a huge amount of manual hard graft labour. Society has changed dramatically since then."
From Sky:-
Long-term dole claimants thought to need "experience of the habits and routines of working life" could be put on month-long unpaid placements of 30 hours a week doing jobs such as clearing litter and gardening.
So, despite the fact that IDS admits that society has shifted from a huge amount of manual hard graft labour, the work that they're going to get people to do is in... manual... hard graft... labour.
He said: "One thing we can do is pull people in to do one or two weeks' manual work - turn up at 9am and leave at 5pm, to give people a sense of work, but also when we think they're doing other work.
Oh, and presenteeism too, despite the fact that many companies are starting to recognise how absurd that is as a way to measuring people's output.

I'm pretty suspicious about the whole idea of dragging people into a job for a couple of weeks and expecting it to change very much. You'll have the same sort of 3rd party private consultants running them, making sure that the right boxes get ticked that show that the claimant turned up because that's what everyone below the minister down will want to see. Most of the people getting them in will be councils because they're the sort of people who need people to pick up litter, and most of the people managing them will see them as a burden, so as long as they don't bother anyone, they'll tick some boxes.

I guess IDS thinks people like private sector firms will hire people being effectively paid £1/hour who aren't going to be there for more than a few weeks. Well, guess again. The odds of someone coming in and pinching the computers is pretty high, and anyway, you can't get someone up to speed on office work within a few weeks.

I've seen some comparisons with what some states in the US did, and they just ain't the same. Those schemes cut benefits if you didn't take a job from an employer. Not some Potemkin activity clearing rubbish, but actual useful work that needed doing, and properly paid.

You want to know how to solve this? Citizen's income and get rid of most employment law.Make it cheap and easy for employers to hire (or fire) people and they'll actually hire a lot more people. And try to get young people doing stuff that they might be interested in.

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