Ed Balls calls for new ‘right to work’ with jobs plan to boost economy

Ed Balls will today put jobs at the centre of his Labour leadership campaign as he sets out a radical plan to ensure everyone of working age has the right to a job and the responsibility and requirement to take it.

Ed is calling for a new guarantee to ensure that anyone unemployed for more than 18 months is given a job or work placement – an extension of Labour’s successful Future Jobs Fund and Young Persons Guarantee.

This will mean creating 200,000 jobs and work placements for people out of work for over 18 months. The plan will cost an additional £250m and would be paid for using some of the £12billion lower deficit than forecast in 2009/10 – partly thanks to lower unemployment because of Labour’s actions.

Ed Balls said:

“In America politicians and policy-makers are worried about the weaknesses in the US economy and concerned what US unemployment figures out later today will show.

“President Obama, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke are all asking themselves, ‘what more can we do to support jobs and growth to get the economy moving’? But here in Britain, David Cameron, George Osborne and Mervyn King are withdrawing support and asking instead ‘what can we cut?’

“Labour must be the consensus-changers and challenge the misguided view that cutting spending to reduce the deficit is the right priority this year or that we can somehow cut our way to recovery.

“We need to do more to boost jobs, promote growth and get the economy moving again. That’s why this week I have called for 100,000 more affordable homes to be built to tackle the housing shortage and create hundreds of thousands of private sector jobs. And it’s why I am saying we should do more to boost jobs in our economy.

“Building on the jobs guarantee for all those unemployed for more than two years that Yvette Cooper developed for Labour’s manifesto and the youth jobs guarantee the Tories are abolishing, I am calling for real jobs for people after 18 months unemployment.

“I believe nobody should be left on the dole for years at a time. We saw what damage it did in the 1980s and 1990s. It costs us all more in the long-term. Everyone who can work has a responsibility to do so. I support stronger responsibilities to take a reasonable job offer, but this is meaningless if there’s no work for people to go to.

“That’s why I’m saying we should create 200,000 jobs and work placements for people out of work for over 18 months, through the Future Jobs Fund, paid internships and work placements in the voluntary and private sector. This will mean a right to a job for those unemployed for over 18 months and the responsibility and requirement to take it. Over time the right to work should be extended from 18 months to 12 months unemployment.

“The Labour government had already found £150m to provide 75,000 opportunities for the long-term unemployed, but I think we should add £250m more as a result of the deficit being lower. This will save us more in long run.

“This policy goes to the heart of the alternative I am setting out on the economy. The best way to secure economic recovery and get the deficit down over time is to make sure more people are in work and paying taxes.

“Our action during the recession meant unemployment started to come down rather than rise, which is why the deficit was lower than forecast last year. But the Tories are putting all that at risk by abolishing the youth jobs fund and cutting spending which will see hundreds of thousands of jobs lost. That is the wrong choice.

“The right to a job and affordable housing should be the foundations of a strong and stable society and that’s why I’ve put them at the heart of my leadership campaign this week.”

Labour’s policies before the election gave people help and support to find work, including support from a contractor after twelve months as part of the Flexible New Deal. The contractor will work with the individual to make them more employable and better motivated, but they do not offer employment.

Young people were guaranteed work or training that they were required to take up if they’ve been out of work for more than 6 months, but there was no guaranteed work for older jobseekers. The Tory-Lib Dem government has cut the Future Jobs Fund, pledged to abolish the youth guarantee and promised a work programme which has no guarantees of work.

The experience of the Future Jobs Fund has shown that, if you are unemployed, what you need is a job more than an employment programme. A job restores self-confidence, it means employment on the CV and a reference from an employer. It is well known that it is easier to get a new job if you are currently employed.

Over time and as the stock of long-term unemployed people falls, the right to work would fall from 18 months to 12 months. In a growing economy nobody should be unemployed for more than 12 months.

