The coalition government’s ‘Help To Work’ scheme comes into effect from Monday 28 April 2014.

Under the new scheme unemployed people who have been out of work for longer than two years, and who have completed the Work Programme, will be expected to undertake tough new requirements in order to continue receiving benefit.

Claimants may be required to take part in unpaid community work placements, such as clearing up litter and graffiti in their local neighbourhood, enrol in local gardening projects or restoring war memorials.

Community work experience placements will be for 30 hours per week and could last up to six months. If participants have failed to find a job by the time the six months are up they could find themselves being recycled back onto the programme, in what could become a never-ending cycle of work for your benefits.

The long-term unemployed will also be expected to visit their local JobCentre every day to ‘sign on’ and will receive up to fours hours intensive job search coaching for each week they are on the ‘Help To Work’ Scheme.

Failure to comply with the strict new regime could result in jobseeker’s losing their benefit for four weeks at a time or longer for repeat offenders.

According to the government, jobseeker’s with learning difficulties will also receive educational support to improve their literacy and numeracy skills.

Sick and disabled benefit claimants in receipt of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) will not be required to take part in the scheme.

Prime Minister David Cameron said:

“A key part of our long-term economic plan is to move to full employment, making sure that everyone who can work is in work.

“We are seeing record levels of employment in Britain, as more and more people find a job, but we need to look at those who are persistently stuck on benefits.

“This scheme will provide more help than ever before, getting people into work and on the road to a more secure future.”

Secretary of State of Work and Pensions Iain Duncan Smith said:

“Everyone with the ability to work should be given the support and opportunity to do so.

“The previous system wrote too many people off, which was a huge waste of potential for those individuals as well as for their families and the country as a whole. We are now seeing record numbers of people in jobs and the largest fall in long-term unemployment since 1998.

“But there’s always more to do, which is why we are introducing this new scheme to provide additional support to the very small minority of claimants who have been unemployed for a number of years.

“In this way we will ensure that they too can benefit from the improving jobs market and the growing economy.”

The move has come under heavy criticism from both Labour and the unions. Unite’s assistant general secretary Steve Turner describing the new scheme as a form of “forced unpaid labour” which is akin to existing government schemes which show “no evidence” of helping unemployed “people into paid work in the long-term”.

Steve Turner told the Independent newspaper:

“This scheme is nothing more than forced unpaid labour and there is no evidence that these workfare programmes get people into paid work in the long-term.

“We are against this scheme wherever ministers want to implement it – in the private sector, local government and in the voluntary sector.

“The Government sees cash-starved charities as ‘a soft target’ for such an obscene scheme, so we are asking charity bosses to say ‘no’ to taking part in this programme. This is a warping of the true spirit of volunteering and will force the public to look differently at charities with which they were once proud to be associated.

“It is outrageous that the Government is trying to stigmatise job seekers by making them work for nothing, otherwise they will have their benefits docked.”

Labour’s Stephen Timms added:

“Under David Cameron’s government nearly one in ten people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance lack basic literacy skills and many more are unable to do simple maths or send an email. Yet this Government allows jobseekers to spend up to three years claiming benefits before they get literacy and numeracy training.

“A Labour government will introduce a Basic Skills Test to assess all new claimants for Jobseeker’s Allowance within six weeks of claiming benefits.

“Those who don’t have the skills they need for a job will have to take up training alongside their job search or lose their benefits. Labour’s Basic Skills Test and our Compulsory Jobs Guarantee will give the unemployed a better chance of finding a job and will help us to earn our way out of the cost-of-living crisis.”

Whilst the number of available job vacancies have increased significantly in recent months many area’s of the country are still witnessing a severe shortage of jobs, with the North-East of England and parts of Scotland fairing the worst.

This is in stark contrast to area’s in the South-East of England where the number of available jobs are greater than the numbers of people looking for work.

However, figures due to be released on Tuesday are expected to show that competition for jobs has fallen to a new low of 1.42 jobseeker’s for every advertised job vacancy. This will no doubt come as good news for the coaliton government.

However, those figures are also expected to show that the average advertised salary has dropped by £1,800 over the last twelve months, providing more fuel to Labour’s  ‘cost of living crisis’ argument.

  • Claimants cannot be ‘punished’ like this while there are not enough jobs to go round. There are NOT enough jobs. Look at the queues that have formed when hundreds of applicants apply for a minimum wage job somewhere. Are we saying people in these queues should be penalised because there are not the jobs? I have spoken with graduates who have broken up cardboard boxes for weeks in Tesco on workfare in the hope of being offered that job at the end of the term…but they were not…another wave of free workers was drafted in after them. Most people WANT to work. The Ministers heading these schemes don’t get it…they went to the right schools, they are married to the right people. Any problems they pick up the phone and get a leg up…I have lived in that world and I have seen how it works….they cannot understand what it is like for someone with so much drive and potential who has done everything the govt have asked, and more, yet still get slapped i the face. SO many people ave reported being sanctioned for going to job interviews that clashed with their Jobcentre appointment! Any logical system would reward them and not punish them with hunger, fear and indignity for trying to get a job…and that is not a handful of anecdotes but facts also reported by JC workers trying to get the truth out.

