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Send the jobless litter-picking?

Work for the unemployed, even when they don't want it?

Published on November 30th 2010.

Send the jobless litter-picking?

The North West is destined to have the cleanest streets in the kingdom thanks to a “ginger rodent” and a one-time Dingle In Liverpool lorry driver.

'The message will go across: play ball or it's going to be difficult'

This week will see the proclamation that job seekers will have to do litter picking and fence-painting chores for their meagre dole cheques. It will benefit the city no end.

There are not enough jobs to go around, which means there’ll be a lot of prolonged litter picking by the jobless having to do their community chore to qualify for their state hand-out.

On paper, it seems like a good idea to penalise, sorry, encourage job seekers who, if their worklessness extends beyond 12 months, be given a helping fist courtesy of the Coalition Government.

They will lose their payments , not as a punishment or sanction, you understand, but because the caring decision makers believe it will be good for them. Getting up at the crack of dawn every morning to head out to do those community chores is just the tonic.

Wage earners will, at least the Government hopes, fully support a scheme for people living off the state having to do 30-hours a week of community work or risk losing their £65-a-week benefit.

I wonder whether the people who currently clean the streets, and do a pretty good job of it, will have a say at the prospect of a cut-price army “chasing” their work.

Perhaps the (paid) street cleaners will no longer be needed and will become unemployed, only to be assigned street cleaning duties (at a fraction of their pay) to go litter picking. The fear is such a scheme will push many people over the edge and possibly into criminality.

Welfare Secretary Iain Duncan Smith, who gained his HGV licence driving around Toxteth, said his plans were

designed to reduce welfare dependency and make work pay.

He said: "One thing we can do is pull people in to do one or two weeks' manual work - turn up at 9am and leave at 5pm, to give people a sense of work, but also when we think they're doing other work.

"The message will go across: play ball or it's going to be difficult."

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander, or the Ginger Rodent, as Harriet Harman described him, said the idea was not to “punish or humiliate” but to get people back into the habit of working.

What do you think? Should the jobless be made to clean the streets to give them a sense of work ethic? Or is this an erosion of liberties than even Margaret Thatcher wouldn't have dared try?

Go on the homepage, scroll down and vote - also tell us your views.

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12 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Eddy RheadNovember 8th 2010.

This is an excellent idea. Why not extend the idea and bring together all the long term unemployed in to one place? Maybe in a remote location? Somewhere, for want of a better word, like a 'camp' of some description. And perhaps once in these camps they can carry out some sort of manual labour. And extend this opportunity to others maybe. Why restrict access to this just to the unemployed? Why not invite others to join the camps - homosexuals, intellectuals, left wingers etc etc?

Pauline Campbell-JonesNovember 9th 2010.

It is an excellent idea. We now have an underclass in this country who feel they have the right to choose not to work while having their lives funded by the state. The sooner these people are clamped down on the better.

MR UKIPNovember 9th 2010.

This is a great idea , it will clean up the community as well as give the claimants some structure to their life as well. The welfare state was never designed to be used to claim money and just sit at home , about time something was done , well done Mr Cameron

AnonymousNovember 9th 2010.

If work needs to be done why should the government be able to effectively hire people at £65 per week wages to do it, so breaking the minimum wage laws?

And if the government is able to break these laws, then why don't we sack a load more government menial staff and get unemployed people to do their work at a much cheaper rate? Just think of all the unskilled staff such as bin men, office clerks, dinner ladies, minimum wage classroom assistants, receptionists etc etc we could sack with vast savings.

Don't forget that many unemployed people these days will be skilled. We could probably sack loads of council joiners, plumbers, building mainteneance staff, electricians, admin staff, accounts staff, IT staff and many others and replace them with £65 per week people on 4 week placements. The same could be said for teachers. There are a lot of them on the dole too.

MNovember 9th 2010.

There's a bit of a risk that people could be sucked into these community work roles and not be able to get out of it.

Sure, you don't want people sat at home, needlessly claiming benefits for 10 years but if someone can't find a job after one year, what chances have they got of finding a job after a 30 hour week cleaning the streets?

They'll effectively be giving up job hunting for the length of the placement. How well this works may depend on the length and frequency of them.

