The full text of his speech is here if you want to read the whole thing:
Once you dig through all of the usual propaganda and “It’s all the Tories fault” and nothing to do with
the decade plus under the last Labour government you get to the key part.
Some highlights of the promises labour will do as the next government:
Introduce a compulsory job for the long-term unemployed and every young person under the age of 25
out of work for more than a year – paid for by repeating the successful tax on bank bonuses and
restricting pensions tax relief for the very highest earners – a job they would have to take up or lose
Introduce a new ‘gold standard’ vocational qualification and, as Rachel Reeves set out this week, require
compulsory basic skills tests for anyone claiming Jobseekers Allowance.
Legislate for more competition and tougher regulation in energy and banking to make sure these
markets serve the public interest.
Set up a British Investment Bank to support small business, as we cut and then freeze their business rates.
Back a new 2030 low carbon target to stimulate long-term investment in renewable, nuclear and clean gas
And commit to building 200,000 new homes a year by 2020, with reforms to our planning system and a
new long-term Infrastructure Commission.
People complain my articles are too long so I will just look at two of these points starting with the first.
Compulsory job for the long-term unemployed.
My first thought here was just how much this would cost. If this is a living wage of £13K and "Only" applies
to the 16-24 year olds this will cost£11,700,000,000. That's £11 billion a year just for the youngsters.
Applied against our current number of unemployedthat is £31,200,000,000
The current cost of JSA is just under £5 billion
However as a friend of mine pointed out there is no mention that these will be full time jobs, these
could be four hours a week working as a runner at an Amazon.co.uk depot.
I suspect that these will be 16 hours a week in order to remove people from Job seekers and minimum
wage as well so that would just be £6.31 an hour for all the over 25 long term unemployed.
That is just 1.45 million people at £5,250 a year costing a mere £7.6 Billion a year. Of course the case
could be made that this is only a little more than Job seekers and people trying to live on this are going
to be as hard pressed as people on £73 a week JSA. The 900,000 unemployed under 25 would cost only
a few billion more.
Plus income levels this low will still require a number of benefits such as housing support so all that this
will do is cost the government of the day more money.
What will these jobs be? When I heard this promised by the Tories I wondered how many people would
be losing proper jobs to be replaced by government paid slaves. Where exactly is Labour going to produce
two and a half million jobs from? What will they be doing?
Here is another thought, at present the number of people listed as unemployed but seeking work and
receiving JSA is two and a half million. There are another 10 million listed as economically inactive, how many
of them are going to realise these are non jobs where you are paid to turn up and consider this free money.
So what will this achieve? Well it will make unemployment a thing of the past but it will do so by manipulating
statistics, people who have no real jobs will be paid from a different account. It will cost a lot of money, even
if it is minimum wage and just enough hours to move people of JSA it will more than double the current JSA
benefit bill. Oh and it will effectively add millions more people to the government payroll which will require
a huge increase in staff to administer it.
Of course they will be run by private sector companies who will be pocketing the money, just like they are
doing now. I wonder how many Labour friends and donors have the sort of companies that could take on
He talked about paying for it from a tax on banker’s bonuses. I know bankers get a lot in bonuses but does
he really expect us to believe he will be getting enough from taxing banker bonuses to pay for this?
‘Gold standard’ vocational qualification and compulsory basic skills tests for anyone claiming Jobseekers
This is two changes, one significant and new, and the other something that has already started.
The new “Gold Standard” qualification. When A was not enough, we had to have A*. Is this going to be an
A** or a completely new exam
Will this be replacing GCSE xams. What exactly is this going to consist of when we live in a country where
hundreds of thousands of children fail to achieve a C grade in Maths or English and leave school without
the standard expected of an 11 year old? , will this just be yet another dilution of the
We need more details on this before we can judge how bad this will be.
The second point is bringing in tests to prove that job seekers have the basic skills needed to get a job and
therefore qualify for Job Seekers benefits.
The Tories already started this one at the beginning of the year. Several of the Private companies handling
the unemployed for the Job Centre started doing these tests at least last week.
I took this test so I can say exactly what it consists of.
Question one of the maths test was "you have three and a half litres of water, which of these numbers
represents the same amount:
A 3 1/4.
B 3 1/2.
C 3 3/4.
The last and hardest maths question was you have a painting, the picture weights 794 grams and the frame
weights 2,314 grams. What percentage of the total weight doe the picture on its own represent:
The English test included the same paragraph repeated several times and one word was missing each time
asking which word you would put there.
This did include the Their/There/They're choice making it slightly harder for those lacking in English
Speaking to the staff at the unemployment support centre where long term unemployed are sent to get
them off the Job Centres hands I asked what happens if people fail? “They are signed up for English and
Maths classes to try and bring them up to the standard needed to pass the test”.
I scored maximum on both tests but on asking how many people failed the look on the man’s face told
me it was a lot more than one.
Until we get more details about what exactly Labour are proposing these are simply empty promises
designed to attract attention from people who don’t think too deeply about what is involved.
Is there an Election coming soon?