  • Groc

    These significant increase in jobs? By any chance would they be on the Job Match site where so many of the so called jobs advertised are fraudulent, or selling cleaning products door-to-door, or zero hour contracts, etc. Etc.

  • dean hayes

    this party are bloody stupid theres on job out there and yet they are having ago at the unemployed because of if they didn’t sell the businesses over seas we would be in this mess thank a million you thick tory cunts

  • Locking people up for 30 hours a week thus preventing them from finding jobs that don’t actually exist or turning them into slaves with exactly the same result. Has IDS considered making the unemployed doing the fake jobs in the community wear a suit covered in arrows to “shame them into getting a job”? All this is, is yet another desperate idea from the bumbling amateurs of the Cameron junta to fake the unemployment figures.

  • There are plenty of jobs going in Manchester… 8 bars i walked past all want staff 2 of them want full time staff! I left a well paid job down south to move to Manchester! and i took a bar job.. huge pay cut.. but i needed a job, and was happy to move into anything.

    people expect it all.. tough.. work or get nothing/.

    • So let’s get this right you left a well paid job to get one that pays poor money for working unsocial hours, you clearly didn’t need a job you had one already. Some people need to think before they post nonsense.

  • Its difficult to see how this could actually work… thousands of people having to sign on every day ? I dont know about anywhere else, but I really dont think my local Jobcentre could cope.

    Workfare ? Who is going to provide the equipment much of the proposed work would need – overalls, waterproofs, tools, transport, protective gear like hardhats and gloves, safety boots ?

    How about insurance ? What happens to anyone who gets injured on workfare ? How about if you’re sick ? How about holidays ?

    Minor details to the likes of IDS no doubt, but they will have to be adressed – I haven’t yet seen any evidence of this being done.

    And should the ConDem gangsters get dumped at the next general election, Labour appear to be quite willing to continue bashing the unemployed.

    George Orwell, in 1984, wrote “If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – for ever.”

    The boots are here. The stamping has begun.

  • Arbeit macht frei The government have adopted the policies of 30’s germany to dispose of the unemployed the sick the needy and the disabled, if you can’t work you are just considered to be a burden to the nation. Whilst people are having to use food banks because they can’t afford to buy food, there are workers on minimum wage or zero hours contracts getting benefits to top up the money they should receive if the employers paid properly, as ever the people blamed for the economic woes aren’t the ones who caused the problem just the most vulnerable and easiest to attack, why didn’t we get an 11% raise or a bonus for losing money I wonder?

  • phillip holloway

    I think this then putsyou as employed by the goverment. If this is so then under the law they have to pay minimum wage.

  • how the hell is signing on everyday going to help. Whos going to pay for the travel expenses ? This whole scheme is an elobarate scam by the Tories supporting businesses over people. The rich buisnesses get a free slave for nothing, the tories get to reduce their unemployment stat by one, and the young person been forced into slavery gets nothing. Disgraceful.

  • So what are the criminals that clean up graffiti in their local neighbourhood to do now???

  • I was intending to comment on this outrageous story. However, as far as I can gather I might get into loads of trouble if I do. Apparently, one is no longer allowed to criticise bankers, politicians or corporate tax avoiders. I will continue to struggle in my wheelchair and not voice my opinion.

  • June Bailey

    If the 30 hour a week job needs doing why are they not being done by someone employed by a firm instead of the firm getting someone on JSA to do it at no cost to the firm?. The person on JSA is not working for free they are getting their benifits, but hour to work means they are probably on less that the national minimum wage.

    • Well lets be honest if you can get someone to do the job for free why pay someone else.

  • Signing-Off

    So basically if you can’t find work, you are a criminal and have to do community service as a punishment???
    This country has gone to shit!
    How much longer are people going to put up with this before something bad happens in this country?
    I have a very worrying feeling that sooner rather than later we are going to experience riots, violent protests or something along those lines. There is only a certain amount of this treatment that people will be willing to take.

    • Wouldn’t mind betting flashpoints will occur when the crowds having to sign on daily are made to queue out in the rain by the G4S jobsworth on the door. Once one Jobcentre gets trashed, it could set up a domino effect.

  • welcome to tory Britain were those less off get a kicking but wait till his master plan comes to be inplace calling all in to the local jcp even when they working 40hrs welcome to tory Britain jeff3

  • This will increase unemployment because people made to work for 30 hours a week will become cheap labor Who is going to employ someone 30 hours a week and pay them properly when they can cadge some free labor from the dole office. When this government came into office I predicted that people like litter pickers will be made redundant and then told to go out picking up litter for their dole money. Who is going to look after peoples children whilst their parents become slaves? Oh sorry of course they can take their children along and get them picking up litter for free. We are becoming as bad as 3rd world countries. Most people don’t choose to unemployed. I AM ASHAMED TO BE BRITISH

  • The disabled, and cancer patients, have been waiting for 8 months or longer,for the new benefit pip.. and have not recieved a penny….macmillan nurses say they have never seen anything like this, There have been a number of deaths and suicides and disabled people dont know where to turn for help,It is a disgrace, and something needs to be done Now.

    • Completely agree nita, I have never favoured the Death Penalty, but i could be persuaded to make an exception for the Vile IDS.