We have to action a massive culture change in this country where receiving benefits is not an alternative to work.
For too long benefit junkies have been hooked on government hand-outs and won’t consider weaning themselves of benefits to enter the jobs market and society-proper.
The Alliance says that only an extreme sanction of stopping claimants who refused to do 30 hours’ activity a week from receiving benefits would force them to find work.
This is not dissimilar to my own suggestion of paying Job Seekers’ Allowance direct to employers, which the employer could use to fund the training of individuals through apprenticeships.
My idea kills the proverbial two birds with one stone because not only does it force people off their sofas and into the workplace, it also helps equip them with much-needed skills and attitudes they will need to succeed in employment.
That’s why I agree with the Tax Payers’ Alliance suggestion that the 30 hours’ activity would include community service, charity work, approved training and work experience.
All of these activities are game-changers in terms of improving people’s attitude to working, which will be of huge benefit to employers looking for a wider pool of motivated workers.
This also helps employers. I’d much prefer to interview someone for a job who’d been on benefits, but had spent time gaining some sort of work-related experience to improve their prospects and skills.
In the last week there has been a lot of discussion about of hiring migrants over UK workers due to the lack of skills and motivation of British workers.
Apparently, according to the Alliance, a large proportion of jobs created in the last decade have been taken by immigrants prepared to work harder rather than rely on benefits.
This is a worrying statistic that brings the need for a massive step-change in how we deal with those on benefits into sharp focus.
By taking on some volunteering or work experience claimants can get a taste for life back in the world of work and importantly, give them a reward for their actions. Initially this will come in the form of their benefit, but hopefully, in the future, in the form of a wage.
Critics of this proposal say that forcing claimants into this 30 hours’ activity is demeaning; however it’s that kind of soft-touch attitude that has enabled thousands of people take cash of the country’s pocket without doing anything in return.
We have to send a shockwave through the system. Serious consideration needs to be given to proposals like those from the Tax Payers’ Alliance and my apprenticeship scheme. We can then inject motivation into a section of society that that is used to receiving cash injections from the state.