A headline in today’s Evening Standard carried a stark warning to young people in London,
“Work full-time for no pay or lose your benefits’, says employment minister in crackdown on NEETs”
The Standard reported on an announcement made by Employment Minister Chris Grayling and London Mayor Boris Johnson that they would launch a pilot workfare scheme involving 6,000 unemployed young people.
According to the Standard,
“They will do work experience placements in charities or social organisations such as care homes for 30 hours a week over 13 weeks. The age group will also have to spend 10 hours a week searching for a job.”
The pilot scheme will start in 16 London borough’s “including the riot-hit areas of Croydon and Haringey.” The Government plans to roll-out the scheme across the country.
Grayling denied that this was another ‘slave labour’ scheme.
Instead he told the newspaper that the scheme would improve young people’s career prospects.
Grayling knows that this is a lie.
His own department’s commissioned research shows that workfare has had ‘zero effect’ on getting people into work.
He also told the Standard that it is
“not at all unreasonable to ask you to give something to the community before it gives something to you…It’s time to look at a different way in Britain. A something-for-nothing culture does no one any favours.”
Except of course for the wealthiest in our society, whose tax-dodging, bonus-grabbing greed pretty much sums up a “something-for-nothing” culture that is rampant amongst Britain’s boardrooms.
Boris Johnson added
“I would much rather people had the fun and the experience of work placements and the confidence that comes with it than being on benefits and doing nothing [and] seeing their self-esteem fall away.”
Is this the same Boris Johnson whose spin-doctors labelled him the “Living Wage” Mayor?
Could this be the same man who just last year announced the increase in the London Living Wage to £8.30 per hour with a fanfare declaring:
“It really is a win win for employers as paying a fair wage fosters a loyal and motivated workforce, while at the same time continues to help pull many Londoners out of poverty and boost the capital’s economy.”
Being Not in Employment, Education or Training is a hazard for young people in Cameron’s Britain and one of this Government’s making.
Small drops in the unemployment figures in the last few months can’t hide the fact that there are still more than 1 million 16-24 year-olds out of work.
And with many more just left school priced out of education and training and now left to compete with 9 jobless people for each vacancy – many are going to be fodder for these rotten workfare schemes.
What the Evening Standard omitted to mention is that the money for the scheme is not coming from UK taxpayers, but from the European Social Fund.
This is outrageous.
Such funds should be used to alleviate poverty – invest in real jobs and proper training for the young.
Every opportunity to mobilise against these parasites that are trying to punish the poor for a crisis the rich have created must be grasped with both hands.
Jobs Not Sanctions -Unite Community Protest on Weds 12 September
A Future That Works – TUC Demo on Sat 20th October