Why a jobs guarantee would benefit us all

The Guardian - 08 May 2018

Sir Nicholas Soames and I are currently drafting a bill to ensure that the time really has come for a job guarantee scheme (Editorial: Both sides of the Atlantic should embrace an idea offering hope in grim times, 4 May).  

The aim of our bill is to place the abolition of long-term unemployment at the heart of a post-Brexit reform agenda. It would do so by introducing a new duty under which the government guarantees six months’ paid work in the private, voluntary or public sector, for people who either have joined or are at risk of joining the ranks of the long-term unemployed.

Despite another recent fall in unemployment, the House of Commons library estimates that such a guarantee would help 70,000 young people in stage one. That total would rise to more than 400,000 people once it has been fully rolled out.

A major attraction is that claimants who are enrolled on the programme would regain self-confidence while simultaneously maintaining good habits, making new connections, and contributing to their local community while earning a wage to spend in that community. They would also have increased their attractiveness to other potential employers by being on the scheme, rather than drifting further away from the labour market.

Employers wishing to sign up for the scheme would be required to show that the jobs being created are additional roles, rather than substitutes. Taxpayers, meanwhile, would see the advantages of their monies being spent not on benefits but on jobs that deliver visible improvements to the quality of life in their communities.

Frank Field MP
Labour, Birkenhead