From the TUC

It’s official … poverty benefit levels are going help the jobless back to work

13 Nov 2008, by in Labour market, Society & Welfare

The TUC’s call for better benefits for the newly unemployed got good coverage yesterday. It’s a good way to stimulate the economy quickly, and would make the process of losing your job just a bit less traumatic. There is something wrong if people losing their jobs in this recession under a Labour government face a bigger drop in their income than those who lost their jobs under previous governments.

The problem is that the government is still stuck in the era when they thought everybody could get a job if they made the effort and had the training – and that anyone unemployed for any length of a time was in a danger of becoming a work-shy scrounger. That’s a view that was always wrong, but to coin a word it’s even wronger in the middle of a recession. In no way is the unemployment count a scrounger count today.

But while we got good coverage for this, I’ve not seen much reporting of the government’s response from Tony McNulty. Now Tony has impressed with the energy he is bring to some welcome government initiatives that respond to rising joblessness, but he should not be allowed to get away with this comment on what would happen if JSA went up from just over £60 quid a week to £75 a week – a daily increase of a little over two quid.

“We will get back to the whole welfare trap argument then and over-incentivise people not to actively look and seek work which is why the welfare reforms are important.”

I would love to see the research base for measuring the differential scrounger creation effects between £10 and £12 benefits a day.