DAILY MAIL COMMENT: There are jobs galore, so why are 7million out of work?
With more than a million job vacancies in this country, it’s nothing short of a scandal that 7million people of working age are economically inactive – 5.9million of them on universal credit.
The total has risen by 300,000 since the pandemic, and while some may be incapable of holding down a job for reasons of poor health, others should surely be able to find employment. With so many technical aids available for home working, is it really possible that 2.5million people classed as long-term sick or disabled are incapable of doing any paid hours at all?
Benefit payments for the disabled and long-term sick would be protected if they took on work for a trial period.
Meanwhile, those on universal credit risk losing money if they refuse to accept work or fail to turn up for interviews. Also, if they work less than 18 hours a week (up from 12), they will be obliged to seek more.
Getting benefit claimants back into the workforce is good for the country and good for those concerned. It saves public money and reduces the pressure to bring in migrants to fill the 1.1million posts which are vacant.
More importantly, work generally makes people healthier, while earning one’s own money rather than relying on the state should instil pride and confidence.
This is not the first time ministers have tried to tackle benefit dependency. Sir Iain Duncan Smith had great success during the coalition years in transforming the benefit system to make work pay.
But that resolve has slipped since and inertia has set in. We welcome Mr Hunt’s campaign and hope it will galvanise the workless into action. Poor productivity has held Britain back for far too long. This initiative can help turn the tide.
Source of data and images: dailymail