Labour to vote against Welfare Uprating Bill (and table amendment to introduce a compulsory jobs guarantee)

January 7, 2013 9:59 pm

Labour will challenge the Government to back its plan for a compulsory jobs guarantee for the long term unemployed as new figures from the IFS show 7 million working people will be hit by the Government’s ‘strivers tax’. Labour will oppose the Welfare Uprating Bill and call for the Government to bring in a compulsory jobs guarantee. The amendment that Labour will be tabling in the Commons is as follows:

“That this House declines to give a Second Reading to the Welfare Benefits Up-rating Bill because it fails to address the reasons why the cost of benefits is exceeding the Government’s plans;

notes that the Resolution Foundation has calculated that 68 per cent of households affected by these measures are in work and that figures from the Institute for Fiscal Studies show that all the measures announced in the Autumn Statement, including those in the Bill, will mean a one-earner family with children will on average be £534 worse off by 2015;

further notes that the Bill does not include anything to remedy the deficiencies in the Government’s work programme or the slipped timetable for universal credit;  

believes that a comprehensive plan to reduce the benefits bill must include measures to create economic growth and help the 129,400 adults over the age of 25 out of work for 24 months or more, but this Bill does not do so;

further believes that the Bill should introduce a compulsory jobs guarantee, which would give long-term unemployed adults a job they would have to take up or lose benefits, funded by limiting tax relief on pension contributions for people earning over £150,000 to 20 per cent;

and further believes that the proposals in the Bill are unfair when the additional rate of income tax is being reduced, which will result in those earning over a million pounds per year receiving an average tax cut of over £100,000 a year.”

  • robertcp

    This might be the first time for about 20 years that I have agreed with Labour’s position on welfare!

  • Amber_Star

    The job guarantee doesn’t mention at minimum wage; is that implicit in the fact that it is a “job” as opposed to work?

    • Redshift1

      Yes. Its basically the Future Jobs Fund but for all age groups, not just under-24s.

  • jaime taurosangastre candelas

    Odd. An Opposition content to agree to a 1% pay rise cap for the public sector, voting against a 1% cap on benefits, and completely silent on the additional £267 a year real increase on the lowest paid tax payers because of the Personal Allowance raise (that the Opposition also voted against in the Omni-Shambles budget vote in 2012).

    That £267 increase greatly out-weighing any “loss” of inflation-adjusted benefits being scaled back from 2.7% to 1%. You would have to be in receipt of more than £15,600 per year in benefits to have not gained – relatively – by this totally brutal and arbitrary cut, or even amputation (for such is the unprecedented savagery) of God-given benefit entitlements.

    I am slightly sarcastic, in case my point is not clear.

    A sensible Opposition would have taken the time in the 8 months since the last budget to work out how to withdraw all forms of benefit from those earning over the national median wage, and spend the same amount of money in raising the benefits of those who really need them by maybe 20-40%. So that people on JSA are not subsisting on £71 a week.

    (EDITED to correct figures having used 2012/13 data by mistake, and adjusted to most recently published rate of inflation of 2.7%)

    • Monkey_Bach

      If the Labour Party had a better person as Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions he/she would have argued that the Labour Party supported a public sector pay freeze, in order to reduce the deficit, because the Tax Credit system the Party had implemented when in government would protect low income workers from the severest hardship by topping up their wages. Now that Tax Credits are about to be frozen for all and withdrawn from many such an argument is not possible.

      How I wish Liam Byrne had been replaced by someone at least half competent and one quarter human.

      Eeek.

  • AlanGiles

    What’s that expression about “fine words buttering no parsnips”?. I use this bucolic phrase to , while with one hand applauding Labour’s decision to do the decent thing, but the other to scratch my head: WHERE ARE all these jobs that can be “guaranteed”?.

    The coalition in unlikely to create more jobs in the public sector, given their hostility to the idea (and as Labour fear the tabloid readers so much), the public’s disapproval of creating public sector jobs. The BRC have announced that December was not a good month on the High Street, and contemplate yet further big names disappearing, in manufacturing (what is left of it) companies find it impossible to get the assistance they need from the banks, so cannot expand. Even the service sector, so beloved of Mrs Thatcher and Tony Blair has declined, because of the recession(s).

