I've just been listening to an interesting piece on Newsnight. James Purnell, who played his part in the Labour government's outsourcing of welfare-to-work, spoke about how Labour voters no longer back the welfare state. He talked to the pollster Peter Kellner, who said that people think it should be a contributory system, benefits in return for contributions, but they now see it not working that way. John Cruddas, another Labour MP, said that the old covenant had broken down. Purnell put forward his view that there should be a guarantee of a government-provided, minimum wage job for everyone out of work for a year, along with an obligation to take it. You would get a higher pension if you'd paid in all your life. In the studio he faced a Tory MP who talked nonsense, and a woman from a think tank who raised some questions. Essentially, Purnell said we should scrap the current system and go back to the drawing board, cutting out most of the minor benefits. The welfare state should be there to protect people. I would have liked to raised some questions about the role of the private sector.
Wednesday, 27 July 2011
Lying with statistics, and reforming welfare
SICK BENEFITS: 75% ARE FAKING. Yes, that's the good old Express's headline. Call it vicious and disgusting and the owner, porn king Richard Desmond, would no doubt take it as a compliment. For the government's view of the figures, see the DWP website. Their figures show 39% of claimants were found "fit for work" and another 36% stopped claiming. For a very different take on this, see Left Foot Forward . Now, this is a complex subject with a long history, an it's not really relevant to this blog. What IS relevant is that a lot of people are now going to be forced onto the Work Programme, into the hands of providers who proved useless in getting such people into work on the Pathways programme.