Purnell would benefit from a cut

Interesting debate going on at Labourhome on the welfare green paper. Apparently James Purnell is responding to comments on the site so if you’ve got a question, get in touch.

My comment was:

“I think there’s an awful lot to commend the paper though I think a lot members would have preferred the annoucement to have been made in the House first!

“If these reforms, as promised, help to lift a further 200,000 children out of poverty and get us back on track to halving child poverty by 2010 and erradicating it by 2020, then we’ll all welcome it with open arms.

“But surely the big issue – as Barnados highlight – is that half the 1.9 million children in povery already have a parent in employment.

“By all means let’s help people back to work, but let’s not push them into meaningless McJobs for the sake of getting them off the register and make sure we hit the 80%.

“That’s the concern I have with private firms being incentivised to find work for the long-term unempoyed. How will we ensure that they’re finding them the right job – or is any job, the ‘right’ job?

“These reforms will work best if we also pay people a living wage, grant equal employment rights to temporary and agency workers, universal childcare and conduct a closer scrutiny of employers.

“Whilst they’ll be a lot of people with valid concerns about how this works in practice and no-one ever wins friends on reforming welfare, at least we’re defining the terms of debate and setting the agenda again.

“For that alone, you should be applauded James.”

I also thought – after seeing his performance on Marr yesterday – that he could do with a bit of a trim.

One benefit cut we could all back!
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