THE OBSERVER 20 OCTOBER. It is a lack of jobs, not laziness, that prevents people working
Our friend and colleague Revd Paul Nicolson of Taxpayers Against Poverty writes:
Politicians trying to look tough are ignoring the reality.
"There is no life worth living on benefits".
"Our sons and daughters do almost anything rather than sign on and my guess is that this as much as immigration is what’s driving wages down."
Like many older parents, I see my children and stepchildren having harder lives than mine at their age. Unemployed, overworked and/or in debt, it hurts us all and Labour's threat to be tougher than the Tories risks rubbing salt in the wounds ("Labour will be tougher than the Tories on benefits, pledges party's new welfare chief", News).
Most of my generation had a choice of jobs and felt no great shame on being on benefits between them. Some of us used that time to do what we wanted or thought was needed in the world.
Our sons and daughters do almost anything rather than sign on and my guess is that this, as much as immigration, is what is driving wages down.
I know from experience on and running job-creation schemes that Labour's latest promise and threat must offer useful work with pay at rate for the job, plus a real prospect of progress, not let-down at the end.
Now, as ever, it makes no sense to push people into work for peanuts to make some rich men richer.
Rachel Reeves, the new shadow minister for work and pensions, endorses the myths that flow from the lips of Iain Duncan Smith by claiming that nobody should be under any illusion that they are going to live a life on benefits under Labour. There is no life worth living on benefits: £71.70 a week single adult unemployment benefit is now paying rent and council tax and becomes valueless because annual increases are pegged at 1% while prices of food, utilities, clothes and transport escalate.
Tins of beans collected at a food bank cannot be cooked at home when the gas bill cannot be paid. Unless there is a policy to provide affordable housing, then a higher and higher proportion of the £500-a-week cap on benefits will be needed to pay rising rents in a housing market in short supply, forcing more individuals, parents and children into penury and out of their homes into temporary and overcrowded accommodation.
The Rev Paul Nicolson
Taxpayers Against Poverty
Please sign our petition celebrating Martin Luther KingParliament is asked to debate the speech made by Martin Luther King 50 Years ago in Washington USA on the 28 August 1963 and to note that it can be applied to circumstances in Britain in August 2013. He said “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”
Rev Paul Nicolson
Taxpayers Against Poverty
also at www.z2k.org
also at www.prohousingalliance.com