Sunday, October 04, 2009

How will David Cameron's welfare reforms play with the middle classes?

Today's Sunday Times lead story begins:

David Cameron is to unveil a plan to get Britain back to work by forcing millions of welfare claimants into training.

The assault on the dependency culture is similar to programmes in America. Private firms that prepare people for employment and place them in jobs would be paid by results.

Most people who have been unemployed for more than six months, including the disabled and single mothers, would be required to join the new privatised schemes or see their payments cut.

I wonder how this will play with middle-class voters? Of course, we can all tolerate any amount of firm treatment of other people, but if we think it may apply to ourselves it becomes a different matter.

When the crisis in the financial system became known to the public, there was a great deal of talk about middle-class people losing their jobs. That talk has died down of late, but the full effects of the crisis have yet to work themselves out and middle-class job insecurity could well reappear.

If it does, David Cameron's ideas on welfare reform may prove a lot less popular with more affluent voters than he imagines they will.


moggy said...

re wellfair reform my thinking is this ,there are some folks who can,t work cos there realy poorly ,this talk just upsets them ,,,,,,why not stop all the lie abouts money who can work but don,t and shop more fidders mmmmmm stop upsetting me

dreamingspire said...

This processing the unemployed through paid-by-results contractors is already operating, although maybe not as forcefully as Cameron wants. Local reports in my area are that payment is made after the client completes a placement, and one such report is that the placement turned out to be a short term casual job (funded by the state, of course, and probably below minimum wage level) plus a little training - no real effort to get the client into a permanent job, and of course the employer was not prepared to create a permanent job without a permanent subsidy. The problem seems to be that there are no permanent jobs that the contractors can conveyor-belt the clients into (did nobody in Nu Lab work that out?). People continue to get jobs through the normal market process of applying and getting through the interview...
Cameron, in the Marr interview this morning, seemed to be determined to deliver the new jobs. Given that the old war with the unions who used to claim that every new job belonged to them is long gone, then what seem to be 'social jobs' (i.e. doing things for the common good instead of doing nothing, and doing it with public or charity money) must be what he is promoting.