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People should work for benefits

Comment 1st July 2010

Anybody claiming benefits should have to work a minimum number of hours per week to earn the money they receive.  They should be able to do this work either for the local authority doing useful jobs around the local area such as picking up litter, grass cutting, delivering meals to the elderly etc. or as a volunteer for any local charity.  The work could be tailored to fit ability so that even people who are excluded from work due to illness or disability are able to contribute and be an asset for the local community.  Those who refuse to work should not receive a penny unless they can prove that they have a genuine disability which entirely prevents them from doing anything useful.

Why does this matter?

This is important for a variety of reasons not least that it would still allow all those who are vulnerable or out of work to continue to receive the help that they need.  I would however show that there is no free lunch, that doing nothing is not acceptable, especially in times of economic hardship.  It would give taxpayers better value for the money they contribute as benefits would effectively be subsidizing a large number of volunteers.  If the minimum amount of work was set at 10 hours per week, with around 1.6 million people claiming jobseekers allowance alone that would be over 16 million man hours of work done every week. This amount of extra labour would allow a lot to be done.

The other major benefit could be that having to work for the benefits would hopefully encourage people who are capable of working back into work as they would no longer be able to get away with doing nothing.  If they are having to pick up litter for the council they may think that getting a off benefits and into a proper job would provide more money for not much more work, giving a real incentive to work.

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