The coalition is mean-spirited

The Tory-led coalition’s bid to penalise the long-term unemployed shows them to be mean-spirited, vindictive and economically incompetent.

Welfare secretary Iain Duncan Smith wants a US-style system in which the jobless must work for their benefits. But where will the jobs come from?

Bogus jobs to disguise the full scale of the government’s employment disaster.

There are 129,400 adults over the age of 25 who have been out of work for 24 months or more – a rise of 88 per cent since last year and 146 per cent in the last two years. 

The government’s so-called ‘welfare revolution’ has collapsed into failure. Its Work Programme has now failed a million people, and eight out of ten people who go through it do not get steady jobs at the end of it

Compare that chaos with Labour’s plan to introduce a compulsory Jobs Guarantee for long-term unemployed.

The next Labour government will ensure there is a job for every adult who is long-term unemployed and people out of work will be obliged to take up those jobs or face losing benefits. 

Initially the guarantee would be for adults who are out of work for 24 months or more, but we would seek to reduce this to 18 or 12 months over time. 

The £1bn costs can be funded by reversing the current government’s decision to stop tax relief on pension contributions for people earning over £150,000 being limited to 20 per cent.

Above all, Labour’s plan is based on fairness, offering support and decent wages for the long-term unemployed not making them do unproductive work for their benefits.