“Today it is still possible to leave school, sign on, find a flat, start claiming housing benefit and opt for a life on benefits. It’s time for bold action here.”David CameronPrime Minister
David Cameron, the Prime Minister of the UK’s Government, discusses withdrawing major benefits for the unemployed under-25 population including jobseekers’ allowance and housing benefits during the week-long party’s meeting held at Manchester on the 2nd October, 2013.
The government is still figuring out ways to get the unemployed youngsters to stand on their own two feet. They have suggested that the unemployed must undertake a work placement if they wish to continue receiving the benefits. It is reported that Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood is reviewing the policy and the suggestion of changes shall be available at the end of 2013.
Currently, there are 1.09 million under-25s who are not working, receiving education or training. Should the government really be cutting the benefits when it may well push the underprivileged into a much deeper ordeal? Unemployment benefits were set up in an attempt to provide basic financial support for people at their hard times. Nevertheless, it seems to be distorted as reliable figures show that just over half of the benefit-receivers are actively looking for work opportunities and this implies that there are many youngsters who are living on the dole and not trying to make their own living.
Conservatives are deliberately considering the withdrawal of benefits in their manifesto for the 2015 election. The Jobseekers’ Allowance varies according to different circumstances at a minimum amount of 56.80 pounds a week. In order to quality for the allowance, the applicant must be at least 18-year-old and able and available to work. It is a low filter and successful application rate is high.
Although the Conservative government has not announced how the policy for unemployed youth will differ from the present one, it is expected that the government will introduce a tighter screening process when considering giving out benefits such as promoting compulsory work placement programme or proof of strong intentions of job-seeking.
Instead we should give young people a clear, positive choice: Go to school. Go to college. Do an apprenticeship. Get a job. “But just choose the dole? We’ve got to offer them something better than that.”
The situation is multi-folded. The government thinks that the youth are living on the dole intentionally while some of today’s unemployed youngsters rebut that there is a lack of opportunities and training contracts for them as companies are less willing to provide opportunities to them due to the economic crisis happening in Europe. Cameron promises that the government will strive to create a land of opportunities and chances for them. Yet, even if the youngsters opt for education instead of working at an early age, they will have to carry a debt of at least 27,000 pounds as the university tuition fee has risen to 9,000 pounds a year. Companies are relatively reluctant to recruit people without a strong and consolidated educational background compared to university graduates.
It is fairly reasonable that the government would try to eliminate the do-not-want-to-work laziness among youngsters. Still, is cutting the benefits and pushing them harder to the job market a solution to the problem? It is crucial that the government, in the meantime, ensures that there are enough opportunities and chances for the youngsters to search, or else the withdrawal of benefits will just lead the unemployed under-25s to deeper poverty and a worse standard of living.