9 February 2011
Former advisor to Gordon Brown, John Woodcock MP, today criticises the Coalition Government for taking too soft a line with unemployed benefit claimants. Woodcock argues that 'work for your benefit' programmes should be mandatory and permanent for long-term jobseekers, and castigates the Government for undoing Labour's tough reforms.
In a new collection of policy essays by leading new MPs, Shadow Transport Minister Woodcock - a former advisor to John Hutton as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions - condemns the Coalition Government's abolition of Labour's Flexible New Deal programme, removing with it the mandatory work requirement for long-term jobseekers. The new Work Programme contains no such requirement.
As Woodcock says, "One of the most remarkable, yet least remarked upon, changes ushered in by the new Government was the way in which ... obligations have been weakened so far, rather than strengthened".
Woodcock suggests that reforms should go further and that compulsory work activity should be permanent for long-term recipients of benefits. Woodcock also suggests that claimants who fail to engage with mandatory work should lose their benefits.
Writing in the new book, John Woodcock MP says: "It is extremely unlikely that the removal of mandatory work for the long-term unemployed and the Government's plans for a small scale mandatory work programme left to the discretion of JobCentre advisers are going to be sufficient to really change the basic deal between individual and state in a far reaching and lasting way"
Other contributors to The Class of 2010 book include the following:
Notes for Editors:
The Class of 2010, a new book by the Social Market Foundation with essays from six new MPs from three main political parties, is published on 10 February 2011.