Digby Jones has stirred up interest in welfare benefits by comments made in a Panorama programme being screened tonight at 8.30pm. (Looks worth watching.)
Digby Jones, who was trade minister in 2007-08, made his comments after being introduced to two men in Swindon for a television programme about the young unemployed.
One of the pair, who were from middle-class families, told Jones that he and his girlfriend were paid about £12,000 a year in jobseeker’s allowance and housing benefit, and there was no reason for them to look for work. This is equivalent to a gross income of £15,000-£16,000.
Filmed for the BBC’s Panorama programme to be shown tomorrow, Jones said to the two, called Ben and Tim: “If I was watching this I’d throw something at the TV and say ‘Get off your backsides and work’ and we should cut all your benefits and starve you into going back to work.”
(This was from The Times online)
He apparently has said that in fact his idea is not to starve them but, on the contrary to give them food stamps but nothing else if they refuse three job offers.
This led to a phone-in on Radio 5 Live where a TUC representative said there were no jobs. However later in the day I was asked to comment on BBC Radio Wales and was fascinated by the comments of another contributor called James Hall. He works with the unemployed in Wales. more...