IDS: Work or lose benefits

Stephen Dinneen
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WORK and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith is set to announce plans to force the long-term unemployed to sign up for compulsory community work or lose their benefits.

Private sector firms are among those who could benefit from the scheme, as well as charities and local councils. The work will be mostly comprised of manual labour such as picking up litter and will be in four-week blocks of 30 hours.

Duncan Smith says the scheme will help to end the “culture of dependency” amongst long-term unemployed and reduce the overall welfare bill. However, he is yet to announce how much the scheme could cost the government in administration fees.

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams slammed the plans. He said: “People who are struggling to find work and struggling to find a secure future are, I think, driven further into a sort of downward spiral of uncertainty, even despair, when the pressure is on in this way.

“People are often in this starting place not because they are wicked or stupid or lazy but because circumstances have been against them. To drive that spiral deeper does seem a great problem.”