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Long-term unemployed face having to 'work for the dole'
4:20pm Monday 30th September 2013 in News
The long-term unemployed in Cornwall face having to "work for the dole" from next year by cleaning up litter or cooking meals for the elderly.
Chancellor George Osborne will give details of tough new conditions being attached to handouts - pledging to end the "something for nothing" culture.
Hundreds of thousands of claimants who go through the coalition's flagship Work Programme but still fail to find a job will be required either to do 30 hours a week of community work, report to a job centre daily, or undergo intensive treatment to tackle problems such as illiteracy or mental illness.
Those who break the rules, for example by failing to turn up for duties without a good reason, could lose their benefit for four weeks. A second offence would see them lose out for three months.
Mr Osborne said: "For the first time, all long term unemployed people who are capable of work will be required to do something in return for their benefits to help them find work," he will say.
"They will do useful work to put something back into their community making meals for the elderly, clearing up litter, working for a local charity.
"Others will be made to attend the job centre every working day.
"And for those with underlying problems, like drug addiction and illiteracy, there will be an intensive regime of help. No one will be ignored or left without help. But no one will get something for nothing.
"Help to work - and in return work for the dole. Because a fair welfare system is fair to those who need it and fair to those who pay for it too."
Potentially, around 200,000 long-term Jobseeker's Allowance claimants could be eligible for the new initiative.
But ministers believe that the numbers on it will be significantly lower, as many of those working covertly will decide it is no longer worth trying to claim benefits and drop out.
The scheme, devised by Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith, will cost around £300 million to implement - with the money likely to be found from departmental underspends.
Mr Osborne is not expected to unveil specific action on living standards, despite pressure to respond to Ed Miliband's energy price freeze pledge last week.
Shadow treasury chief secretary Rachel Reeves said: "It's taken three wasted years of rising long-term unemployment and a failed Work Programme to come up with this new scheme.
"But this policy is not as ambitious as Labour's compulsory jobs guarantee, which would ensure there is a paid job for every young person out of work for over 12 months and every adult unemployed for more than 2 years.
"With Labour's plans we would work with employers to ensure there are jobs for young people and the long-term unemployed - which they would have to take up or lose benefits. Under the Tory scheme people would still be allowed to languish on the dole for years on end without having a proper job."
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