The Government is planning a new crackdown on unemployed people.
The details of the proposals, described by Gordon Brown as "new rights matched by new responsibilities", have yet to be revealed. The drive is aimed at people who are, in the Government's view, "persistent offenders" - that is the long-term unemployed, many of whom are, apparently, failing to go on the Government's New Deal.
People spend years on the dole for a number of good reasons: single parenting, chronic illness - but also, despite what the Government says, because there are no jobs available - especially in some inner city areas. Many bosses are not willing to employ men over 50 who have been on the dole for a number of years. Experience counts for nothing in the wage slave system. Younger men are assumed to be better able to do the dirty, physical jobs. Women of all ages are presumed to be cheaper to employ.
Many people may not go on the New Deal for good reasons, perhaps because it is difficult to juggle with caring responsibilities, or because they feel there is no point.
Some jobless people are very vulnerable. The crackdown may involve benefit cuts. Having your benefit cut doesn't just mean going without food. You also face a horrendous battle with a brutal bureaucracy to have your benefit restored - a battle that is beyond most people - let alone those people whose lives already stressful and difficult.
The Government has introduced child tax credit and working tax credit as "incentives" to get people back to work. These are not only complex to claim: many people entitled to them don't receive them, but do not solve the problem of poverty pay. In practice they are subsidies to low-paying employers. £54.25 a week for the first child of households earning £13,000 a year is not enough.