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Monday 30th
posted by Will Stone in Britain

Shadowy lobby group gloats as George Osborne adopts 'their' policy to punish jobless

A hardline right-wing lobby group which drafted the plans to extend the Tories' hated Work Programme have gloated openly  after George Osborne adopted their proposals "hook, line and sinker."

Setting out the so-called Help to Work scheme in his keynote speech at the Conservative conference the Chancellor claimed it would force the long-term unemployed to "work for the dole" and "do something in return for their benefits."

Under the scheme those out of work for two years or more would be forced to work 30 hours a week in community service, training or work experience.

Cooking meals for the elderly, picking up litter or working for a local charity are some of the things they may be required to do.

"Others will be made to attend the job centre every working day," Mr Osborne stated.

Any claimant who fails to comply on even one occasion will be stripped of their benefits.

Moments after his speech ended shadowy business lobbyists the Taxpayers' Alliance, which commissioned the report that formed the blueprint for Mr Osborne's scheme, celebrated the announcement at their fringe event dubbed Work For The Dole: The Next Steps For Welfare Reform.

The "work for the dole" report's author - wealthy property developer Chris Philp, a 2010 Conservative candidate for Hampstead and Kilburn - gloated: "I'm delighted that Mr Osborne has adopted my proposals hook, line and sinker - or should I say lock, stock and barrel.

"He must have been feverishly copying and pasting it ahead of his speech."

Taxpayers' Alliance director Matthew Sinclair could barely contain his delight, pouring heavy praise on the Chancellor and exclaiming that these were "extremely exciting times."

But the plans received widespread scorn from politicians, unions and campaigners.

Civil Service union PCS said branded it "evidence-free, cruel and divisive" following the failure of the similar Work Programme to get people into work.

General secretary Mark Serwotka said: "Osborne says he doesn't think people should get something for nothing, but appears to be happy to hand employers free labour."

He added that job cuts would leave job centres unable to cope with the daily attendance requirement.

Labour MP Jim Sheridan said: "Instead of paying people a proper wage, it's clear that David Cameron and George Osbornes' plan on using the unemployed as cheap labour to provide services which have been lost as a result of their cutbacks in public spending.

"This is pure exploitation."

And Unison general secretary Dave Prentis advised the Chancellor to look to develop policies that create jobs paying a decent living wage rather than "trotting out the same old Tory tactics of divide and rule.

"The fact that there are so many long-term unemployed shows that this government's policies are not working.

"We need people in work, earning money, paying their taxes and spending in their local shops and businesses. That's the way to create growth and boost the economy."