    I am sure all of us would like to “guarantee” the end of starvation in the Third World and a universal cure for cancer, Alzheimers etc etc etc, all the really unpleasant aspects of life. But the truth is the greatest brains in the world can’t “guarantee” these things – and you CANNOT “guarantee” jobs in a major downturn. (and despite the obvious affection and regard so many hold for Jon Crudas, and Ed Balls, nobody would acuse them of being the greatest brains in Britain let alone the world). So, Labour – the question is HOW can you “guarantee” jobs? – perhaps somebody could answer (points will be deducted for using those hackneyed expressions “one nation” and “strivers”).

    If Labour want to be taken seriously and be perceived as being in the real world, they have to grasp the fact that not everbody got a PPE at Oxbridge, appeared on TV and is either related to a big name of yesterday or a personal chum of Lord Mandy.

    • aracataca

      The party has made clear and it has also been made clear on here countless times that the guaranteed jobs for the long term unemployed would be primarily created in the public and voluntary sectors of the economy.This follows on from the practice that took place under The Future Jobs Fund programme. I assume that your failure to take this on board is deliberate.

      • AlanGiles

        Repeat the party line as much as you like, however, you cannot get away from the fact that with the economy flat-lining there are very few jobs in the private sector where most jobs are (those there are are often part time) and I can’t see “the public” being any more keen on creating public sector jobs now than they were when Labour lost in 2010. Many people felt that unemployment figures had been kept low(ish) because “non-jobs” were created. I repeat that is NOT my view, but I can’t see Labour 2012 doing anything to upset the very public who hold those views, and whose votes they are desperate to cultivate.

        You should never promise something you cannot deliver, but that is what Labour are in danger of doing

        • Redshift1

          They aren’t normal public sector jobs though are they? It has been suggested this would cover things like housebuilding too. More like a much-needed economic stimulus really. Directed both into the right sectors (construction is on its knees and we have a housing crisis) and getting those that need work most back into work (and construction being a labour-intensive industry helps massively).

          • aracataca

            I would agree with you on this Redshift. IMHO this proposal has the feel of a classic Keynesian style stimulus programme about it.

        • aracataca

          The party has never said that this measure is a permanent solution to long term unemployment. It isn’t. It’s primary goal is to rebuild the self- confidence and the self -esteem of those who have been out of work for a long time, give them something to put on their CVs, help provide a service to the community as a whole and to give the long term unemployed a little bit more money to spend while they are on the scheme. This would of course create a knock on stimulus for the economy as a whole as poorer people tend to spend the money they have rather than save it and in accordance with the Keynesian dictum that my spending is someone else’s income more products would be sold.
          More permanent solutions to long term unemployment can only come from economic growth which you will know is a pre-occupying theme of the party at present.
          I note that you do not put forward any alternative whatsoever to help the long term unemployed which is regrettable.

          • AlanGiles

            If you could be bothered to read what I have written elsewhere, you will see I have suggested a long-term strategy for retraining people in F.E. colleges regardless of age. Lifelong learning is the key, but many colleges are now geared towards courses catering for younger people, even though your government and the current one want people to work longer, into their 70s. If a man or woman wants a career change at 50+, they at least ought to be offered the opportunities to do so, instead of offering yet more beautician courses at the local CFE.

            Perhaps you don’t remember the 1980s scheme, when people were employed by friends of the Conservatives governments, like old Marcus Seiff at M &S – the jobs lasted as long as the subsidy lasted – not a week more. At one point (1986) I did some work for Capital Radio’s “JobMate” scheme, and I saw the damage it did to people to create a job, with the carrot of something permanent, when you knew that the companies concerned were virtually “using” the unemployed while they were being generously paid to do so. Having built up (if you have) somebodies self confidence, you go and knock it down again, by consigning them back to signing on, for months or years till the next scheme comes along.

            Perhaps if politicians knew about the real world and how business operates, rather than just what they have read in textbooks, they might see that you need to use long-term strategies to gain maximum benefit. A here today gone tomorrow gimmick might make it look as if you are doing something, but all you are doing, until you address the real problem, is just propping things up till the next calamity.

