UK to order welfare recipients “Back to the Workhouse”

Jobless Britons could be forced to do community work to keep their unemployment payments, Britain’s top economics minister said Monday, announcing the latest in a series of moves to tighten benefits rules and crack down on “welfare dependency.” http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/01/world/europe/britain-plans-to-require-community-service-for-jobless-benefits.html?ref=world

Under the plan, those out of work for more than two years could be required to take on tasks like cooking for the elderly or cleaning up litter to keep their payments. The initiative represents a significant hardening of policy in a country that once considered the idea of “workfare” taboo.

The plans outlined by Mr. Osborne would not require primary legislation, meaning no vote in Parliament, the Department for Work and Pensions said Monday. Instead, changes to regulations will be “brought forward shortly,” the department said.

Already, the jobless can be sent on work placements, where they are required to do a month’s full-time work to keep their benefits, and the government has introduced a cash limit on the amount per week that most people ages 16 to 64 can receive from the state.

But on Monday, Mr. Osborne went further when he said those unemployed for two years would be required to do “useful work putting something back into their community.” Alternatively, they could be required to attend job centers each day.

The Daily Mirror wrote about Mr. Osborne’s proposal under the headline “Back to the Workhouse,” a reference to the institutions that Britain’s unemployed were once forced into.

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