Our young people need a real chance to work in a real job paying a real wage

March 18, 2013 5:11 pm

Iain Duncan Smith’s incompetence has turned his back to work schemes into a West Coast Mainline-style disaster – and put £130 million of public money at risk.

Buried amidst a Court of Appeal judgement handed down to the DWP in February was the little noticed news that Mr Duncan Smith’s department was so inept that it managed to muck up the drafting of its own regulations by not putting in enough detail. The Court struck down the regulations – and if the Supreme Court refuses the department leave to appeal in a few weeks time the DWP might be on the hook to pay back every sanction levied since 2011. There is probably no way the Department could re-pay the money without making heavy new benefit cuts this year.

Let’s be very clear. This is incompetence on a truly monumental scale – from a Department that has given us a Work Programme that is worse than doing nothing, a bedroom tax that might cost more than it saves, and Universal Credit which is fast descending into Universal Chaos.
Labour has always supported work experience. As someone who started work in MacDonald’s and has done every job under the sun from sweeping floors in warehouses, selling photocopiers, unloading fishing boats to starting a hi-tech business, I happen to believe that the work ethic has got to be at the heart of welfare reform. But, I’m very firmly of the view that what our young people need today is a real choice and a real chance to work in a real job paying a real wage.

That’s why Labour will demand amendments to the Government’s bill to introduce a Real Jobs Guarantee for young people; a job for six months, with job search and training thrown in.
I know there are businesses who want to support us in our fight for youth jobs. As I’ve gone round the country with Labour’s Youth Jobs Taskforce, set up at our last conference and which brings together the 10 councils – all Labour – where youth unemployment is highest, I’ve met business leader after business leader who wants to help tackle the youth jobs crisis in their city. But businesses aren’t charities. They need a little help. And that’s the why we need a bank bonus tax to oil the wheels. As the MP who represents the constituency with the highest youth unemployment in Britain, I know that when 30 people are chasing every job – as is the case in Hodge Hill – there are simply not enough jobs to go round. And that’s why we need an awful lot more than work experience.

We won’t be voting for a bill that is rammed through the House at lightening speed. It was DWP’s rush to put in place their regulations that caused this mess in the first place. What’s more I’ll be insisting on crucial concessions to the Bill. Ministers must guarantee that appeal rights are protected for JSA claimants who have been wrongly sanctioned. Ministers must launch an independent review of the sanctions regime with an urgent report to parliament.

The dilemma the government faces underlines the intellectual bankruptcy of their position. Their Work Programme is failing. Very few people I meet have every heard of their much vaunted Youth Contract. Yet our young people are hungry for work. When I organised a jobs fair for local young people in my constituency, they were queuing round the block long, long before we opened the doors.

All over Britain today, it’s Labour councils leading the fight all over Britain for youth jobs.

Look at the Glasgow Guarantee. Or Get Bradford Working. Or Liverpool Futures. Or the Greater Manchester Commitment to Youth Employment. Or the new youth employment commission in Birmingham. We believe that the best thing you can give someone is chance. And that’s what we’ll be fighting for in parliament this week.

Liam Byrne is the Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary

  • AlanGiles

    Started out at MacDonalds, ….. and worked his way down to a dissembling, conniving Shadow minister, who tries to point in both directions at once….. who would have liked to be a mayor.

  • Dave Postles

    Grasp the nettle: scrap the universality of benefits for the retired and redirect the funds to proper apprenticeship schemes for young people – and pay their liability insurance so that they will be hired when they have served their apprenticeship.

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

      That’s a slippery slope, Dave. If the well-to-do forego their bus passes and winter fuel allowances why shouldn’t the well-to-do also contribute to their healthcare. And why not compel the wealthy of all ages with children to contribute to schooling at every stage? Surely, if they’ve paid in (perhaps handsomely) they should also be allowed to collect?

      Ultimately this approach develops into an argument for low taxes – if they don’t get any benefit from their contributions why should they contribute? And detracts from the social solidarity/shared common life that underpins much of civic society.

      • Dave Postles

        I subscribe to a probably archaic maxim, Dave: from each according to ability, to each according to need, in which the truest solidarity is to provide for others without a bribe – or at least not to expect immediate reciprocity (i.e. the deferred reciprocity often inherent in ‘the gift’). The wealthy should contribute for the benefit of the less fortunate because that is true solidarity. Your approach is probably more pragmatic and mine idealistic. If you want a more pragmatic approach, then by foregoing an immediate benefit to ourselves, we obtain a deferred benefit through the (hidden until foregrounded) social economies of those less fortunate being integrated into society rather than feeling excluded. In due course, also, they can pass it along. I just feel that this universality argument is deference to the individualistic ethos of the last three decades, by which everyone, however fortunate, must receive something for themselves. ‘To give, and not to count the cost’.