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Posted September 2nd, 2010 by Ed's team

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3 Responses to “Ed Balls calls for new ‘right to work’ with jobs plan to boost economy”

  1. pmt008 says:

    So your plans are to create more jobs with more money. And where is this money coming from? Who is going to lose out because they don’t have the money available for what they need because of this plan? And who are these people going to work for? 10 new SpAds per Labour MP? This idea, whilst sounding grand at a cursory glance, makes no financial sense at all, especially in the current climate where the country is heavily in debt.
    Maybe, if Labour had invested less in getting everyone into university and more in enabling people to be able to work, either straight from school or from university, and been a bit better with the finances elsewhere, thus giving more money for setting up jobs then we wouldn’t have been in this situation!

  2. Mary nash says:

    Ed Balls is a genuis. We listened with glee and hope when he transmitted economic pearls of wisdom over on Radio 4’s Today program this morning. Even Sarah Montague must have been enlightened by Ed’s alternative solution of growing the economy, creating jobs etc etc instead of Osbourne’s impending cruel and savage cuts to be forced on us by this Con-Dem Coalition. He was smart to inform the listeners that even after paying off the deficits left by the Conservative Party in 1997, the UK had the lowest debt ( lower than USA, Japan, Germany, France) before the 2008 Global Financial Crisis which brought about the structural deficit. We hope after the Labour leader is selected on the 25th, all the candidates will urgently unite and form a formidable opposition. We need a Labour Govt ASAP to save our cherished institutions.

  3. I have dedicated this Friday evening to preparing a response to your ‘Future Jobs Fund’ idea and to write about the types of activities, which this week I have been introduced to, via an induction lead by one of the government contractors such as the ones you mentioned, that are charged with the responsibility of ‘better motivating and making me more employable’. I have been unemployed for eighteen months now, so my self-confidence is at rock bottom.

    We had a session this week that lasted from 10am to 4pm with an hour for lunch and two fifteen minute comfort breaks. The practical work took about five hours. I have detailed in my blog how the session went: http://golookgoread.posterous.com/ “Giss a Job” – or – “Giss a Hidden Job” it is my personal reflection on the day’s events and activities. My hopes and self-confidence remain at rock bottom.

    I don’t just need stationary, paper, travel expenses, and stamps. I need a ‘contractor’ that has access to real jobs, real employers, and job offers that pay a reasonable and realistic living wage – for my family, this means £20,000 a year as a minimum. I do not want a job that entitles me to working tax credit or to council tax allowance, I want a job that will pay for all my family’s basic needs.

    A government contractor does not need to calculate that I shall be better off if I come off benefits, enabling them to tick off one of their own contractual boxes – I know that fact already.

    A real job, a reasonable job offer, employment, meaningful responsibility… these qualities to me mean: full-time work, a salary that comes without the need of working tax credit or housing benefits, and a living wage of more than £20,000 a year; it means also means an opportunity to make greater indents towards reaching my full potential, through my desire to work in the IT industry, for example, without being made to feel that I am being unrealistic about my needs or my expectations, when I know that I am not being unrealistic nor unreasonable.

    Although this week we are being told in the news that this year there are 17% less A-Level students taking IT exams at school, the job agencies are advertising jobs within the jobcentre plus systems, with impossible job specifications for any reasonable human being to satisfy – these are being advertised, solely for the purpose of satisfying the new criteria set by the home office, to advertise new IT
    vacancies at jobcentres but at the same time ensuring that hardly a handful of unemployed people are able to apply for those jobs. There is never the offer to enter an entry-level position, or an apprenticeship, or to be supported by the employer with some training geared towards re-training. It is preferable for the employers and the job agencies, to simply look outside the UK.

    With the system geared to filter out most of the unemployed via job specifications that are near impossible to meet – what will a reasonable job offer then become? How can my self-confidence be restored, and how can I even hope for an employer to allow to even place my a foot in the door to an IT job. Furthermore, it seems a lot easier for government, employers, contractors and agencies to coerced the unemployed to accept cheap and short-term jobs, than to coerce employers and agencies offer decent wages and better job security and conditions.

    In principle I agree with your ideas. I think however, that the whole system of matching job vacancies to job seekers, is geared too much towards profits for the job agencies, the service contractors, and that the employers themselves can easily profit from exploiting the unemployed who are coerced by the system, into accepting a job without reasonable prospects of pay, training, or security.

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