Monday, 28 June 2010

Tories revisit "get on your bikes" fantasy

Tory Minister Iain Duncan-Smith's call for unemployed people to move to areas of greater employment raises a number of questions. The idea, if such a hare-brained scheme, merits the description is to allow council tenants to jump the housing queues in areas where they can allegedly get jobs.

So would a jobless council tenant from, say, Newcastle get extra housing points because he or she is jobless? Would people already on that housing list get extra points because they were also jobless? Who decides what are the areas of greater employment? Do these change?

The policy seems to have been draw up on the back of an extremely small fag packet and lacks any merit at all in dealing with the very real problem of unemployment. We currently offer some additional points for local connection with a ward or borough - that is now being thrown out of the window.

It also appears to be writing off swathes of the UK as areas where the unemployed will never find work - at a guess, that would be anywhere outside the S E of England.

Rather than concocting headline-grabbing ideas, perhaps the policy wonks and researchers could put their minds to developing an economic strategy that didn't have mass unemployment as its cornerstone.

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