Government plans to class up to one million low waged as 'not working enough'
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In the ongoing crackdown on low earners as well as the unemployed, Department of Work and Pensions documents seen by The Guardian suggest that a fresh onslaught may be in the offing.
Employment figures are already a touch misleading, with overall numbers being kept artificially low by those on part time or zero hour contracts, despite those who are nominally ‘employed’ struggling to make ends meet and actively seeking more hours to keep the wolf from the door.
The DWP documents suggest that people earning between £330 and around £950 a month – just under the rate of the national minimum wage for a 35-hour week – could be mandated to attend jobcentre meetings where their working habits will be scrutinised as part of the universal credit programme.
The government, who seem inordinately keen on their vision of the low waged as lazy idlers seem to be saying that those hovering near the minimum wage aren’t trying hard enough, or are somehow reluctant to work any harder because there are still a few fraying benefits in place to make up a basic living.
Some of those deemed to be "not working enough" could be mandated to take on extra training – and if they fail to complete tasks they could be stripped of their UC benefits in a move which departmental insiders admitted was controversial.
‘Not all of those will be forced into jobcentres, with individuals with caring responsibilities or other constraints preventing them taking on full-time work highly likely to be excluded’ said the Guardian. While the DWP confessed that they still weren’t clear on how any of this was going to work, they did confirm that docking social security payments for those who are categorised as "not working enough" formed part of their plans.
The ministry are of course depicting this plan as a way to help people achieve genuine financial independence with getting a job as merely the first step. Whether it actually plays out like that remains to be seen.