Youth Fight for Jobs protest against Workfare in Stratford's Westfield shopping centre in London, photo senan

Youth Fight for Jobs protest against Workfare in Stratford’s Westfield shopping centre in London, photo senan   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

Becci Heagney

Governments that try to “guarantee a job to every person are doomed to fail”, according to Tory Chancellor George Osborne.

What an indictment of the capitalist system he represents! News headlines tell us that the government is committed to ‘full employment’.

But Osborne’s speech showed that the Con-Dems remain committed to waging war on the unemployed, the young and the rest of the 99%.

Osborne has promised ‘full employment’ for Britain, but not by creating real jobs. Creating jobs in the public sector isn’t a solution for the greedy bosses who boost their profits through privatisation, zero-hour contracts and low wages.

The 900,000 young people who have been thrown on the unemployment scrapheap might want to work in a useful job such as in the NHS but most can only hope for McJobs.

Youth Fight for Jobs, photo Paul Mattsson

Youth Fight for Jobs, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

The Con-Dems’ misnamed ‘Help to Work’ scheme will force the unemployed in to more workfare type jobs – working full-time for your dole money.

But this time it will mean daily visits to the job centre as well! If you become unemployed, you will have to look for work for a week before you can even claim Jobseeker’s Allowance.

Those struggling on meagre benefits will be expected to struggle more as there will only be a 1% increase this year – in effect a cut.

It’s clear that austerity is failing. This latest government scheme is aimed at people who have already been on the Work Programme for two years and still have not found a job.

Osborne is still claiming that this is because of a “benefit culture”. This applies only to the private companies given contracts to run workfare schemes – they benefit even if they don’t find people jobs!

Atos, the French company that carries out the ‘work capability assessments’ (a contract worth £500 million) has announced it will terminate the contract early in August.

Undoubtedly, the protests held by disabled activists and others across the country have had an impact. Thousands of placards on demonstrations have starkly declared: “Atos kills”.

Between January and November in 2011, 10,600 people died within six weeks of being found “fit for work” by Atos.

Many people will be happy to see Atos go. However, the work capability assessments should be scrapped completely, not just handed to another company.

Anyone unable to work due to sickness or disability should have a right to an income they can live on without the stress and humiliation of these tests.

Labour promises that in government it would make even deeper benefit cuts. Only Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition candidates stand for investment into creating socially useful jobs with proper contracts, guaranteed hours and a £10 an hour minimum wage.