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Chancellor's 'work for dole' plan comes under fire
Chancellor George Osborne’s shake-up of the dole system for the long-term jobless has come under fire from Wirral MP Alison McGovern.
Long-term unemployment claimants will be forced to carry out community work such as collecting litter and cooking meals for the elderly under stringent new conditions outlined by Mr Osborne in a keynote speech to the Conservative Party conference today.
The measures, he insisted, would end the “something for nothing culture.”
People who fail to toe the line could lose their benefits for four weeks. A second offence would see them lose out for three months.
Wirral South MP Ms McGovern said: "George Osborne's half-baked suggestions frankly raise more questions than answers.
“With little to say on help for working families, and a Work Programme that has failed, the Chancellor must say how he'll pay for his plans.
"Jobcentre staff are already overstretched as money has been wasted on failed Tory and Lib Dem schemes.
“The Department for Work and Pensions has seen three wasted years, and Osborne's words today do little to change that.”
Under the US-style" Help to Work" scheme, claimants who have been out of work for three years and fail to find a job under the Coalition’s flagship Work Programme will be required either to do 30 hours a week community work, report to a job centre daily or undergo intensive treatment to tackle problems such as illiteracy or mental illness.
Mr Osborne hit back at criticism that the Government was exploiting or punishing the long-term jobless by claiming the that it was a “very compassionate” approach to people who had been “abandoned” by previous governments.
He said: “We are saying there is no option of doing nothing for your benefits; no something for nothing any more. People are going to have to do things for their dole and that is going to help them into work.
“This is all activity that is going to help them get ready for the real world of work.
“In order to make sure that people are ready for jobs they have got to have the right skills and the right work talents, the right work attitudes, and this programme is going to deliver that.
“It is going to create a culture where people are ready to work.”
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