      • Dave Postles

        I subscribe to a probably archaic maxim, Dave: from each according to ability, to each according to need, in which the truest solidarity is to provide for others without a bribe – or at least not to expect immediate reciprocity (i.e. the deferred reciprocity often inherent in ‘the gift’). The wealthy should contribute for the benefit of the less fortunate because that is true solidarity. Your approach is probably more pragmatic and mine idealistic. If you want a more pragmatic approach, then by foregoing an immediate benefit to ourselves, we obtain a deferred benefit through the (hidden until foregrounded) social economies of those less fortunate being integrated into society rather than feeling excluded. In due course, also, they can pass it along. I just feel that this universality argument is deference to the individualistic ethos of the last three decades, by which everyone, however fortunate, must receive something for themselves. ‘To give, and not to count the cost’.

      • Dave Postles

        I subscribe to a probably archaic maxim, Dave: from each according to ability, to each according to need, in which the truest solidarity is to provide for others without a bribe – or at least not to expect immediate reciprocity (i.e. the deferred reciprocity often inherent in ‘the gift’). The wealthy should contribute for the benefit of the less fortunate because that is true solidarity. Your approach is probably more pragmatic and mine idealistic. If you want a more pragmatic approach, then by foregoing an immediate benefit to ourselves, we obtain a deferred benefit through the (hidden until foregrounded) social economies of those less fortunate being integrated into society rather than feeling excluded. In due course, also, they can pass it along. I just feel that this universality argument is deference to the individualistic ethos of the last three decades, by which everyone, however fortunate, must receive something for themselves. ‘To give, and not to count the cost’.

        • jaime taurosangastre candelas

          I agree with you Dave on scrapping universality, although I would not support the withdrawing of universal health*** or benefits universally available to children, who have not a choice in their parents, or capacity to influence their parents’ ability to provide for them. But I do so from a sense of practical affordability, and not with your highly developed sense of morality, which I admire but fall far short of. “The numbers” for population growth, average age, longevity and indexation of medical and social costs make a course of continued universality for us as a nation almost inconceivable over a 30 year period, let alone for those such as my children who will – I hope – live for another 90 years.

          ***Healthcare – and by extension social care for the aged – can become astonishingly expensive. Cancer treatment can consume hundreds of thousands of pounds for an individual, and there are other examples. The Intensive Care Society commissioned some important research into costs, which reveal a per day cost of about £1,800, and average lengths of intensive regimes at 11 days for Level 3 patients (typically, those with severe cranial injuries or systemic organ failure), and that is just the beginning. In the same ICS report, it is stated that the cost of statins treatment for hypercholesterolaemia (high cholesterol levels, which are common) can reach £226,000 per individual. That is an awful lot of taxes paid by taxpayers.

          • rekrab

            But look, are we guilty of pumping monies into condition that arise in later life, almost a bit like a certain business expenditure. If we spent the money on preventative measures and earlier lifestyle condition would those lateral cost be reduced?

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            Certainly. That would be “smart” spending. I don’t see it as being particularly of the left or right, just sensible.

            If I indulge a small sense of intolerance, I’d like to see smoking made illegal. Of course, there would be smuggling and a “black market”, but the scale could never supply the amount of tobacco consumed daily in the UK, and the price of a packet of the cigarettes would be enormous. Who would smoke if a packet of cigarettes cost £30, and not £6? And so, the medical and social costs of smoking would greatly decrease. Punish those caught with fines of £5,000, not for smoking, but for facilitating crime. But, realistically, the HM Revenue prefer to collect taxes rather than consider the long term costs (and they are stupid in adhering to that view).

          • rekrab

            Why is there a draw (oops) to smoking? and drinking? there seems to be a fast lane rush for teenagers to get with the scene and more often than not the scene is quite a dangerous place to be.We can teach our children not to put their hand in a naked flame is it possible to teach our children about the dangers of smoking and drinking to much alcohol? the answer must be yes but there is a larger underlying factor to poor lifestyles and I believe it stems from poverty and disadvantages and I’d liked to see a massive effort in tackling those issues.

          • AlanGiles

            You are all quite right about the dangers of smoking, but just imagine if smoking had been banned when they made the classic films of the 1940s and 50s.

            Perhaps the greatest excuse for smoking came in David Lean’s 1945 film Brief Encounter. Laura (Celia Johnson) find herself alone with the melancholia of forbidden love in damp deserted High Street (near the war memorial):

            “There was nobody about and I lit a cigarette. I know how you disapprove of women smoking in the street, Fred. I do, too really, but I needed to calm my nerves, and I thought it might help”.

