Next April will be interesting down at the dole office. From then, the long term unemployed will either have to do community work or go to the Job Centre every day. Now I have been to many a Job Centre, and I wonder what the long term unemployed are going to do. Presumably they are going to stand up shoulder to shoulder and shuffle around a bit. I don't suppose that any staff will be employed as a result of this announcement, so the existing security staff will have to presumably deal with the compacted people shuffling about doing nothing but standing for the working day. There aren't enough computers, if any at all, in Job Centres, but to accommodate the numbers they'll probably have to rip out the seating and remove chairs anyway. As for others signing on (such as on the misnamed Work Programme - no work, no programme), how are they going to negotiate themselves around the crowd of long tem unemployed shuffling about as they stand up in these places shoulder to shoulder?
During the Labour years the unemployed had to work 13 weeks and then only 4 weeks for the dole. But they could never find enough places for them, which is why the Work Programme didn't have to find work for people. A charity shop I visited had 35 people waiting for a 'placement' from the dole, and these people weren't exactly volunteers. Many businesses won't want to handle people only receiving benefits. It's why the 13 weeks were reduced to 4 weeks, and on the basis of cost, when the 'Work Programme' came in, nothing. So what is the stupid idea now?
I curse the day I voted Liberal Democrat, and it won't happen again. I hope the party is effectively destroyed at the next election, and that enough is done to put the Tories out of power. They've given the nod to this stupid piece of victimisation, where the Tories always need enemies to motivate their greed politics. Unemployment is not caused by people who won't get jobs, but by an inadequate amount of economic activity: by capitalism that does not work. Of course people need assistance and help to look for available work, but they need work to look for. There are only so many occasions when someone can be told how to make a CV and how to look up web pages for job lists. But how the hell the thousands of long term unemployed are going to get into Job Centres each day baffles me: it'll be like Japanese underground trains where the staff are going to have to force the people crushed into the places through the entrance doors.
Apparently the newly signing on will also have to attend Job Centres five days a week from 9 am to 5 pm for six months. That's even more people then to bung in, to shuffle along shoulder to shoulder. There might be a better life to be had in prison, where at least there will be more space, as well as paid meals and overnight stays. The unemployed will perhaps learn what crimes lead to prison sentences so that they can avoid the community service punishment that, er, the unemployed will have to do (or shuffle up in the Job Centres).