For those on the receiving end of the services of such companies as A4e, the prospects for 2012 look bleak. We already have Workfare, and no one is bothering to call it anything else. One council, Westminster, is going ahead with docking benefits from those deemed guilty of anti-social behaviour. Read the story in the Telegraph.
The most disturbing bit of this story: "Westminster is also considering docking the council tax benefits of people who are not making an effort to get a job. Cllr Roe said that for every Westminster resident on council tax benefits, there were 'seven vacancies in low-skilled jobs like shelf-stacking, waitressing and window cleaning. That implies at least some of those people were not working as hard as they could be to get jobs.' If agreed after a consultation, the proposals would come into force in just over a year and would affect all claimants except for pensioners." The implications of that are dreadful. It's a short step from that to what most Tories would really like - time-limited benefits. I'm not sure they would dare to bring it in this side of a general election, but it's on the cards. Another strong possibility is the privatisation of Jobcentre Plus.
Try to have a happy New Year!