‘Work for the dole’ scheme proposed

New universal credit claimants would be forced to undertake work-related activity after a certain time, under proposals in a think-tank report aimed at tackling so-called 'welfare dependency'.

The TaxPayers' Alliance describes itself as an 'independent grassroots campaign' for lower taxes.

Key points

  • Benefits spending is 'high and generous', having increased 'relentlessly' over the last fifty years.
  • 2.5 million jobs have been created since 2000: but the number of those claiming out-of-work benefits has stayed about the same. 68 per cent of the jobs created were taken by immigrants 'prepared to work hard rather than rely on benefits'. Many of the UK population on out-of-work benefits 'evidently weren’t interested in the new jobs'.
  • The universal credit is designed to make sure work always pays slightly better than being on benefits, but this will have only a limited effect – because some people are still 'happy to live on benefits' even if by working they could have a slightly higher income.
  • A 'Work for the Dole' scheme should be introduced, targeted at such people. After a certain time, anyone claiming universal credit would be required to undertake compulsory activity or – if claiming incapacity benefit or employment and support allowance – activity they were physically able to do. Participants would be required to undertake 30 hours a week of mandatory community work, 'physical and meaningful' attendance at a job-search centre, work for a registered charity, recognised training or work experience.
  • Anyone not complying with the activity requirements would automatically have all of their universal credit payments suspended until they did comply – although the report acknowledges this may be contrary to existing European law.
  • The scheme would lead to annual savings of £3.5 billion and help take 345,000 people off benefits over time.

Source: Chris Philp, Work for the Dole: A Proposal to Fix Welfare Dependency, TaxPayers' Alliance
LinksReport | The Void blog post | BBC report | Daily Mail report



Publication date: 
Sep 3 2013