Half of those claiming unemployment benefits would prefer to lose their handouts than do a stint of unpaid work.
Figures show that 20 per cent of those ordered to take part in four-week community projects stop claiming immediately…
Then, what the hell do they live on? Unless…
Officials suspect many of those who stop claiming benefits are working in the black economy and would rather lose their welfare than give up their undeclared earnings.
Fertile ground for the tax people, you might think, then?
Government sources say the results of a trial scheme are so striking that ministers are preparing to roll it out nationwide in a programme hitting up to 50,000 unemployed.
A source close to the programme told the Mail that the results so far had been ‘extraordinary’.‘This has started on a relatively small scale, to see how it would work, but nobody expected the results we are seeing,’ he said.
‘More than half of those people referred are coming off benefits. Around a fifth sign off straight away after being referred for mandatory work activity.
‘Another third simply don’t turn up, and then have their benefits stopped unless they are prepared to re-engage with the programme at a later date.
‘They have to spend a month working in a charity shop or with various voluntary organisations. The idea is that they have to get up, go out and come away with some sort of work ethic.
‘Instead, for the majority it is proving to be a push that gets them off benefits. What this demonstrates is that there is really a hardcore of claimants who have absolutely no intention of working come what may.’
Hurrah! At last! Someone is saying the unsayable!
And if it hadn’t been for all the who-ha on Stephen Lawrence last week, this might even have made it into the headlines…