At this week’s Tory Party conference, Chancellor George Osborne announced that the long-term unemployed will be forced to work for their benefits in future.  Those unemployed for two years or more will have to carry out community work, attend job centres daily, or undergo compulsory training, to address the reasons why they are unable to secure a job, or face benefit sanctions.  Benefit sanctions are cited by charities as being one of the main drivers for the increase in people seeking assistance from foodbanks.

In stark contrast to Labour Leader Ed Milliband’s plans to scrap the bedroom tax if elected, the Government is pushing on with plans to reduce the welfare spend by making the benefits system more punitive and conditional on seeking employment.  Jobseekers are already required to prove that they have been looking for work for the full time work equivalent of 35 hours per week.

Critics of the Government say that this move means that the £450m Work Programme has failed, with around 1 in 10 people taking part in the programme securing employment.  Quoting A Department of Work and Pensions assessment of mandatory work activity, BBC news reported that a similar compulsory work scheme introduced by ministers in 2011 had “had no impact on the likelihood of being employed”.

They refused to be drawn on whether the sanctions would be applied to people with children.

First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has announced £7.45 million Scottish Legal Aid Board funding support, to help people facing serious debt and money problems resulting from benefit changes..

Source:  BBC News