We will not be able to rationalize and reform this benefit until we stop thinking about people as being unemployed and start thinking about them being in part time employment of the government. If we make this change we now have millions of man hours which we can organize into small 'companies' employing say no more than 100 people.
The employees of these companies would have the same rights and responsibilities as other workers and be paid a wage based on the minimum wage for say 14 hrs per week over two days, they would have to turn up on time and sign in and out as other workers do. Let them start work at 9.30 and finish early to avoid peak time travel and absence would not be paid. The normal rules for sickness absence would apply.
It would be the managers job to find them work, anything from cutting grass to brushing the streets or use their brain and use them as a cheap employment source for local companies and councils, charge only £3.50 an hour.( this would reduce the cost to the government) However there must be a clause that says a council can't hire an employee from the companies if they have made a similar person redundant or put them on short time within a set period.
Where a manager has no work for a group of employees for a period he should use them for community work. These companies could also be used to serve community service orders handed out by the courts.
The managers would also come from the ranks of the unemployed with some additional help from regional managers.
Each company within an area could have a number of trades i.e., painters, wages clerks or joiners and when a person has their first interview they should be given a list of companies they can apply to join which would reflect their skill and location.
Start the scheme as a small pilot on a voluntary basis and if good value for money roll the voluntary scheme out nationally and then make it mandatory.
Companies hiring the personnel could ask for a particular person and would be encouraged to eventually offer them a full time job.
It would also help small business to grow as the economy picks up
If one of these companies needs a multi skilled employee it should be able to have him trained by the nearest sister company that is based on training
There should be no limit to the type of employment these companies can offer but there must be safegaurds to protect local industry and prevent companies as seeing this a cheap alternative to hiring their own workers.
Why is this idea important?
The long term price of unemployment if unsustainable in both financial and social terms.
We should try to give the long term unemployed back their dignity and a focus in their lives, give them a reason to get up in the morning, give them somthing to be proud of when they talk to their friends – 'do you know what we did for an oap today' – use the company structure to put some self disipline into the life of school leavers and train them within the system. Instead of simply handing out money be proactive and try to kick start the lower levels of the economy by having both an input and a better skilled work force. We could even help some of the companies start fledgling manufacturing.
We already pay this work force and very quickly we should see them showing a return based on income from 'agency' and projects completed for other people.
Thanks for reading this and yes I was unemployed for about 6 month