Over the last few days Chris Grayling and David Cameron have been
unveiling tough-love policies on welfare. We’ve already had
announcements to reduce the number of incapacity benefit claimants
by introducing compulsory medical testing and also a requirement for
single parents to undertake part-time work once their youngest child
reaches school age.
Yesterday we learnt that the party will introduce a
‘three-strikes-and-you’re-out’ policy on job offers for unemployed
people. The FT reported:
"Mr Grayling proposes that a claimant would lose one month’s
out-of-work benefits for turning down a reasonable job offer and three
months’ for turning down a second offer. “If they refuse a third
reasonable offer, they will be excluded from receiving further
out-of-work benefits for a period of up to three years,” he said."
This morning, at an event in Brixton, the Conservative leader will
announce the most radical step yet. In an initiative based on the
welfare model pioneered by US Republicans – and signed into law by Bill
Clinton – the Conservatives will introduce a two-year maximum limit on
being able to apply for Jobseekers’ Allowance.
Significantly the two-year limit will be a cumulative one. A claimant
won’t have to have been claiming JSA for two consecutive years but will
find that a pattern of sporadic claiming will add up to a ban on
further claims. This part of the Tory package is designed to capture
those people who seek to work the system by taking jobs for short
periods but then quickly resign from them. The Telegraph
reports that more than a quarter of those who go into work from JSA are
back claiming within 13 weeks. Two-thirds of all annual JSA
applications are repeat applications.
Once the two-year limit has been reached claimants will be required to
undertake community work programmes such as removing graffiti or
Speaking to the Daily Mail Chris Grayling, Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions said:
"Staying at home will no longer be an option. We have
an absurd situation under Gordon Brown where millions of people are
coming here to work while millions of Britons are allowed to remain on
benefits. We now know that four out of every five jobs created under
Labour have gone to foreign workers. That’s a culture that has got to
ConservativeHome will be at this morning’s launch press conference and will report more afterwards.
Labour will attempt to attack the Tories on these policies but the man
who would be expected to front those attacks – Peter Hain – may be a
little distracted this morning. The Guardian
reports that the former deputy Labour leadership candidate failed to
declare tens of thousands of pounds he received for his campaign. Guido has more.