            Somehow a packet of TicTacs just wouldn’t have had the right nuance!

          • gunnerbear

            “If I indulge a small sense of intolerance, I’d like to see smoking made illegal. Of course, there would be smuggling and a “black market”, but the scale could never supply the amount of tobacco consumed daily in the UK….”

            Wanna bet on that? So the NHS would still have to pay for the care of smokers but have none of the revenue that such behaviour raises – smoking taxes more than cover the costs of smoking with billions left over.

            “A similar argument could be made for drinking, but the evidence of damage, while clear, also is not wholly on the side of a total ban….”

            Are you the leader of a criminal gang in disguise? Prohibition does nothing other than to hand cash to criminals….especially when you could walk across the NI / Eire border and buy the goods quite legally in Ireland.

            Best of luck trying to get your rules enforced locally never mind in the rest of the EU.

          • PaulHalsall

            Yours is the Path to the Hell of the US system.

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            Paul, I am not sure what you mean. I suggest no cut to universal healthcare, which I know to be a great concern of the American health system. So I presume you query my suggestion that other universal benefits are cut, but what in particular vexes you?

            If you believe that everything currently offered is affordable, we would disagree when looking into the future, I am sure. It is the future, not the current that I feel is unsustainable.

        • AlanGiles

          ” The wealthy should contribute for the benefit of the less fortunate because that is true solidarity”

          I totally agree. This should include the elderly wealthy: after all – you can’t take it with you. In my case it would probably melt :-). It is, in these desperate times, ridiculous for pensioners to be driving round in a Bentley (I know of one) but being entitled to a free bus pass as well, when you have people under 30 unable to make ends meet, and some of them the victims of youth unemployment, for just one example.

          Talking about making contributions, I am not an ungenerous man. Whenever (IF EVER) Miliband finds the courage to sack the minister of forked tongue, I will be more than happy to make a donation to the Byrne leaving present. Miliband will have no credibility while he allows this dime-store politician to shamble about in the shadow cabinet

          • PaulHalsall

            You have to apply for a bus pass. Many elderly people simply do not do so.

          • AlanGiles

            That’s true, Paul. I was only using that as an example. My point was that in these very harsh times, speaking personally, I would rather somebody who needs something more than I do gets it.

            It amazes me the number of people who do apply for things they don’t need and will never use (the Bentley driver for example; a man I used to work for in fact), always astonishes me.

            I certainly don’t grudge anybody anything, especially if they are fighting unemployment, ill-health or disability from a totally unsympathetic and judgemental government (which includes the last one and the probable next one as well as the Coalition).

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

          “The wealthy should contribute for the benefit of the less fortunate because that is true solidarity.”

          I see such mechanisms as a consequence of solidarity. Conditions/practices must first be established to make such an outcome viable – as a pre-condition the same participative practices/universality must be available to all. To link universality to individualism is, I think, an abstraction too far.

          And of course, once benefits become a means-tested entitlement they become another humiliation foisted on the less well off – benefits for the poor can quickly become poor benefits and make a negative contribution to the social economies you mention.

          • Dave Postles

            ‘To link universality to individualism is, I think, an abstraction too far.’

            … but you mentioned it yourself: some people will reflect: why should I contribute in if I get nothing out? That seems to be the rationale for universality – to bribe people to stay in the scheme. What seems to be in short supply is empathy. I don’t understand why we should be paying for childcare for people who earn up to £150k. I don’t understand why we should be giving winter heating allowance and bus pass to rich people aged 60+. These aspects are a nonsense and are depriving others.

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

            “you mentioned it yourself”

            You got me there, brother!

            But…. I meant it differently… ! Our difference (and I may well be totally wrong re your view!) seems to be that I believe solidarity produces social justice whereas you seem to believe social justice produces solidarity (?). The abstraction, in my view, lies in that difference.

          • Dave Postles
      • DJT1million

        I agree with you, the principle of universality in our social security system underpins it and is a fundamental part of the social contract we have with our state.

        We need to avoid turning our social security system that allows every citizen to have equal access to a range of benefits into a welfare system that is a form of charity that the wealthy may (or may not) be willing to contribute to and which is grudgingly dispensed to the poor. That is a very different proposition as it is divisive when the original concept of social security was unifying.

        I think many people forget that when we talk about universal benefits it is not just about bus passes or heating allowances, universal benefits also include such things as universal healthcare and universal education. The calls for an end to the principle of universality are growing and need to be countered at every turn yet such a huge change is being gradually introduced with little public discussion and I suspect equally little public support.

    • http://twitter.com/MJHerbert Michael Herbert

      I have no problem with millionaires getting free bus passes..the way to recoup the money is to tax them properly and clamp down on tax avoidance schemes

      • gunnerbear

        Exactly, no point ranting at businesses and individuals using the law to their legal advantage…..