          • aracataca

            So not guaranteed jobs but retraining at FE colleges for the long term unemployed (although not courses to become beauticians)? More emphasis to be placed on retraining for the over 50s. Could you clear up a couple of points? Would your proposal for FE retraining for the long term unemployed be compulsory or voluntary in respect of their entitlement to continue to draw benefits if they refuse retraining? What happens when the training course finishes?

          • AlanGiles

            I think the only thing that should be compulsory is for people to think for themselves, and not just parrot what “the party” says (whichever or whatever it is)

            You fillet in your simplistic little way what I say and give it a completely different meaning. I did not suggest retraining should concentrate on the over 50s, but it is a fair point to say that if your government and the current one want people to work till they are 70 it may be physically impossible at, say 66, to do the job one did at 36. In my case arthritis would make it impossible for me to do my old job, luckilly retirement got me before arthritis , but supposing it hadn’t?. Should I have just gone and got a part time job cleaning the bogs out at your local supermarket, just to satisfy the Protestant work ethic, and your Mr Balls or Duncan-Smith?. Or should, had I have chosen to do so, been allowed to learn a new skill?. Would a man is his 60s WANT to be a beautician?.

            the reason I mention this is because a friend of mine who actually works for a FE college has told me that over the past few years, courses are being geared much more towards young people than older, and where, at one time, you would have had a good mix of age groups, his college is now predominately for under 25s.

            When the training course ends, of course, the person will have learned a new set of skills.

            let’s stop pretending that labour or any other party has the complete and only answer to the problem of unemployment, or anything else for that matter. Far too few politicians have had experience of life beyond Oxford and Westminster.

            I would not be foolish enough to “guarantee” anybody a job because it is not possible, something Balls and Miliband will learn the hard way if and when they get into power. The best you can offer, I repeat, is a short-term gimmick, because nobody thinks ahead of the next opinion poll, or general election.

          • aracataca

            Not entirely sure you have addressed my questions there Alan? I assume then that the retraining of which you speak would be voluntary in the sense that people could take it or leave it in respect of their continued entitlement to benefits? How would the retraining programme be financed?

          • AlanGiles

            Firstly, sorry, I had to go out yesterday evening and so was unable to reply to your three messages sent in short succession.

            If we were to scrap the Trident replacement (I know how beloved it is by the more right wing members of “the party”), there would be a chance to invest in schemes such as mine, not to mention rather longer term job creation schemes, such as those suggested by Labour. In my experience, you can learn part a very small part or a small aspect of a part of a job in six months, but you need between 18/24 months to take, for example, a school-leaver, with no qualifications but a genuine desire to learn, to really be of use to the organisation, company and themselves. You can build up confidence and skills. BUT it takes time, that is what I mean when I talk of short-termism and the need to think to the future long term. I know because I did it often enough when I was taking on school leavers. I tended to take on people that had not done well at school, not only to give them a chance they would not have got elsewhere, but because I found that in the main they developed a loyalty and self-discipline, because the commitment to them was open ended. I don’t think the results would have been so good if both they and me had known this was a six month gig only, or until the subsidy ran out, whichever was the shorter. We didn’t operate like that. If people know their opportunities to progress are not time limited they will approach work with enthusiasm, if they know it is for a circumscribed time, it will just be seen as a box ticking exercise, and they will be counting the weeks till they are pushed out and either have to start again or sign on again.

            A retraining scheme for people of all ages could in part be financed by interested companies, who would have a real motivation for contributing to it’s upkeep such as Thames Gateway College at Dagenham:

            http://www.thamesgatewaycollege.ac.uk/theCollege/aboutUs.asp.

            This was built just a few years ago on a piece of old scrubland. The area was quite derelict following Fords withdrawal from much of the area.

