The Conservatives have revealed their “Work for Welfare” plans this month. The proposals, which aim to get the unemployed into the workplace, will affect those who have claimed unemployment benefits for a combined total of two years. The requirement for a combined total ensures claimants cannot work the system by simply holding down a few temporary jobs with large periods of unemployment in between.
Under the welfare agenda claimants found to be fit for work will be required to look for work immediately. Until claimants find employment they will be referred to “back to work centres” to help them prepare and look for work. In the case of the long-term unemployed, claimants could be required to take part in a year long programme which will enable them to get involved in local community work.
Claimants refusing “reasonable” job offers could lose up to a maximum of three years’ out of work benefits. The proposals do however allow for permanently disabled people to receive unconditional support, whilst those with temporary disabilities would be required to undergo regular checks. Gordon Brown has voiced his concerns about the Tory proposals and stated that Labour’s welfare-to-work policy is “far more modern and up to date”.