Labour to try to outflank Tories on the right on welfare – Liam Byrne will tell jobless ‘first strike and you’re out – work or lose six month’s benefit’

BY ANDREW GRICE  The Independent

Former Merchant Banker Liam Byrne said "We will work with the coalition on welfare reform" on The Andrew Marr Show in 2011

The unemployed would be guaranteed the offer of a job but could lose their benefits for six months if they turned it down, under a tough new policy on welfare planned by Labour.

Ed Miliband is preparing to fight the next general election on the ambitious goal to create “full employment” even though the lengthening dole queues now stand at 2.7 million.


Labour’s “job guarantee” would be coupled with a “duty to work” – backed up with tougher penalties for the workshy than those introduced by the Coalition.

Jobless people could be offered a stark choice – six months in a job or six months without benefit. Tougher sanctions are bound to be opposed by some Labour MPs, who are reluctant to penalise the unemployed and would see the move as an attempt to outflank the Conservatives from the right.

Next week Mr Miliband will spell out his thinking on how a new model welfare state can be afforded in an age of austerity. He wants Labour’s policy to be “tough but fair” and is ready to risk internal party criticism by attaching more conditions to benefit payments.

Labour’s new offer will be revealed today by Liam Byrne, the shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, who is in charge of the party’s wholesale policy review. He will propose a welfare system based on greater rights to a job and greater responsibilities for the jobless to take one.

In the first of a series of speeches to mark the anniversary of the Beveridge Report, which created the post-war welfare state, he will say: “Seventy years on from Beveridge, jobs and a duty to work must be the starting place for renewing the welfare state for the 21st century.”

He will add: “Labour built a welfare state for working people by getting people back to work. That’s the lesson for today. In 21st century Britain, working people need new things for their social insurance: reskilling; childcare; social care, social housing; help with saving for the long term. But the lesson of history is clear: a better welfare state demands a bigger workforce to pay for it… If we want new services from our social insurance we need to stop wasting talent and taxpayers’ money on the bills of unemployment.”

Speaking in Birmingham, Mr Byrne will reveal new figures showing that youth unemployment will cost £28bn over the next decade. In just 10 local authorities, the cost will total £5bn.

“Unemployment is not a one-off misfortune. It can scar you for life,” he will say. “Areas that get hit, get hit time and time again. The places with high youth unemployment in 1985 were by and large the same areas hit badly in 1992. And they are the same areas hit hard today: Birmingham, Glasgow, Essex, Kent and Lancashire.”

Labour is determined to fight back after being wrongfooted by the Welfare Reform Act passed by Parliament last week, which will bring in a £26,000 annual cap on benefit payments for a family. Labour supported a ceiling in principle but opposed the Coalition’s one.

The Act says that the unemployed can lose their jobseeker’s allowance for three months the first time they turn down an offer of work or training; six months for a second “offence” and three years for a third one.

Although it is not yet official party policy, Labour plans to double the penalty for a first “offence” to six months on the grounds that more opportunities would be available.

The proposal is made in a Smith Institute pamphlet published today by Stephen Timms, the party’s employment spokesman. He says: “We need to instil a culture of work in every community in the country. Our view is that people in receipt of benefits have a responsibility to work hard to find a job, and to take the opportunity of work when it is offered.”

The previous government brought in a “job guarantee” for the young unemployed but its “future jobs fund” fell victim to the Coalition’s cuts. Labour’s proposed guarantee could be phased in, starting with the young and long-term unemployed. Labour is convinced that its state-subsidised posts made the jobless more employable by keeping them in the routine of going to work. Many of those given temporary six-month posts landed permanent jobs with the same company because they were known to it.

14 thoughts on “Labour to try to outflank Tories on the right on welfare – Liam Byrne will tell jobless ‘first strike and you’re out – work or lose six month’s benefit’

  1. L S McKnight says:

    Was it only yesterday there were callls for ideas on how Labour could chancge the debate around ‘welfare’ and today they’re back putting out policy ideas that have blamed the unemployed for being out of work.

    1. simmo says:

      The writing is on the wall but we the electorate are undecided whether we are sheep or ostriches or have been cajoled into believing we still live in a DEMOCRACY .The obvious façade of democracy started to be eroded when Thatcher smashed the UNIONS importing an American named McGregor . Thatcher spent £12 billion pounds ,£36,240,000,000.00 in today’s money to achieve her goal .Blair continued ,with his brazen disregard for cabinet meeting’s and held armchair discussions between him and his chosen advisers .Where were our representative MP’s to argue against this practice .Now we have Cameron and his fascist henchmen such as Schmidt and Grables ,Osborne and May who between them have decimated the welfare system ,made the rich ,richer and have shown scant regard for justice .The rule of Law should be executed on a level ‘playing field’ and not bits of EU law and British Law used in similar circumstances when it suits the Governments purpose. DEMOCRACY has been eroded ,things have gone too far ,there is only one vote open to us all – A NO VOTE ,let’s not support their BIG LIE .Would you buy something you didn’t want – why vote for something you know nothing about .Truth is not in a Politicians vocabulary .

  2. Dale Latimer says:

    So it doesn’t matter whoi gets voted in (or not), basically the unemployed are f*cked. Is byrne going to draw up plans for incinerators to deal with all the old people and disabled they want to kill too? And where are all these new ‘jobs’ going to come from?

  3. Kick the Tories Out says:

    Labour are just as bad, nay even worse than the Tories. Don’t expect any positive change with Millipede at the wheel.

  4. MiKi67 says:

    I keep saying about this embryonic Nazi country we live in that we have a wholly corrupt Parliament. This kinda says it all….there is ZERO opposition to this ConDem shower of shit with its new British Hitler , I.D.Smith,overseen by The Claggeron.
    The Labour Party is ineffectual,completely embarassing,and totally in collusion with their soulmates,The ConDems.
    I feel we need an armed resistance. I see no other option.