        “No man in this country is under the smallest obligation, moral or other, so to arrange his legal relations to his business or to his property as to enable the Inland Revenue to put the largest possible shovel into
        his stores.” (Lord Clyde)

        ….change the laws (well as far as the EU will allow us to do so).

  • http://twitter.com/McnabbTeddy Teddy Mcnabb

    we all can have confidence in one of the biggest expenses cheats [ not to be confused with pleb thieves and fraudsters that go to court with mitigating circumstances] byrne cant we? http://t.co/bNKp9kgNW5

  • DJT1million

    Not just our young people need a real job with a real wage, all unemployed people do however the work programme has, by any measure, been an expensive disaster for all except the private companies that benefit from the taxpayers largesse.

    I also believe that workfare as it stands should be scrapped as far too many companies are abusing the scheme to get free workers that are replacing paid ones. All credit to those companies that do proper work experience or apprenticeship schemes, we need more of those, but calling unpaid work filling supermarket shelves or doing night shifts in warehouses an ‘apprenticeship’ is just insulting and generating real anger amongst people.

    Then we come to the governments latest moves and the lack of response from the Labour Party who I had hoped would be more robust in their opposition to the news that Iain Duncan Smith is seeking to change the law and then apply it retrospectively so that they had not in fact broken any laws and all those people the courts found to have had their benefits illegally sanctioned will now be found to have been legally sanctioned and therefore have no claim to make. This sets a disgusting precedent for the rule of law in the UK. Changing laws like this is the preserve of dodgy administrations, not stable mature democracies and yet all we get is Mr Byrne talking about government incompetence. True, they are incompetent but this type of fiddling with our legal system and chipping away at our social security system is much more than ‘incompetence’ and worries about short term financial issues, it is deliberate and destructive in equal measures.

    It is about time that the Labour Party got as angry about the destruction of the social contract we have with our state as the people they are appealing to for their votes.

  • Felix

    “As someone who started work in MacDonald’s and has done every job under the sun from sweeping floors in warehouses, selling photocopiers, unloading fishing boats to starting a hi-tech business”

    And of course you got paid a proper wage for that, but true to your True Blue self, you believe today’s youth aren’ t deserving of even that.

  • Daniel Speight

    But, I’m very firmly of the view that what our young people need today
    is a real choice and a real chance to work in a real job paying a real
    wage.

    That’s good Liam.

    Now, go on Liam, tell what you really think and let’s have a chuckle.

  • Daniel Speight

    But, I’m very firmly of the view that what our young people need today
    is a real choice and a real chance to work in a real job paying a real
    wage.

    That’s good Liam.

    Now, go on Liam, tell what you really think and let’s have a chuckle.

  • Daniel Speight

    But, I’m very firmly of the view that what our young people need today
    is a real choice and a real chance to work in a real job paying a real
    wage.

    That’s good Liam.

    Now, go on Liam, tell what you really think and let’s have a chuckle.

    • AlanGiles

      I think Byrne’s croccodile tears are the epitome of the oily insincere politician, who will say whatever it takes: it is the sickest sort of joke to talk about the risk of public money being wasted, when he will forever be remembered as the ex-minister who left the leaving note in 2010 “sorry Minister, There is no money left, Good luck, Liam”

      That alone should debar him from ever being a minister or shadow minister again. When you throw in his expenses “misunderstandings”, and his willingness to leave the shadow cabinet to persue his lowlier ambitions in Birmingham last year, it merely confirms to me what a weak man and poor judge of character Ed Miliband is.

      • John Ruddy

        So in your world, no one can change their mind? How very very sad.

        • AlanGiles

          We have no proof Byrne HAS changed his mind (such as it is). He still says he supports most of the welfare reform bill. How very, very, VERY sad!

          • John Ruddy

            I didnt talk about Byrne. You criticised insincere politicians, saying different things to what they beleived.
            You dont allow the possibility that someone can change their mind.

          • AlanGiles

            Of course people can change their minds. I have myself. I tried to see the best in Labour long after reason told me it was a lost cause. In this particular case the rest of us are talking specifically about Byrne – a man who very subtly tries to change his message to whomever he is talking to at the time (a trick he learned from Blair ).

            As Monkey has said, he is totally untrustworthy. If I may say so, a slimy creep and I wouldn’t trust him any further than I could throw him.

            Byrne is almost as bad as Duncan-Smith: they both pretend they care about youth unemployment and wants to “help” them, when in reality they both want to help their own careers. Both of them are skunks in sheeps clothing.

