“Please stop putting George Osborne on your front page,” requests Sandi Kitchin from Long Melford in Suffolk. “Life is hard enough without having to look at that smug b****** over my (value) cornflakes.” The Chancellor tends to elicit a weight of correspondence from you. Some supportive – Malcolm Taylor, for instance, who is “confused at the uproar over the suggestion that people work for what they get”. i’s mailbag contains several invitations for Mr Osborne and the Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith to accompany readers to a jobcentre next week. These proposals we shall forward on to the relevant ministers.
Alice Chapman of Northwich, Cheshire, points out that forcing the unemployed to attend jobcentres every day will necessitate expensive travelling, further straining household budgets. Barb Drummond from Cardiff calls for divine intervention. (I shall ring the Ven David Meara, Rector of St Bride’s in Fleet Street, to see if he can have a word with the Big Man – and ask around for quotes on an exorcism for Eric Pickles while we're at it.)
The Conservatives’ attack on a “something for nothing” culture undoubtedly chimes with a large section of the working populace whose personal finances are pinched, and who resent the state scything off chunks of their income each month.
But the rhetoric pillorying the long-term jobless fails to recognise the many people among that group who are trying to do something about their unemployment, who were previously working and paid taxes and NI, who are dismayed by the paucity of openings advertised in jobcentres, and who want to learn skills for the 21st-century. Mssrs Osborne and Duncan Smith need better jobcentres which advertise more vacancies.Reuse content