'On your bike', where have I heard that before? Is it not strange how history repeats itself, as I well remember this statement being uttered by a minister in the last Conservative government.
But the present Government is equally reactionary in its dealings with the benef it recipients, submitting those most vulnerable to all kinds of indignities as to their fitness for work or indeed as to whether they are making the desired effort to secure employment.
It matters not as to the actual availability of work, that does not enter the equation, it seems the judgement is made that work is readily there and if you are unemployed, then you are simply not trying hard enough to find it.
But is this true? Are the jobs there? Particularly in a time of probable recession perhaps worse, then work should, on the bounds of probability be harder to find, all things being equal.
Does it not appear odd and incompassionate for the Government to introduce possible sanctions against benefit recipients who, it is considered are taking advantage of so-called generous benefits, when the economy is entering a sticky period.
Can anyone really say that job-seekers allowance (JSA) is a "generous" benefit at the princely total of £60 per week? I think not!
JSA is an earned benefit out of National Insurance contributions and there ought to be no stigma attached to claiming such, paid to people rightly entitled. JSA was formerly known as unemployment benefit which was paid for one year with none of the oppressive "back to work or else" tactics used by Job Centre staff, which has become the norm over the years particularly during recessions.
Some may consider that these tactics are justified where large amounts of taxpayers cash is concerned and is being "squandered" on those undeserving. Having had this experience myself in the past, one is made to feel like a criminal/fraudster - ie taking the state for a ride, when in fact you are accepting what is your right.
During this period of rising unemployment, many employers will, sadly, take advantage of the market and exploit it to their own ends by offering work at lower rates of pay than previous or by "working with the government" to cajole the unemployed to accept a form of workfair, by threatening withdrawal of benefits should so-called "training schemes"on offer be turned down.
Some of these training schemes are plainly a way of lowering the unemployment statistics.
Why should the unemployed be forced to work for benefits? In other words, these employers are exploiting vulnerable parts of the workforce at the taxpayers expense as they ought to offer the rate for the job.
I Walker Dalgarno Gardens