            Though this scheme is aimed at present at younger people, there is no reason, given the increasing number of years people are expected to work, why it could not be extended to people of any age. In contrast there is a college of rural crafts in Devon, which teaches traditional skills and crafts to older people, many of whom go on to start their own highly specialised businesses:-

            http://www.devonruralskillstrust.co.uk/

            Obviously we can’t bring Devon to Devonshire Road in Bow, but the government (whichever it is) could invest far more in the Green economy, which, again would provide work on a long term basis, with enviromental benefits.Surely this would be a better use of money, and have a more practical outcome, then the scheme operated by the current government, and which caused so much embarrassment this time last year when benefit claimants had to work for their benefits by collecting stray trollies for Tesco and other demeaning exercises, or shelf-filling for Poundland. It did nothing for the victims, and all it did for the companies were to make them look cheap and manipulative to the public – the companies themselves recognising this by many withdrawing from the scam – sorry, – scheme – once the public became awsare of it

            I am personally of the opinion that one volunteer is worth 100 conscripts, so I would favour people entering such schemes of their own volition, however for those of you who feel it is so much more macho for “the party” to be tough, I wouldn’t find it as objectionable for people to be taught practical skills with an element of compulsion, if that makes people like you and the Daily Express feel better, because there is more long term value in learning a craft or skill, then just providing more cheap temporary labour for a business which treats it’s employees to “no hours contracts” and has more money than it knows what to do with (except starting unsuccesful and loss making ventures in the States and other countries). As for premises, I personally feel technical colleges would be much more useful than the “faith schools” your beloved ex leader valued so much. Faith schools IMO are totally unnecessary and merely allow various groups to allow their pupils to think they are “better” and holier-than-thou, literally. They are frankly a potential menace.

            A lot of funds (even for “the party’s” FJF could be eased up by not replacing Trident, which is a mere psychological fig leaf of no practical value whatsoever. We have wasted so much money in the last decade prosecuting unwinnable wars and pretending we can be the worlds policeman (or perhaps in our case the Community Support Officer) – a conceit practisced by both the present and previous government, it is sobering to think of what we could have done to really help the problems of the unemployed, the sick, disabled etc if we had used that money for peaceful and practical reasons and not our ridiculous gunboat mentality.

          • aracataca

            This is a decent response Alan. However, at present only £350 million is earmarked for Trident design at present.

            http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-20120635

            The decision and spending on its replacement does not really kick in until after 2015. £350 million would not finance your proposals and companies aren’t going to invest in something like this. We are in a debt deleveraging recession and balancing the company’s books are paramount so firms aren’t going to shell out money on this kind of proposal. We need a programme of taxation to realise this. Furthermore, not everyone wants or needs to be retrained.

          • aracataca

            How would your alternative to the Party’s proposals be financed?

          • aracataca

            This is a completely hopeless alternative to Labour’s proposal to help the long term unemployed. No attempt has been made to cost it and it contains all kinds of anomalies based on your own personal prejudices. You run down everything proposed by the Labour Party and have absolutely nothing to offer as an alternative. Your post above proves that beyond any doubt.

          • Redshift1

            It’s not a guarantee of a permanent job, and yet I’m going to disagree that this is a short-term gimmick.

            Firstly, I’ve seen what the Future Jobs Fund was like. It really helped my brother out when he was out of work. 6 months of paid employment, which of course he continued to look for work during. So why not roll this out for all age-groups, especially if we can direct this into sectors struggling at the moment – e.g. to stimulate housebuilding

            Secondly, once you’re unemployed for so long it actually gets harder and harder to find work. Employers get increasingly judgemental about the fact you’ve been unemployed for so long and assume quite horribly that this has something to do with you rather than the state of the economy. Giving people work for just 6 months, not only has the potential to boost skills, experience etc, it makes their CV look far better.

          • Redshift1

            Ok ok Alan, but your really getting ahead of yourself here. This is specifically on what kind of work schemes you have for the long-term unemployed. There isn’t anything to say we can’t do more adult learning AS WELL AS this. Indeed, its been identified by quite a lot of economists that one of Britain’s competitive weaknesses is the lack of adult training, especially in-work training. The comparative studies between Britain and other advanced economies on this are actually quite shocking.

            Before this government we had the New Deal and the Future Jobs Fund. Totally imperfect, but not blindingly terrible either.

            Now we have the Work Programme with all the slave labour and wasting of taxpayers money that involves.

            Labour’s new proposal would be improvement not just on what we have under this government but also an improvement on the pre-2010 system.

