In the background, there is a growing unease about the use of the long term unemployed to gain "work experience" by being found placements within large corporations like Tesco and numerous others - whilst remaining on Job Seekers allowance of £65 a week. "It'll do them good" seems to be the political argument spouted by Tories and Labour alike "after all, stops them watching Jeremy Kyle all day"
Firstly, I am astounded that we even pay people to be "long term" unemployed. There are thousands of families up and down the land (mostly up if we're honest) where Grandparents, parents and children have never done a days work in their lives and certainly don't expect to. Their rent, taxes and spending money has always been supplied by some hairy lipped sandalista at the council in return for voting for "the Workers Party" and woe betide anyone who dares suggest they get off their arses and actually find one of the jobs that half a million Poles seemed to have found. Why are we paying anyone to be unemployed for more than 12 months? It's a safety net, not a safety pull out sofabed in front of the widescreen. If you pay people to do nothing, guess what they'll do? Answers on a postcard to the Department of Work and Pensions. Wind up benefits payments after 1 year and watch the claimant jump to attention, move to find work. After all, if the Poles can, we can, surely?
Secondly, if we, the taxpayer are going to pay their benefits then the very least any form of "work experience" should entail needs to benefit us, the taxpayer. Subsidising a workforce for the likes of Tesco isn't going to create jobs, it's going to COST jobs as their labour costs shrink and they push out what little competition remains. It is Corporatism on a menacing scale. No coincidence that the companies lining up to offer "free places" (can I have my money back then?) of work are the very same companies that have close Political links to our glorious leaders. If any work needs doing by these people, they can start by ousting some more troops from the State army of penpushers, not shelf stackers already on minimum wage. Is there no litter? No grafitti? No hospitals that need a good clean? No libraries that could be kept open by a few long term unemployed diversity coordinators?
Whether we like it or not, unemployment is a fact of life. You have the right to work but no one outside of North Korea has the right to a job anymore. It's why we educate and nurture our children, teach them skills, explore and exploit their talents - to give them the edge in the competitive world of employment. Since we stopped teaching children to aspire and started demanding them all to be equal, most of our youth has simply become unemployable in the real world. Meanwhile, Lithuanians with degrees are out in the fields of Lincolnshire and sending their wages back home - regardless of the inconvenience of sleeping 10 to a house for a couple of years. They see the long term and face the short term with determination and grit - for a nation that actually did have a job and housing for life under Communism, they realised pretty quickly the gravy train was over.
It is not the role of the State to provide employment. If we want less "government" then we have to accept that our workforce is unskilled and many of them are unemployable - shoving them on a nightshift at Tesco isn't going to change a thing. Our long term hopes lie with apprenticeships, industry, innovation - and a resurrection of the "don't stand in my way, I'm going places" mentality. Slash the minimum wage so that the unemployed have the choice to work for £5 an hour if they so choose, rather than the £1.62 an hour the government insists it pays them to sit on the sofa. And please, no more favours to the politically favoured, party funding corporations by the introduction of "permanent" jobs whilst being paid paltry benefits, the very worst kind of crony State Capitalism.