            Not all politicians are totally insincere, but, like expenses scroungers, they are there in number in all parties.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Spammo-Twatbury/100002426967566 Spammo Twatbury

            What a shamefully transparent attempt to derail discussion about Liam Byrne on an article by Liam Byrne. Is there anything Labour could ever do that Mr Ruddy WOULDN’T defend like a loyal poodle?

  • Monkey_Bach

    Can’t be bothered. Eeek.

    • AlanGiles

      I am just surprised in his fulsome CV, all the way from chip fat to silicon chips, Byrne didn’t mention the time he worked for Fray Bentos – the biggest bull shippers in the West! :-)

      • Monkey_Bach

        Well, it look as if Labour are going to help loathsome Iain Duncan Smith (of all people!) pass a cowardly, dishonest, and contemptible retrospective piece of legislation to prevent men and women stripped of benefits UNLAWFULLY, by the DWP, from claiming them back as should be the case. This is absolutely disgraceful behaviour on the part of Labour, if they do this, showing complete contempt for the judiciary, rule of law, and suffering of innocent people through loss of benefit because of unlawful actions by one of the worst governments I can ever remember.

        But Labour siding with Iain Duncan Smith?

        Tragic.

        Eeek.

      • Monkey_Bach

        Well, it looks as if Labour are going to help loathsome Iain Duncan Smith (of all people!) pass a cowardly, dishonest, and contemptible retrospective piece of legislation to prevent men and women stripped of benefits UNLAWFULLY, by the DWP, from claiming them back as should be the case. This is absolutely disgraceful behaviour on the part of Labour, if they do this, showing complete contempt for the judiciary, rule of law, and suffering of innocent people through loss of benefit because of unlawful actions by one of the worst governments I can remember.

        But Labour siding with Iain Duncan Smith?

        Half tragic: half cowardly: wholly repellent.

        (Much like the Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions then.)

        Eeek.

        (Incidentally £130 million is about 0.008% of overall spending on social security, an entirely negligible amount as per overall welfare budget, that COULD and SHOULD be paid back to everybody robbed of income through loss of benefit by foul means, without needing further welfare cuts.)

        • AlanGiles

          I think this is the final proof that, in real terms, there is little to choose between the two main parties now. Both are morally bankrupt, and, given both the expenses fiddles perpetrated by both Smith and Byrne, personally, total hypocrites.

        • John Reid

          men and women stripped of benefits UNLAWFULLY, by the DWP, got any proof of this?

          • Clare Sheldon

            ERR, Yes – the Court of Appeal said so!

  • DaveAboard

    “We won’t be voting for a bill that is rammed through the House at lightening speed”.

    No, Mr Byrne, but it would appear you are not voting against it, either. Disgraceful.

  • http://twitter.com/MJHerbert Michael Herbert

    a shameful betrayal..any socialist would have welcomed and supported the courageous stand made by Cait Reilly against Workfare..she is not mentioned once by Byrne…young people want jobs and they want to be paid at a proper rate like the rest of the population…

  • A Davis

    Labour really is Torylite – or maybe not so lite after all.

    You are endorsing the exploitation of people who work on a a scheme that REDUCES their chances of finding work while also reducing the number of paid jobs available to others.

    You are endorsing the backdating of a law that refuses to pay back money due to
    some of the most impoverished people in the country – who were WORKING(!) for wealthy multinational companies who certainly didn’t need free labour and who would never have given them a job at the end because of an endless supply of said free labour.

    What’s your vision for the future? Everyone below the 1% working for £70 a week and topping up with visits to food banks?

    You and your party are a disgrace!

  • Popstar2012

    Gullible Liam swallows the Dacre-Kavanagh ‘Striver/Skiver’ rhetoric whole.

    • UKAzeri

      his only regret is that he didn’t come up with it in the first place!!!

  • UKAzeri

    quite pathetic that my party is supporting these slave labour initiative! These schemes don’t send people to real jobs and effectively subsidise the private sector who get workers for free. and we are supporting this? Is this what Labour is about?
    One nation my a…e!! Its more like a nation subject to what daily Mail and Mr Murdoch tell us is Ok to say nation!!
    I am contemplating my membership..

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

      “I am contemplating my membership..”

      Sling your hook, mate. Life is grand on the outside.

  • Amber_Star

    Why are the Guardian reporting that Labour won’t vote against IDS’s emergency legislation to prevent the £130M having to be paid? Why are the Guardian reporting that Labour will abstain? Liam Byrne surely cannot come here with fine words then preside over an abstention by Labour?

    • PaulHalsall

      Byrne is a Tory in all but name.

    • John Ruddy

      Apprently, Byrne has been told in no uncertain terms that the PLP will not back the IDS proposals. The exact quote is “Byrne’s on his own on this one”….

