The changes announced to
the work experience programme today have been designed to reassure the companies involved. Those on the scheme will now only face any benefits sanction if they commit the equivalent of gross
Once some big corporations started getting cold feet about the scheme some tweaks to it
"http://www.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/7665783/ids-defends-his-work-scheme-but-he-may-have-to-change-it.thtml">were inevitable. As Matt d’Ancona
"http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/conservative/9105319/Workfare-provides-a-ladder-of-hope-from-despair-to-dignity.html">wrote on Sunday, corporate Britain has proved remarkably
spineless in the face of attacks from a bunch of hard-line left-wingers.
But the tweaks announced today by Chris Grayling — whose robustness on the issue has impressed Tory high command — maintain the purpose of the scheme. Offering those who are unemployed
structure and a way back into the workforce are crucial in moving them from welfare into work. Without this kind of scheme, more and more job opportunities will go to those coming to work here from
other EU countries.
One other thing worth noting about this issue has been Labour’s positioning on it. Liam Byrne, one of the more thoughtful members of the shadow Cabinet, has avoided knee-jerk criticism or
joining in with the nihilistic attacks on it. Indeed, the suggestions he made today were pretty sensible and were, interestingly, not that far away from
what the government ended up announcing.