August 6, 2013


At a time when there are so many young people out of work, you would have thought that government policy would be designed to help people find work. 

A number of constituents have told me that exactly the opposite in fact happens. 

Young people have told me how they have found work experience which will help them to find a paid job that they want to do and that they have trained to do, often having studied for years to gain the right qualifications.  

You would be forgiven for thinking that making the effort to find work experience would be a good thing as far as the government was concerned, so it comes as a real shock to discover that someone involved in work experience has their Job Seekers’ Allowance stopped. 

Let’s just explore that for a moment. 

A job seeker is someone trying to find a job. 

Someone doing work experience is trying to find a job. 

So you would have to ask the question why on earth would the government stop someone from receiving Job Seekers’ Allowance when they are doing their best to find a job?

Remember we are not talking about people who don’t want to work.

Now, I don’t think there is much wrong with making job seekers take a job. On the contrary, if we win the election, Labour will bring in a compulsory jobs guarantee so someone out of work for more than two years will have to accept a job or face losing benefits. 

For young people it will be a year. 

Clearly this is aimed at those who are out of work the longest. 

It seems to me that forcing people to take work when they have been out of work for a long time makes sense. But it must also make sense to support people who are trying to find good jobs they want to do. 

From what Job Centre staff have said, they have targets for stopping people receiving benefits. This might make sense for those making no effort to find work. But for those doing their best and being prepared to do unpaid work experience this cannot be right. 

People trying to find work should have help. 

Sadly, this government seems intent on making life as difficult as possible for those young people doing their best to get on. 

We had a lost generation in the 1980s when the then Thatcher government sat idly by while young people were put on the scrap heap. 

It looks like this Conservative government with the support of the Lib Dems is quite happy for the same thing to happen with today’s young people.

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