Modern chain gang, US, 2006

Unemployed will have to do community work under Tories, says Cameron

All 18- to 21-year-olds who have failed to find a job or a place in training would no longer be able to claim jobseeker’s allowance under a Tory government, but would instead be forced to undertake community work, says David Cameron

Every single time I’ve been working during a change of government of any party, the idea of “putting the unemployed to work” in the countryside or parks has come along. And almost every time it has gone wrong. There are two reasons why, and they are always the same:

1) Politicians assume that work in the countryside or parks is unskilled and generic and so anyone can do it. They can’t. Most outdoor work requires a certain level of skill and ability. So when wholly unskilled people turn up to do such work, they soon run out of things they can usefully do. This is the case with quite a lot of other types of job, too.

2) To deliver this kind of project in any sector requires lots of input from people who actually know what they are doing; e.g. trainers, supervisors and managers. If you don’t provide them, the workers – who in this scenario might not even want to be there – won’t do anything useful, or might even cause more harm than good. You can’t just roll up in a van and work will magically appear in front of you. Someone has to plan it, get tools, and make sure it’s safe; before explaining what to do and making sure it’s done right.

Unfortunately many of the very people who could organise and supervise this kind of work in the outdoor industries – the rangers, the park keepers and the youth workers have either been laid off or contracted out. So I guess that work will be going to private firms. So if this does go ahead, maybe we should take the money that would be paid to those firms, and pay it to local councils to support the work with their existing staff. That’s another way to keep people away from unemployment!

2 thoughts on “Unemployed will have to do community work under Tories, says Cameron”

  1. It’s biodiversity offsetting for people.

    Get rid of the old individuals and their habitat and hey presto pretend to the world that everything’s okay because you’ve introduced some young ones to ‘replace’ them.

    Our glorious leaders just don’t get human or any other kind of ecology, do they?

  2. I quite agree……and so does my old man (laid off from runing volunteer countryside work programmes with the BTCV 20 years ago!). Must just add that IF done right and run by people that give a damn about the people being asked to work and about the countryside it is hard work for all concerned but can work. There are a lot of ‘ifs’ in there though and none that the government will realise. I shudder to think how much red tape and form filling there would be to do for every young person too!

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