      • http://twitter.com/mr_ceebs mr_ceebs

        then hasn’t he been ejected from his job?

      • Monkey_Bach

        Well, as in so many other things, you were wrong about this weren’t you Mr. Ruddy? Something like five out of six Labour MPs abstained from opposing this heinous bill at the behest of the Labour leadership. Eeek.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=574311716 facebook-574311716

      The opposition has the power to delay this Bill beyond its effectiveness. Abstention that allows it to be rushed through in one day is in practice supporting it.

      http://www.theyworkforyou.com/calendar/?d=2013-03-19

  • DJT1million

    Is this story in The Guardian true? Are you really supporting the Coalition and DWP changing the law and applying it retrospectively?

    ‘Labour to help rush through bill to stop benefit rebates after Poundland ruling

    Opposition likely to abstain from vote on law to prevent government having to pay £130m to jobseekers’

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2013/mar/19/labour-rush-benefit-rebates-poundland#comment-22081237

    • DJT1million

      Wel, watching BBC Parliament and I can answer my own question. Sadly it is true, the majority of Labour MPs are abstaining. I understand that there would be no way to defeat this bill as the Tories & Lib Dems are standing together however there are times when it is important to stand up and say, loudly, when some things are wrong. This would be one of those times and, apart from those Labour MPs that have voted against, the Party has failed.

      To say I am disappointed would be something of an understatement, furious would be more accurate.

  • lewisjamieson

    Ah yes, that resoundingly successful Liverpool Futures that everyone in Liverpool has heard of and has a great respect for… Oh no, wait. No one has any idea of what you’re talking about because Labour never cared about giving everybody an opportunity but they certainly liked banging on about the chances they gave for a small percentage.

    Let’s look at the Liverpool Futures site, I wonder what vast array of apprentices I will see.

    Oh there’s 5, 2 of them are for the same private hire taxi company and one is an apprenticeship in being waiting staff, one of the least skill heavy jobs going. I hope everyone who undergoes these 5 apprenticeships feels an overwhelming feeling of indebtedness and gratitude due to Labour because of all the hard work they put in to alleviate this country of being the OECD’s most socially immobile country… Oh no, Wait.

  • PaulHalsall

    This is a disgraceful action by the Labour Party.

    Let the DWP steal from jobseekers, and then retrospectively legalise it after they get caught out in court?

    Still, Labour put no bankers in jail either.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=574311716 facebook-574311716

    Disgusting. Labour could delay passage of this Bill beyond the Court of Appeal’s final ruling. Instead they act as Quislings to help the DWP evade the law. Who is he kidding claiming that the government couldn’t find this illegally-obtained £150m without difficulty?

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  • http://twitter.com/JimmyHSands Jimmy Sands

    “There is probably no way the Department could re-pay the money without making heavy new benefit cuts this year.”

    So the DWP’s position is that their budget doesn’t add up without sanctions?

    Is this your argument or theirs? Either way it makes you look a bit dense.

    • Monkey_Bach

      Byrne is lying. The man is a bloody disgrace. Eeek.

      • AlanGiles

        Again, this demonstrates the sheer craveness and incompetence of Ed Miliband. A leader should lead, he merely follows Byrne in making life as quiet as possible for his party. He is afraid of doing what he always tells his members to do – to “do the right thing” – if the right thing morally is to vote against something, at the same time upsetting the press and his beloved “squeezed middle” then he condones the wrong thing being done.

        I doubt Miliband ever played cowboys and Indians as a boy – if he did, doubtless he was the lady having the baby in the last wagon.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ian.sedwell Ian Sedwell

    Liam Byrne’s words do nothing to still my anger that the Labour Party might not oppose – and might even support – a law that *retrospectively* allows the government to escape its legal obligations (http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2013/mar/19/labour-rush-benefit-rebates-poundland)

    This matter first arose last week and in response I penned this open letter to the Labour Party:

    Comrades

    With reference to The Guardian on-line (http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2013/mar/15/dwp-law-change-jobseekers-poundland).

    I wish to it be understood that should the Labour Party abstain or support the government in the pursuit of emergency legislation to deny repayments that the English Courts have ruled were illegally with-held, then I will resign from the Labour Party.

    That a Labour Party could support such an odious and repugnant measure merely confirms in my mind that the modern Labour Party has become nothing more than the Tory Party with added hand-wringing and theatrical angst. We have a leadership far more interested in not upsetting anything that it has become an anodyne shadow of what it once was.

    Oh! But the Labour Party will only, “support the fast-tracked bill with some further safeguards and that negotiations with the coalition are ongoing [sic].” This sickening platitude does nothing to quieten my extreme displeasure. What safeguards? For whom? The ONLY safeguards that can be discussed are those that assure those illegally denied benefit payment that their outstanding payments will be met, in full, without delay.

