Monday, January 18, 2010

Let them clear snow

Over the past few months, the Tories have been preparing for power by considering the question of what to do about unemployment. As part of this, the website ConservativeHome is hosting a competition calling for entrants to submit sub Thatcherite ideas which even a right wing moron in a hurry might balk at.

For example, Tory parliamentary candidate and wingnut welfare recipient Alastair Thompson thinks unemployed people should be put to work clearing away the snow. He thinks that this is an idea which "can keep the country working without saddling us, the taxpayer, with yet more hefty bills" and that it is the least the unemployed can do, given that "we spend £60 billion on Jobseekers' Allowance and other associated benefits".

Even most of the commentators on ConservativeHome (who usually make Genghis Khan look like a BMER 5 a day diversity outreach co-ordinator) think this is a really stupid idea. It's worth noting, for example, that Thompson overstates the amount that the government spends on unemployed benefits by the trivial sum of £52,000,000,000, and that he thinks that not only should unemployed people do this work without being paid, but that it doesn't cost anything to co-ordinate over 1 million people to clear snow and deliver food to elderly people across the UK.

But 'no hoper Tory candidate employed in pointless job in talking rubbish shock' is hardly news, surely their top people have a better grasp of the subject?

A recent article by their expert adviser and minister for welfare reform, Lord David Freud, would suggest not.

Freud argues that Labour has failed to reduce inequality, and that they have transferred too much money to the poor.

He claims that setting targets is a bad way to address poverty, which is why he argues that the Tories will support targets to reduce material deprivation.

"Severe poverty" has got worse under Labour, according to research which he cites which shows that the statistics about "severe poverty" are meaningless.

The "better off in work" calculation, which has been done by Jobcentre advisers for many years, is something which Freud appears to have only recently learned of, and he thinks it is called "the iron triangle of benefit reform".

The Tories will "push ahead aggressively to establish outcome based financing to help all those who are economically inactive back into the work-force", which sounds like gibberish and has already been implemented by Labour under James Purnell.

Freud claims that the Child Poverty Action Group "recommends a holistic approach to tackling the problem, like approaches being developed in welfare to work". In fact, the Child Poverty Action Group said the following about the approaches that he developed in welfare to work:

"Freud confesses to having known nothing about the benefits system, thinking it too complicated to understand. He clearly spent most of the 3 weeks writing and researching his welfare reform report playing around with financial models on the back of an envelope instead. The result is a proposal to hand over £167 billion of tax payers' money to private companies with incentives to keep as much as they can. But while the private companies get the cash, he wants more powers to cut benefits to families kept from work by disability."


Thompson thinks that unemployed people should work for no wages. Freud thinks that giving poor families more money has a "negligible impact on child well-being". Welcome to the 'let them clear snow' Tory plans for the unemployed.


At 10:13 am , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes sadly the Tories idea fit in nicely with labour, thats the problem they are both arguing over the pennies while taking the back back.


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