Whitehall to tighten dole rules, says Hunt

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THE Government will announce a further tightening of the rules governing eligibility for the dole in a White Paper on industrial competitiveness to be published this week.

David Hunt, Secretary of State for Employment, is to take 'further, much further' the principles underlying the shift from unemployment benefit to a job-seekers' allowance that will become operational in 1996. Up to 2.6 million people are eligible to claim the benefit.

Writing in today's Sunday Times, he says: 'With the jobseeker's allowance we will expect every person who becomes unemployed to enter into an individual agreement which outlines what they will do to look for work.

'We will expect them to stick to that contract for as long as they continue to claim their allowance.'

Mr Hunt claims that the job seeker's allowance will 'have only one purpose: to help people to live while they look for work. Its purpose is not to create a clientele . . . I find the concept of a permanent 'underclass' living off society utterly repugnant.'

The competitiveness White Paper - the Government's 'big idea' for the summer - will be unveiled by John Major at a press conference on Tuesday. He will concentrate on the document's proposals for vouchers for 16-19-year-olds to buy A-level courses or technical training, rather than on the latest initiative on unemployment benefit.

But the measures will not be implemented until the next session of parliament, with a Bill introduced after the Queen's Speech in November.

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