David Cameron and IDS have been promoting the Work Programme this afternoon and they
reiterated that jobseekers must learn English to claim benefits if their language difficulties are hampering their job applications. It’s another indication of the
government’s radical approach to welfare reform.
Aside from that, the main event in Westminster today was Ed Miliband’s speech to the TUC.
Miliband was widely heckled by the Brothers, especially when he told them:
“Let me just tell you about my experience of academies as I’ve got two academies in my own constituency. They have made a big difference to educational standards in my
constituency and that is my local experience of that.”
The Tories are saying that this is a significant moment in the education debate, because one of those schools in Doncaster is a ‘sponsored’ (Labour) academy and the other is a
‘converted’ (coalition) academy. This suggests that Labour is behind academies even if Michael Gove is their architect, which has not been shadow education secretary Andy
Burnham’s position up to now. Miliband may simply have slipped under pressure; but either way his audience, peopled by acolytes of the jealous teaching unions, was disgruntled and that
was the aim of his game this morning.
It was more significant when he said, “We are not going to be able to spend our way to a new economy.”
It remains to be seen what his plan entails.