Jobseekers ‘should work harder for benefits’

By Alex Stevenson

Benefit claimants should have to earn a number of points for completing jobseeking activities before receiving their allowance, a thinktank has proposed.

A report from influential thinktank Policy Exchange argues that claimants should have to reach a specific number of points each week to receive their benefits.

Activities like 'attending a job interview' would earn a greater number of points than others like 'preparing a CV' under their proposals.

"Most employees are obliged to work full time at the tasks set by their employers to support themselves financially," report author Matthew Oakley argued.

"If they don't they are liable to be sacked and lose their income. Jobseekers should be similarly obliged to work full time at fulfilling the obligations attached to their benefit receipt. If they don't then those benefits should be withdrawn."

Polling by Policy Exchange suggested that nearly half of the public think claimants should spend up to five hours a day looking for work.

At present jobseekers in the UK spend an average of eight minutes a day, recent research has claimed.

The report also recommends requiring potential claimants to have demonstrated they have been searching for work for a fortnight before becoming eligible for the benefit.

It also suggests scrapping the three-month window in which claimants are allowed to reject job opportunities for all those who do not have a 'contribution record' of paying national insurance or tax.

"The welfare system is letting down those in genuine need," Mr Oakley added.

"People who are able to work and are claiming benefits should be doing all they can to find work. Many people are fulfilling this responsibility and trying hard to find work, it is only fair that the system clamps down on those who are not trying as hard as they can to get a job."