    1. RealisticNick says:

      Unfortunately, I have come to the same conclusion as Miki67… it is now an ‘inevitability’ that their is going to be.. in the very near future, a ‘Revolution’! I sincerely hoped that it would be a ‘peaceful & intellectual’ revolution but I’m afraid that this is not the language that the corrupted establishment nor the political class understand, what they understand and the language they speak is one of ‘Power’, ‘Force’ and ‘Corruption’. What I think they have planned is a systematic breaking down of society, knowing full well this will inevitably lead to people in the streets!… once they have achieved this, a few well chosen undercover police psychopaths to start the riots, and away we go!…. this all leading and culminating in what the government have wanted all along, which is… an excuse to bring in a police state by first declaring a state of emergency, due to the riots, leading to marshal law, curfews and a suspension of democracy in this country, under the guise of the government “Helping” keep the peace? and stop the “home grown terrorists” This is a well tried and tested false flag formula, called ‘Problem’, ‘Reaction’, ‘Solution’. Put this phrase in your search engine or Wikipedia and learn all about it?. But I think the sheep may have left it too late?. The actual endgame has for the last 40 years been an incremental, step by step, creep towards a totalitarian state, a dictatorship, which in itself is just an incremental step toward the final goal?…. the well documented, one world government, with a one world digitally implanted RFID Chip currency, that George W Bush Senior referred to as “A New World Order” in his speech, a phrase that multiple Presidents, Prime Ministers, Henry Kissinger and other numerous to mention elite scum have been talking about for decades?…… but nobody took any notice of it?, the mainstream media and presstitutes were bought & paid for and told to keep quite about it!.
      Well Miki67 has got it right, he’s hit the nail on the head, anyone who doesn’t believe it?…. do your own research!… if there’s enough time left that is? The rest of us, if you haven’t already,… prepare for the worst, but hope for the best and fight the bastards to your last breath!….. good luck to all of us!, were gonna need it!.

  5. They Want You Dead says:

    To put it simply: Once you are no longer productive – they want you dead! They are many strategies to achieve this such as tipping you over the edge into suicide or depriving you of the essential resources necessary for basic survival. And if despite of their best efforts to snuff you out you are still clinging to dear life – they will “euthanatise” you! Simply put: They want you DEAD!

  6. james says:

    Kick the Tories Out
    Labour are just as bad, nay even worse than the Tories. Don’t expect any positive change with Millipede at the wheel.

    They Have been Pseudo Tory prior to getting in power post 1997 remember they devised and implemented New Deal for Disabled
    I am absolutely more disgusted with them than the Tories because you fully expect this pure evil and nastiness from the Tories

  7. IFIMay says:

    The Labour party died when John Smith passed away, now they are allmuch of a muchness, and still no bankers or ratings agency executives in jail or even on trial for the biggest scam ever…. oh not say its got anything to do with them all be in parliament, but Mr Byrne and Mr Huhne may have some questions to answer, and this Lord Freud,,,,we trust a man who sold dodgy share advice , then hyped up Eurotunnel and Eurodisney to Joe public, and now he’s an expert on Welfare!!!!!.

    This is 1780’s Versailles, hope it ends that way…. No jobs, oh let them clean MP’s toilets for free…

  8. DAVID A SHAW says:

    The unemployed are NOT criminals. There is NO DEFICIT. There is NO NEED for AUSTERITY. Why are Labour falling for the neo liberal lies. The deficit is the money the banks owe us the people of the nation that Cameron has let the bastards off repaying If this is Labours line on the matter, they are in for a very rough ride indeed.

  9. Cely1956 says:

    And if that job is totally inappropriate and doesn’t take account of physical or mental disability are they still going to penalise you?

  10. Paul.H says:

    We all know about the ATOS Denial Factories now thanks to BT and its work add this to what Ed intends with his new ideas about having to get work or lose benefits I would like to know if this means people over sixty with genuine chronic illness and disease being sent to their Deaths you do this Ed and your as bad as the rest of the profit mongrels out their .

  11. Nigel says:

    For a healthy yield of Mushrooms they are fed BS and kept in the Dark.The Media states this morning 85% of Britons are against the increase in MP’s salary .Everyone I ‘ve spoken to were not asked so was the sample count taken from a village meaning 85 people out of 100 voiced their opinion .This saga similar to the ‘Horsemeat scandal’ seems to be dragging on so what is actually going on behind the scenes .Labour have put 14 Constituencies under Special Measures ‘ meaning the central office are in control this is because Unite, Britain’s most powerful union, has exerted influence in Ilford North by offering to cover the cost of local Labour party membership for the first year for union members.
    Are the Police not accountable, MPs accuse the Serious Organised Crime Agency of failing to act concerning more Hacking .Do we need 650 Leeches when the EU is charge through Maastricht Treaty .

  12. Nigel says:

    The True Unemployment Figure is Far higher than successive Governments state .Under Thatcher it was 3 million – we have lost the Coal Mines ,Fishing Industry ,Steel Works ,Ship Building ,Dockers ,reduced the workforce of all the Services and the Population has grown,more imigrants ,school leavers and retirement age increased – workfare and ESA claimants aren’t counted ,more small businesses have gone to the wall in the last 3 years – why have successive Governments been obsessed with the Unemployment figures ,is it to do with our borrowing capability or our how competent a Government looks to the outside World .Well it looks like Britain has been living a lie and failing for the last 30 years .Successive Governments Competence has hit rock bottom .A Total Failure they are just Robbing a Sinking Ship while they can

Leave a Reply