“Both he (Iain Duncan Smith) and I believe sanctions are vital to give back-to-work programmes their bite”
~ Liam Byrne, Labour Shadow Minister for Work and Pensions, House of Commons, 11 March 2013.
Mr Liam Byrne (Birmingham, Hodge Hill) (Lab):
“May I start by thanking the Secretary of State for briefing me and my right hon. Friend the Member for East Ham (Stephen Timms) on his plans for urgent legislation, about which his Department has commented in The Daily Telegraph this morning?
“Both he and I believe that sanctions are vital to give back-to-work programmes their bite. However, when he signed off the 2011 regulations that created sanctions for the Work programme, why did he not check that they were legally bullet proof?”
We, the undersigned, refuse to support and will actively oppose the Labour Party anti-bedroom tax campaign unless and until any reference to compulsory work is removed from all campaign documents.
NO FORCED LABOUR UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES AND NO SANCTIONS FOR ANY REASON.
PLEASE ADD YOU NAME HERE
(THIS IS AN OPEN DOCUMENT BACKED-UP EVERY TEN SECONDS)
No Labour Party for Workfare:
By Sunny Hundal 1:43 pm – March 18th 2013
If Phil Woolas was Labour’s unprincipled hard-man on immigration, Liam Byrne is their equivalent on welfare.
According to the Guardian, the shadow welfare secretary is planning to tacitly support Iain Duncan Smith on his workfare reforms this Tuesday.
It’s worth emphasising why this is such a ludicrous proposition. The DWP plans to rush through a change the law so it doesn’t have to accept culpability for the way it treated job-seekers (i.e. like shit).
The DWP deliberately didn’t make the rules for these job-seekers clear, so many of them ended up working for free and not knowing their rights. The DWP thought they would get away with it, but now they have been caught – Iain Duncan Smith is trying to cover his arse.
This is a programme that does not work, and is less successful than if these job-seekers were not asked to do anything at all.
This is a programme whose sole purpose is to massage down unemployment figures; simply to subsidises private companies with free labour who would otherwise have to pay those people a full time wage.
We are living in a state where the government thinks these youths are so worthless that it will happily defy the judiciary to retroactively change the law.
The judiciary is meant to be a check on state power and to enforce the rule of law, and anyone who gives even a shred for the rule of law or constitutional matters should worry about IDS’ willingness to treat it as irrelevant. He is nothing less than a megalomaniac.
It is more galling that Liam Byrne is endorsing this (by either voting for it, or abstaining – it’s not clear) At least Labour’s Future Jobs Fund was more targeted, much more successful in placing people in paying jobs, and did not subsidise the private sector.
Byrne is endorsing a travesty of a programme that goes against everything the Labour party stands for. He is endorsing IDS’s “strivers vs scroungers” rhetoric.
Furthermore, there is a good chance that this act of retroactively changing the law could also be challenged and struck down in court.
It basically says our youth aren’t even worth protecting from abuse when a Conservative govenment breaks the law to exploit them. How can this possibly fit in with Ed Miliband’s ‘One Nation’ agenda?
Why legitimise a programme that does not work and only exists for exploitation?
A few weeks ago Labour youth groups said they would not support or canvas for Labour MPs who did not support same sex marriage.
I would hope, for the future of our youth, they could consider doing the same with Liam Byrne.