07 Nov 2010

John Mason has seriously questioned the Tory (supported by LibDem) Government’s proposals to force benefit claimants to work for next to nothing. It seems that their plan is to remove every remaining safety net from the poorest in society. We all know how often Government offices make mistakes. They assess people as fit for work when clearly they are not. And errors are often made which leave people without the benefits they are legally entitled to.

Of course we all want to see people working who are able to. But for that to happen the Government needs to be more serious about creating suitable jobs. Instead of pouring money into the banks with hardly any strings attached, both Labour and Conservative Governments should have invested in capital projects to create more jobs.

The Tory proposal appears to be that people will have to work 30 hours for Job Seekers Allowance of just £65.45; that is £2.18 per hour! Even the minimum wage of £5.93 is hard enough to live on, so how is £2.18 possible?

Presumably the worst people in our society are criminals in prison. Yet they get food and a warm place to stay as a minimum human right. So surely everyone else in our society should have that same right? A better system would be to say everyone is entitled to £65.45 (or whatever minimum level they need to exist on) as a right which is UNCONDITIONAL. Then an additional amount (£35? more?) could be CONDITIONAL on doing training, work experience, voluntary work, etc.

John very much agrees with comments by SNP Work and Pensions spokesperson, Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP, who has said, “The Con/Dem coalition have got their priorities all wrong – they should be focusing on supporting recovery and job creation… Yes, we must look at how best we get people back into the workplace, but such reforms must be undertaken with care and common sense… The Tory/Lib Dem assumption does appear to be that everybody on benefits is somehow cheating the system or work-shy…”