Young jobless must train or be stripped of benefits says Miliband
Young unemployed, underqualified and aged between 18 and 21 will have to enter training or risk losing their benefits, Labour leader Ed Miliband announced on Thursday.
In a speech to the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), Miliband outlined changes to the welfare system. He proposed measures to encourage young people to enter work and to reward previously employed individuals who had made significant contributions to the state.
According to the proposed measures, those unemployed between the ages of 18 and 21 will no longer be entitled to Job Seeker’s Allowance (JSA), but will instead be paid a reduced Youth Allowance, the amount of which would be determined by their parents’ income and on the condition that they enter training.
Those exempt from the benefit cuts include several categories: individuals already with adequate training, parents with children under one year of age, and those with disabilities or recovering from illnesses preventing them from training or work.
Rewarding the long-term contributors, Miliband announced increase in the current JSA – from £71 to £100 per week – for those having worked for at least five years.
The measure comes as a response to widespread belief that the current benefits system provides people with money for nothing.
In his speech Miliband also expressed keen desire to “make sure that someone who has been working for years and years, paying in to the system, gets more help if they lose their job, than someone who has been working for just a couple of years”.
The MP emphasised: “The idea that those in work should be rewarded, instead of getting nothing for something was a key principle of the Beveridge Report in 1942 and is a key institution of the British people.”
Furthermore, Labour believes that higher spending on benefits will not “ensure the security and success of ordinary families” and that the problems must be attacked at the source, namely low pay and an inflated housing benefit bill.
In relation to tackling the source of a problem, Miliband called for a shift in focus from “benefits to bricks”, taking money available as a result of changes to JSA and using it to provide local government with the means to build new homes.
Conservative party chairman Grant Shapps attacked the proposed measures and commented: “This is just a recipe for more spending on welfare, more borrowing – and more taxes to pay for it. That’s exactly how Labour got us into a mess in the first place.”