This past week has seen a number of questionable decisions and statements made by government officials. Welfare reform minister Lord Freud spoke of how disabled workers were not considered worthy of being paid the minimum wage and should be paid no more than £2.00 per hour. He has since apologised for these remarks, not before he managed to create a media storm the likeness not seen since the last time the education secretary suggested that the school hours should be increased; without proper staff ratios in place and proper staff wages.
Today, David Cameron has vowed to end youth unemployment by cutting benefits, e.g. the housing benefits for 18-21 year olds who are on Job Seekers Allowance and the cutting of Job Seekers allowance which is replaced by a sixth month allowance, by this stage if the job seeker has still not found a job then they will need to take part in community work. This is a drive in order to create 3 million new apprenticeships.
Whilst this may seem all well and good, cutting spending for the government; getting young people employed; it means a whole different story for young workers. I am personally at this time unemployed, I thought I had a job offer back in August for a care job, however I have been messed around so many times by this employer I have no idea whether or not I will ever get a job with them or anywhere. I am desperate to get a job, I could no longer afford to continue my studies at college which has hindered my ability to apply for certain jobs due to the fact I don’t have the qualification needed.
I am literally applying for anything I can at the moment, including apprenticeships. I am finding though, the problem being with apprenticeships is that once you have completed the allotted time set by however long it takes you to complete the qualification; an employer can just as easily turn around and say “thanks for completing this qualification, we are moving on to the next person” and then the apprentice (who has worked for less than minimum wage) is once again looking for a job).
Of course apprenticeships are useful to have; though they shouldn’t be made to be the be all and end all; in my job seeking quest I have found so many apprenticeships that used to be minimum wage jobs including: warehouse operative, shelf stacker, order picker, and a cleaner. The apprentice is usually then stuck with a limiting qualification and then unable to progress further. The higher apprenticeships are more lucrative yes, though there is the problem of the fact that many jobseekers may not have the appropriate qualifications needed; or be too old to be considered by the employer.
I do not use my job seekers allowance for fun; I find it humiliating having to sign on, especially with the ongoing saga of whether or not I have a job; I section of 90.00 to give to my parents; whom of which I live with in order to pay towards rent and my upkeep (I do also do a fair majority of the cleaning at home too and other household tasks) The rest literally goes towards bus fair for interviews due to being unable to drive and living in a high cost public transport area.
I suffer with Asperger’s Syndrome, and a few other health problems yet I am made to feel like the worst person on earth if I mention that I have the condition. Yet if I didn’t put it down and it came out later, an employer could accuse me of misrepresenting myself.
I have been told why not just sign off and go on DLA? To me I can still contribute to society; I can still walk and talk; I do not want to take away resources from those who need it more than I do. I am struggling at the moment; especially with the lack of understanding; but is it really the answer David Cameron? As a 20 year old girl myself, I am struggling to find work as much as anyone else; stress is not helping this; is it really the answer to then increase the level of stress a person faces?
Either way, personally I suspect the Tories are going to lose voters if people sit up and actually think about these proposals. Would you really vote for a party that wants to have young people in temporary jobs for less than minimum wage, disabled workers being paid even less than apprentices? These are not the values I stand for.