    Has the Labour Party forgotten where it comes from? Has it forgotten its commitment to the unions and to the working class, or it now solely interested in pandering to the greed and iniquity of the much revived class war? Are we now so middle-class?

    I see small future for Labour Party I once admired. We bang on about tax cuts for millionaires, but when it comes to protecting our own, we do precisely NOTHING.

    Dr Ian Sedwell

    • AlanGiles

      Very well put, Dr Sedwell. As Oscar Wilde said “I wish I had said that!”

    • Clare Sheldon

      Hear, hear!!

  • Jeremy_Preece

    Today Liam Byrne, shadow work and pensions secretary has used LabourList to speak correctly about the need for real jobs especially for youth. However there seems to be evidence that he may be speaking with a forked tounge.

    Some on this site have also pointed out that that there are plans for Labour to not fight for those who have unlawfully lost benefits due to the appauling and quite frankly, criminal activites of IDS.

    Money-bach wrote
    “Well, it look as if Labour are going to help loathsome Iain Duncan Smith (of all people!) pass a cowardly, dishonest, and contemptible retrospective piece of legislation to prevent men and women stripped of benefits UNLAWFULLY, by the DWP, from claiming them back as should be the case. This is absolutely disgraceful behaviour on the part of Labour, if they do this, showing complete contempt for the judiciary, rule of law, and suffering of innocent people through loss of benefit because of unlawful actions by one of the worst governments I can ever remember.”

    Amber Star and others have also commented in much the same way.

    I think that Liam Byrne must now use this same site to explain exactly what his intentions are and those of the Labour Leadership. He must also accept the anger of loyal Labour supporters if the party does not oppose IDS.
    Maybe if everyone else who wants to see this matter cleared up or to express their anger if Labour are supporting the illegal activites of IDS would like to vote this up, and add their own comments, perhaps it will put pressure on Mr Byrne to respond to us.

    I am sure that if these accusations are untrue he will be only too keen to speak up and reassure us.

    • AlanGiles

      We will wait a long time for Byrne to ever deign to reply on LL. He hits and runs, like the coward he is.

      Let us hope if he personally insists on abstaining, and his PLP colleagues vote against, he will at least have the decency to resign, because it will prove he is out of step with his own party

  • http://twitter.com/citizen_colin Colin McCulloch

    There are entire Branches who will resign if the PLP supports (or abstains) on this vote. Tread carefully, Liam Byrne. Is this really an issue you want to split the party over?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=574311716 facebook-574311716

    “the DWP might be on the hook to pay back every sanction levied since 2011. There is probably no way the Department could re-pay the money without making heavy new benefit cuts this year.”

    This is money that was taken illegally from individual benefit claimants. The DWP doesn’t have to make cuts – it already has this money. Not that £150m is a significant sum of money out of the DWP’s annual £200bn benefits budget anyway. It’s certainly of less value that the Labour Party’s principles.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/jcr.hill Jonathan Hill

    The notion of a government being ordered by a judge to make a pay-out to people whom it treated illegally, and responding by drafting “retroactive” legislation that somehow, magically, makes what they did not illegal after all, is the kind of thing I expect to find in an Orwell novel, or in 1930s Germany, not in twenty-first century British democracy.

    Even if the judgement were flawed (it wasn’t), and even if the government had a good case for saying its actions were justified (it doesn’t), the idea of reacting not by arguing the case but simply changing the law is an action of monstrous cynicism. It is might-makes-right on an epic scale. The government talks about not wanting to create dangerous precedents by enacting Lord Leveson’s proposals for statutory bodies to regulate the press, and yet here it is creating a far more dangerous one.

    So why the Labour party isn’t planning to oppose this appalling act is absolutely beyond me. One rarely sees a government action so clearly ripe for opposing; if Labour won’t oppose this, what will they oppose? You may say you’re not voting for the government’s plans – you’re just abstaining – but that doesn’t make much difference to Cait Reilly and the others who were illegally made to pay millions in unjust fines, and which the government is now effectively simply stealing by rewriting the law to justify its own misdeeds.

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  • Mekonista

    Labour – a.k.a. The Dancing on the Head of a Pin Party – how inspiring!

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

    “the courageous stand made by Cait Reilly”

    Can’t think of anyone more deserving of a place on a PPC shortlist than Cait Reilly.

  • http://www.facebook.com/patrick.dodds.79 Patrick Dodds

    All you politicians really do despise the poor don’t you? Disgraceful, as stated above.

  • Yoolander

    Dear Mr Byrne

    After steadfastly supporting Labour for over 40 Years – todays betrayal is one too many and I will no longer work to return the Labour Party – as presently constituted and led – to Government.- the differences between Labour and Tory appear superficial and cosmetic, at best and supine paralysis at worst.

