As we all know, politicians and the media can’t shut up about how the unemployed are lazy scroungers or, recently, even child-killers (as alleged by George Osborne and the Daily Mail) just because Mick Philpott happened to be unemployed. But jobseekers are the ones who are working for free doing workfares up and down the country. Big companies like ASDA, Superdrug and Homebase are profiting from free labour. The unemployed are helping millionaire shareholders get even richer while they provide labour without earning a penny. And if they don’t find work within a couple of months, they’ll be forced to do it all over again.
So why aren’t the unemployed being praised and admired as the backbone of our society? If it wasn’t for their free labour, local businesses might have to close down and so might some charities like the Sue Ryder Foundation which previously used workfare and YMCA which still does. This means that the unemployed are actually benefitting the employed, because if small businesses and charities had to close then their staff would be made redundant.
So, to recap, these are the services which the unemployed provide (for free) to the rest of us:
Making rich shareholders more rich
Helping small businesses survive
Helping the employed remain employed
I think they should be awarded medals instead of being stigmatised as lazy (possibly murderous) benefit scroungers.
The line between employed and unemployed is also fairly blurred. Freelance jobs such as modelling, writing, interpreting or web designing can mean that you only work sporadically. Even jobs we tend to think of as more reliable such as housekeeping or waiting tables may also only be on a casual basis or require you to work on or two days a week. With 1 out of 4 jobs being part-time, many people are living this life where employment means working a few hours a week or working “on call”.
And low income jobs often come with very short notice periods, so even those who manage to land more stable work will still find themselves between jobs a few times in their lives. Without £8,000 in the bank, they’ll be eligoble to claim Jobseeker’s Allowance.
Another mistake the media and politicians make is to confuse welfare dependency and employment status. Many of the employed are recieving benefits such as Work Tax Credit, Housing Benefit, Disability Allowance and others. For young people, finding a job can mean moving out of their parents’ homes and thus becoming even more dependent on the state – they’ll swap Jobseeker’s Allowance for Housing Benefit and maybe Work Tax Credit (a benefit only available to the employed).
This issue cannot be simplified into an Us v Them war on the poor and disabled. Especially not by politicians and media moguls living wildly extravagant lifestyles.
Petition to get Iain Duncan Smith to live on £53 a week: http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/iain-duncan-smith-iain-duncan-smith-to-live-on-53-a-week