Saturday, October 02, 2010

IDS' welfare reforms - good, but will need WSS in order to work.

"Iain Duncan Smith and George Osborne reach historic agreement to deliver a ten year programme of welfare reform", tweets @TimMontgomerie. 

Read Tim's nice clear description of the reforms here.

OK. Good. Good for IDS. Not good if it means that some poor people get even less, without any chance of getting more, but the 21st Century Welfare document says that is not going to happen. Let's hope they're right.

But credit where it's due, IDS has got two good ideas: the Unified Credit, and trying to make it so you always get more money by going to work. Two very good ideas, all credit to IDS for getting that far.

There's just one thing.

It is pointless to train and motivate claimants to seek work, and to  facilitate their passage into said employment if there is no bleeding work out there for  them to take up.
I hope I have expressed that sufficiently clearly, because it is vital to my argument.
Please use the Comment slot below if you have any difficulty in understanding the above line, because it is vital to the development of my argument. By pointless, I do not mean blunt. 
I mean futile. Fruitless. Ineffectual. In vain. Doomed. 
I mean, like, der.
This is the weakness of Ian's otherwise excellent scheme. The trouble is, that his friend and ours, George Osborne, is about to throw hundreds of thousands of people out of work, as a mass human sacrifice to the Gods of the Market. George is in all probability going to exacerbate the next recession. 

This means that far from reducing the enormous Social Security outlay, George is going to balloon the SS budget like a minor starlet's lips after visiting an inebriated plastic surgeon who got muddled up between 10 ml of collagen and 100 ml of collagen.

SS spending is going to go up, not down, thanks to George's policies of cutting spending. 
Yes, bit daft.

For IDS' plan to work it needs, well, work.

I have a cunning plan that supplies the vital third ingredient that could make this work thing work. In my submission to the consultation, I called it the WSS - Work Stimulus Scheme.

Essentially it takes Ian's idea a step further, and allows people to keep all their benefit when they go into work in the green sector of the economy.  All of it. Without a time limit*.

This enables enterprises in the green sector of the economy to increase productivity while providing work. The benefit is transformed from being a dead dole to a living stimulus to the green economy. 

Read an intro to it about it here.

Confirmation from a DWP report:
– Subsidised (‘transitional’) job schemes that pay a wage can be more effective in raising employment levels than ‘work for benefit’ programmes. (.pdf)
*So it works like a Citizen's Income. Except it's not a full 100% perfect Citizen's income. Which is why the Hand Brake Tendency threw it out when I proposed it at  Conference. It's like refusing to get on a bus because it is not yet at the place you want to be.


weggis said...

As we both know, Doc, there is plenty of work out there that needs doing.
There's just no bugger willing to pay for it to be done or no bugger willing to actually do it!
It's just not sexy enough.


Hello Doc

There is available work in the UK but as beardy weggy states it's only viewed as being 'do-able' by our Eastern European friends - thank goodness for them.


Dear Doc

You do seem to blog as if you’re living in some unique dystopian ghetto somewhere. German, Spanish, French and American companies are retrenching back into their respective motherlands.

Unfortunately we don’t do that being British but prefer instead to export our manufacturing to the new powerhouses of Vietnam, China, India and Brazil.

In Berkshire Boehringer Ingleheim has moved manufacturing back to Germany; in Hampshire Linde Materials Handling has moved manufacturing back to Germany, both a result of global recession.

Could the Green Party have prevented this? I think not.

DocRichard said...


You have a point.

Hi Gideon

I re-read and this post seems pretty low on dystopian angst. Maybe you have other posts in mind?

Do we have manufacturing companies that can retreat back here? Or have we given up manufacturing altogether?

I see a niche for high quality, long life, repairable goods. But the CBI doesnt think like that, sadly.

We have a big trade balance deficit that needs redressing.

Back to the main point: there is a way of turning welfare benefits into green work subsidy. It involves taking IDS' reforms just a step further.

Anyway, I dont feel dystopian today. We got our Glastonbury tickets. *smug grin*


It's always a pleasure never a chore to talk with you sir.

I accept your comment re comment against substance on this posting.

Subject aside - repect on the ticket front - enjoy.

GE said...

"You do seem to blog as if you’re living in some unique dystopian ghetto somewhere"

Funny you should say that, Gideon. Whenever I read this blog I'm always sat there thinking "what is this unique utopian ghetto that Richard's living in?"

DocRichard said...

Hi Gideon

I'll tell you where the utopia is. In our heads, in our rational imagination, that is, in mental imagery (an important and highly powerful function of our mind), driven by rationality, whose importance needs no introduction.

It comes from my medicine too. In surgery I am presented every ten minutes with a tangle of experiences, which it is my pleasant duty to unravel and sort out, and to come up with a plan to make things better.

The world is very sick indeed. I know that. But it really does not have to be like this. We know what the problems are, and it is perfectly clear that there is a lot of work to be done. It makes absolutely no sense to have people suffering the insult of unemployment when there is so much work to be done.

Monetary reformers have a saying "If it is physically possible, it must be financially possible". For monetary reformers, money is there to be our servant. We are not made to be money's servant.

Also, I choose to be optimistic, because the alternative leads to pessimism, despair, and inactivity, and so is (a) unpleasant and (b) a self fulfilling prophecy.

I always say green activism is like a parachute on a hang-glider. It may or may not save your life, but it sure gives you something to do on your way down.

Thanks for raising the point.

PS also, I am an inventor, and inventors are always looking for better ways of doing things. The one thing I am not is a clique/committee animal, which is probably why this idea, sadly, is not Green Party policy.

DocRichard said...

By coincidence, after writing the above comment, I found this.

It is about entrepreneurs, but equally could apply to green activists.

Anonymous said...

I see the closet fascists raising their heads again, it appears the Greens hate the working class more than they hate CO2

Perhaps they'd like to sweat all week for basically bugger all money? The only reason East Europeans do it is because of the wonderful free market so beloved of the Greens. Isn't it? Oh sorry.

GE said...

So anonymous, you're raising your confused head again?

I can almost see what you're trying to say if you're referring to this comment by Gideon, which looks pretty unpleasant to me:

"There is available work in the UK but ... it's only viewed as being 'do-able' by our Eastern European friends - thank goodness for them."

But you lose me in your dripping irony over Greens and the free market.

Of course people impoverished by globalisation are desperate to get here to the wealthy UK. Of course the bosses also want to get as many cheap workers from abroad as they can so they can force down wages and conditions for working class people in the UK.

But where do Greens support this globalisation and exploitation?

Unless you're talking about the Left, who over the last 20 or 30 years have constantly supported the bosses bringing in cheap labour?

Please explain what you mean.

DocRichard said...

Thanks GE.
Anonymous has lost the argument by calling out "fascism". (Godwin's Law)

This is not a call for people to work all week for no money. It is to enable people to gain more money, and at the same time to contribute to the improvement of society and environment, to gain self-esteem, to gain time structure and purpose.

Greens are emphatically against the free market. We want a guided market, guided by a Government into representing the interests of the people.

DocRichard said...
This comment has been removed by the author.