            Why are you slating this?

      • Monkey_Bach

        According to the Guardian most of the jobs associated with the proposed Job Guarantee are supposed to be temporary private sector positions.

        “Labour says the £1bn cost of subsidising the jobs, mainly in the private sector, would come from reducing tax relief on pension contributions for people earning more than £150,000 a year to 20%, instead of the 45% proposed by the government in the autumn statement.”

        ( http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2013/jan/04/ed-balls-welfare-work-scheme )

        So it looks as though the private sector could be destined to benefit from subsidised forced labour thanks to the Job Guarantee. To be honest it sounds reminiscent of Jim Purnell’s old Flexible New Deal where private companies were at liberty to cherry pick unpaid staff from the ranks of the unemployed and paid a premium directly by government for each unpaid worker they made use of on the scheme. Win-win from the company’s viewpoint. Free forced labour supplied on order by the government and direct payment from the same government to make use of that free labour for the duration.

        Eeek.

        • aracataca

          This is the response from the link MB.
          Sorry – we haven’t been able to serve the page you asked for

          This is an interesting interpretation of the proposal MB. I think that in practice it would be more like the Future Jobs Fund with placements being primarily in the public and voluntary sectors. I believe this to be the case since the costs would be the same whether the placements were in the private, public or voluntary sector.
          On a different note. Do you have any proposals for helping the long term unemployed?

          • Monkey_Bach

            Link working now. Eeek.

          • aracataca

            From the same link MB

            The schemes are modelled on the future jobs fund of the previous Labour government,

          • Monkey_Bach

            Were posts allocated to young people participating in the Future Jobs Fund “mainly in the private sector” though? I thought the opposite was true and that this was one of the main reasons the Tories criticised it and cancelled it. Eeek.

          • aracataca

            No. Placements in the Future Jobs Fund were primarily in the public and voluntary sectors which is where I envisage the majority of placements for this scheme being located. The link indicates that the schemes will be modelled on this programme.

          • Monkey_Bach

            Let’s hope that’s the case. Much better that people are paid to learn new skills in the public sector and helped to improve their own lives and the lives of others in their own communities than make more profit for Asda, Tesco or Sainsbury’s. Eeek.

        • http://twitter.com/waterwards dave stone

          “Win-win from the company’s viewpoint.”

          It could also be a winner for politicians – favoured companies may reciprocate with a shower of non-executive directorships. One can imagine the MPs delight: “Oh yes, we’ve always believed in a close working relationship with the corporate sector.” – perhaps a rare moment of honesty.

        • aracataca

          Any alternative proposals for dealing with the issue of the long term unemployed?

  • Monkey_Bach

    These cuts are going to wreck havoc in the lives of many innocent and helpless people. Terrible suffering will be the future for armies of citizens. Because the proposed reductions in uprating of benefits will also affect Housing Benefit (and rents are rising remorselessly) involuntary homelessness looks set to soar. Here’s a taste of the sort of things that might well be on the way:

    http://www.theargus.co.uk/news/10078665.Shipping_containers_to_help_house_homeless/

    These cuts will rebound on the Coalition when their results become evident.

    Things look set to get very bad indeed.

    And don’t forget: The forthcoming cuts only account for about £5 billion of the £10 billion that George Osborne wants as minimum savings from the welfare budget. In a flagging economy sans healthy growth how on earth a further £5 billion of cuts in social security could be made is all but impossible to imagine, unless you happen to be a psychopath or a Conservative Chancellor of the Exchequer.

    (Or both in the case of George Osborne.)

    Eeek.

    • aracataca

      Correct MB.The first thing the incoming Labour government must do is to abolish the ceiling on HB. Guess what- Cardboard city is coming back.

  • aracataca

    All the Labour MPs in Parliament deserve credit for voting against this Bill.

    • AlanGiles

      MPs should vote for what is right and humane as a matter of course, decency and duty. They don’t “deserve credit” – though frankly many of those same MPs would probably have voted for the cut if it had been Balls the Chancellor frather than Osborne. back in 2009 they were more than happy to vote through the Freud proposals – even despite the fact that by the time they did Freud was a Tory peer!

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