Osborne set to make benefit rules tougher

GEORGE Osborne will today announce that the long-term unemployed will have to undertake community work or risk losing their welfare payments.

The chancellor will tell the Conservative conference that from next April “no one will get something for nothing”.

As a result, tens of thousands of jobseekers will forced to undertake 30 hours of service – such as making meals for the elderly or clearing graffiti – every week until they find a job.

“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,” Osborne will tell party members.

Around 200,000 people who have not found jobs under the government’s Work Programme scheme will be affected by the new rules. A third of these will have to undertake community work, while a third will be required to attend their JobCentre on a daily basis – compared to the existing system of fortnightly visits.

The remaining long-term unemployed people – mainly those who have serious issues such as drug abuse – will receive an intensive programme of assistance from specialist job advisers.

The scheme – dubbed Help to Work – will cost around £300m, with details of how it will be funded from savings elsewhere due to be set out in the chancellor’s Autumn Statement.