    At present, you can’y get a fag paper between you and Them.

    Your obligation was to respect and protect the Judgement of the Court – not help Tories avoid the consequences of that ruling and by so doing – aid and abet the theft of £120m wrongly taken from the poorest and most vulnerable

    This Political decision shows poor judgement, a lack of principle and a final split by Labour from core voters.

    You may like to know that this issue has generated over 1,100 comments on the CiF section of the Guardian with the majority – 0ver 1000, being in the same vein as mine.

    You will pay in 2015 – TUC, act now and cut the umbilical which is feeding Labour and strangling effective opposition to the Tories – Create the Real Labour and do away with impostors
    Yours, a former ally, now enemy. .

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  • giselle97

    I’m getting perilously close to cancelling that direct debit Labour!

  • Dave Postles

    There is already a category of benefits which is based on need, for example housing benefit, working tax credits, etc There is nothing wrong in some categories of benefit being based on need and concentrated on need. Theoretically, we all have an entitlement, but it only comes into operation at times of need. We (old ones who are well off) are depriving young people. Recoup it through the tax system if you wish, although that seems a rather expensive way when it can be easily related to income tax return.

    • DJT1million

      Of course benefits are based on need, I would not dispute that. You get unemployment benefit when you are unemployed, child benefit when you have a child, heating allowance when you are old or disabled, education in primary school when you are a young child and so on…….universal benefits does not mean that everyone gets everything all the time.

      The principle of universality is incredibly important however, as an equal citizen of our state we pay our taxes and receive the appropriate support at the appropriate time. This is a sound principle that is being chipped away at.

      I understand that in tough times it can sound odd for a wealthy person to claim any form of benefits however if they have paid their taxes and are a British citizen then why should they not? It is their participation in our nation, in our ‘One Nation’ if you like, that is important. Our nations finances are not in a mess because some wealthy individuals pay their taxes and claim their benefits but because way too many wealthy individuals and companies alike don’t get around to paying their taxes but are happy to claim such benefits as free staff through workfare and taking full advantage of tax loopholes and various schemes.

      …and again, don’t forget that the sort of benefits we are talking about include such stuff as universal education and healthcare. Abandon the principle and you are on the road to abandoning those universal benefits too. I don’t want those things to be turned into ‘welfare’, into the basic stuff that only the poorest have to take advantage of because they cannot afford anything else. We deserve better than that. We are better than that.

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  • Monkey_Bach
  • Dave Postles

    Absolutely right.

  • http://www.facebook.com/emkayoh Michael Kelly

    Platitudinous claptrap of the highest order. Shame on you and the labour party.

    • Steven

      No one should be surprised the so-called ‘people’s party’ (sick joke that is) sided with that evil cretin Iain Duncan-Smith. After all, it was NEW LABOUR that first started the hatred and bile against the unemployed under the war criminal Tony Blair and that idiot Blunket with the moronic joke that was the New Deal.. All the Tories have done is add their own special degree of callousness and incompetance to the mix. When is one politician from any party going to be decent for once and call-off the war against the unemployed and tell the country that there are simply not enough jobs to go around and therefore not seek to profit from the Daily Mail’s obnoxious lies about this vital subject by blaming unemployment on the unemployed when that is rarely the case?

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  • ck

    Byrne,you and the majority of Labour MPs who abstained from voting against this disgusting revision of law are a disgrace.I don’t how you have the bare faced cheek to write this piece.

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  • http://twitter.com/JohnLocke2011 alan carter
  • http://www.facebook.com/moira.russelldavies Moira Russell-Davies

    This is disgraceful behaviour by the Labour Party, is this how they intend to carry on following in the footsteps of the morons in the other side of the bench. The Labour Party I used to vote for was always for the people, not for those who have so much money they could’nt give a stuff. I certainly won’t be voting Labour anymore, infact my card will now be going in the rubbish bin.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=701583592 Richard Firth

    You didn’t vote against it. Hypocrite and disgrace. I won’t be voting Labour again.

  • Clare Sheldon

    This doesn’t address the issue that retrospective legislation is against the rule of law, and against both natural justice and common sense.

  • http://twitter.com/AbbeyLane5 Abbey Lane

    He rants on about young people desperately needing employment, but fails to mention the thousands of unemployed men also desperately seeking work.Labour will carry the stain of accepting IDS’ law change (on refunding claimants benefits) perhaps forevermore

  • A Davis

    I would like your post to be printed on the front page of every newspaper and tabloid rag.

  • A Davis

    I would like your post to be printed on the front page of every newspaper and tabloid rag.

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