# 105 (2013) Wombling for Welfare
The Government’s apparent new plan to make all job seekers work for their benefits whilst they job seek should be, and is in principle, a good idea if implemented correctly.
I appreciate that many people on benefits are desperately seeking work and trying their hardest. I also know there are a good number who are getting away with living off the Government and just don’t care. But it’s about time people living on the state short or long term should start to give something back for the money they receive and that the Government should address drug and alcohol problems amongst those on job seekers benefit and not able to work because of it.
That the number of hours is incomparable to the amount of money given in benefits is just hard luck. The unemployed, as far as I know, have never had to ‘work’ for benefits aside from clocking in at the job centre every two weeks with evidence of their job hunt. Back before the days of financial handouts those who ended up in workhouses where they got a bed and food for a night also had to work but mostly in menial hard work. The addage was, you don’t get something for nothing And why should they? Being on the dole should not be a lucrative alternative to working for a living. A few think it is.
If you’re able to work you should work. I don’t necessarily subscribe to the idea that benefits people are all lazy scroungers. And comments in response to this article in the Metro certainly amused me with their generalisations and hostility towards some benefits recipients.
But sending claimants out to work in return for their allowance does have other benefits as well. If you take away the financial aspect of the project, one of the problems with being unemployed and unoccupied is that the longer you are unemployed and unmotivated the worse it gets and the more demotivated you feel. At least with schemes like this people will be getting out, meeting other people and doing something productive. It may not seem like that to some but community work, assisting in care homes and even picking up litter is useful and constructive to any community. It may seem menial but someone has to do it.
If nothing else this sort of work will wheedle out the people who do want to work, from those who are abusing the system. It is not a generalisation to suggest that there are a number of people getting away with claiming benefits who don’t want to work or are so obstructive about what they are prepared to do that they remain in the system indefinitely. A job is a job and when you need to work, you do what you have to do. Even part time work afford’s something to some.
The personal allowance means that people like me working part time hours on minimum wage at least get to see all of those earnings. Without that allowance it would not be worth me doing the job I now do and my employer would struggle to fill the post as it stands.
So what’s wrong with sending benefits recipients out to work? Is it a breach of human rights? I’m not convinced. After all, making benefit an attractive alternative to work is sure to invite abuse.