Why we must make work pay

By DAVID WOODING
SOME people have never done an honest day’s work in their life.
It’s a phrase that trips off the tongue all too easily.
But for nearly four million people, it’s a stark reality.
One in nine work-age people have no idea what it is like to start a job – never mind get the sack.
While many who are disabled, carers or genuinely can’t find work, there is an increasing stubborn hardcore who are content to live a life on benefits.
We used to be famous for the Great British worker. Now we are seeing the rise of the Great British shirker.
Statistics released by the Office for National statistics this week will incense those who work long hours and struggle to make ends meet.
At least 200,000 over-65s admit they dodged doing any paid work right up to retirement.
More alarmingly, a third of the four million who have been economically inactive all their “working” lives are aged 18 to 24.
Studies show that those who don’t work by their mid-20s are unlikely ever to get a job.
David Cameron said only this week that too many kids want to be footballers or singing stars.
But why should those who can be bothered to get up in the morning be forced to pay for pop idles?
We need doctors, nurses, teachers, car mechanics and road gritters, too. Most of all we need to rediscover the work ethic.
That’s why Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith must press ahead with his reform of our cushy benefits system. More is needed to make it worth people’s while to work, too.
It may be too late for a lost generation of couch potatoes happy to live on state handouts and channel surf reality shows.
But our kids are the future – and they need hope.
The government can help with proper apprenticeships, paid internships and by driving up school standards.
And by ensuring that work always pays.
 
Advertisements

What can the Tories do for the North?

By DAVID WOODING in Manchester

The North-South divide is wider than at any time since the 1980s – with a huge gap in unemployment levels, school standards and health.

It presents a golden opportunity for David Cameron to succeed in Labour’s traditional heartlands by tackling this age-old problem.

But what can the Tories do for the North? Tonight we will attempt to answer that question at a fringe meeting at the Conservative party conference in Manchester.

Angel of the North statue.

I will be joining a panel of fellow Northerners to discuss what action can be taken to bridge the traditional gulf over the next few years.

With the electoral battleground moving further north, we will be asking why the Tories did so badly in the North at the last election and how they can do better next time.

Is it time for the government to have a proper strategy for the poorest counties in the land? And at a time when public services are being cut, what hope is there for a region which relies so heavily on them for work?

The panel includes Manchester MP Graham Brady,  YouGov pollster Anthony Wells, Sir Richard Leese, the leader of Manchester City Council and David Skelton, deputy director of Policy Exchange think tank, who are organising the event.

The event kicks off at 5.15pm tonight in the Novotel Centre, 21 Dickinson Street, Manchester.