This should be in the manifesto
Great idea from James Purnell and Graeme Cook in the FT today - you can read it here - "The government should guarantee everyone a job, to end long-term unemployment... the government is already doing this for young people aged under 25... The lesson from the last year is that investing to prevent long-term unemployment is not just socially just, it reduces the deficit. So as the recovery starts, this approach should be extended, not unwound.
Rather than offering this guarantee for young people only, it should be extended to all jobseekers, of all ages at risk of long-term unemployment. Where the market does not provide work, government must step in... This is the final piece of the puzzle of welfare reform. It makes the welfare state more supportive and more demanding. On the one hand, it is real protection – instead of offering people a life on benefits, it offers them what they really want: a job, and a chance to get their career back on track.
On the other hand a jobs guarantee also becomes a backstop. Claimants have to take a job when it is offered. That exposes those who are working on the side and claiming fraudulently... Initially, the guarantee would come into effect for older jobseekers after the Flexible New Deal (once they had been looking for work for two years).
This could be funded from the money allocated at the Budget to help people back to work, which is now being underspent because of lower-than-expected unemployment.
Over time, the system should be reshaped so that jobseekers spend the first year looking for work with the support of Job Centre Plus and private and voluntary providers, with the jobs guarantee kicking in at 12 months. This could be funded by a combination of some of the money currently spent on the Flexible New Deal and switching resources from the skills budget."
Let's hope that even if this doesn't get picked up in the Budget it is considered for the General Election Manifesto.