DibigoNovember 9th 2010.

great idea. I was just thinking about what they would they do about clampets who leave school at 16 and have half a dozen kids and sponge off the government until they die as their career. What would we do about them? They would likely say they can't litter pick because they are at home looking after their kids. Imagine the stick you would get at school... ha ha I saw your mum picking litter yesterday, etc etc. It would be worse than when I was at school and someone's mum would be spotted with an Aldi carrier bag. Ewwww yor mum's an Aldi basher you tramp!!! Good times.

Let em 'ave itNovember 10th 2010.

Great Idea i'd also get them doing labouring work it might stop illegal foreigners being trafficked possibly too if theres no work left for them to do? At least if the benefit scroungers are being monitored daily with their litter picking duties they are less likely to be selling drugs, smoke dope, procreating other chav scum, committing petty/serious crime and sat around becoming more and more idle fat and lazy! Come to Harpurhey you'll see what i mean. Hopefully it will instill or introduce some kind of work ethic into their lives, only the past molly coddling government has allowed this kind of subculture to thrive! Now the poor coalition has to find ways of reversing this mentality! Not easy but can be done with much co-operation from within the party and support from voters all round whatever their political leniances - its become a problem for us all. Our income taxes are solely put towards the benefit system so we should all stick together on this, let us create a less dependant culture and perhaps even bring back and create a new nation of proud "Made in Britain" entrepreneurs and manufacturers...

AnonymousNovember 10th 2010.

Reactionary Scaremongering! The actual plan is to make people work for 4 weeks as a Mandatory Placement. This can be in a community setting or a mainstream employer. As part of the current structure of Flexible New Deal this already exists so is nothing new. The process is person lead and If a claimant can make they're own contacts they are free to do the placement wherever they like and can earn valuable skills to put on a CV or maybe even secure work. The only way they would be forced to do a placement they didn't want to is if they couldn't be bothered to contribute to the process of securing it

How do I know this? I'm a front line worker in the welfare to work industry and I bothered to full read the proposals fully

M30November 10th 2010.

"If work needs to be done why should the government be able to effectively hire people at 65 pounds per week wages to do it?"

Because if someone has been Jobseekers Allowance for over a year and they still haven't found work, they're obviously not trying hard enough. JSA is meant to be a short term buffer for people seeking work, not a wage from the state to sit on your arse for years on end spawning endless kids.

What's wrong with making claimants give something back? And also, what's wrong with giving career benefits claimants a sense of shame? Long term benefits claimants have been pandered to for far too long, to the point that there's streets, nay, estates of people who just don't want to work and feel we should pay for their lives. You could propably count on one hand the number of people in places like Gorton who go out to work.

Hopefully the people who carry out this community work will be made to wear the same high-visibility vests as those completing community service so they get the kick up the arse they need.

Maddison CrewNovember 25th 2010.

Nice comment 'Eddy Rhead'. I agree completely.

Making jobless people work for less than minimum wage is barbaric and I'm sure must be against some law somewhere. Also being denied benefits if three job offers are turned down? Again stupid. People who have been made redundant sometimes have no other choice but to go on JSA and they don't want to take jobs that are beneath their current working capability.
An argument against this would be 'they should take what they can get' but if you were a manager in a shop would you want to take the job of shelf stacker in Tesco? I think not.

BenNovember 29th 2010.

Job Seekers Allowance should be what it says: an allowances for job seekers. Not job turn-downers or job-snobs or whatever. I'm now a graduate but I picked up litter with a mixed group of formerly unemployed myself at 18/19 and it was interesting to see how different folk reacted to the discipline of regular work. Out of twelve of us, two didn't much want to be there and were those that took most "sick leave". I've met exactly the same attitude 20+ years on when doing Jury Service: the unemployed guy moaned about it all morning and "pulled a sicky" when called to his first jury panel. Rather than have someone who'd not turn up part way through the trial, the judge let him leave.

What hope for people who are left to play the system and who are left at home for yet more years twiddling their thumbs or, as in the case of the relunctant juror, by his own admission, spending their "free" time on state-sponsored "informal economy" activities!? A four week placement is really only a gesture but a potentially productive one as it servers to break the cycle of idleness or misdirected energy.

J HuttonDecember 3rd 2010.

This is of course a rehashed policy as anonymous above explains. There are quite a few Condem policies announced which are actually NuLab policies already in operation.

However there is competition for litter picking and you can get 'free' labour from those serving a community sentence: so why pay £65?

You have pay for con's on pre release community service though but it may only be prison rates.

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