Tories will put long-term jobless to work on community projects

Jobless workers will be forced to do community work to get benefits if they spend more than two years on the dole, under plans to be unveiled by David Cameron today. They will face a year of compulsory work, such as park-keeping, and will have their benefits axed if they refuse. The wide-ranging proposals for reform of the welfare state also include new US-style return-to-work programmes for all claimants out of work for more than six months to provide them with training and job-seeking advice.

The new rules will also apply to "serial claimants", people who jump on to and off benefit.

The measures are part of tough new Tory plans to cut long-term unemployment, including compulsory medicals for all people claiming incapacity benefit and plans for a "three strikes and you're out" rule to strip people of benefits for three years if they refuse reasonable offers of work.

A network of back-to-work centres run by independent organisations will be established at which jobless people will spend most of the week trying to get a job. Those who do not join the scheme will lose benefits.

People claiming benefits will also be screened for their employability. Those with a track record of claiming benefits will be referred to the back-to-work centres immediately. Those who have not recently been on benefit will be given six months to find a job before being put on the scheme.

Chris Grayling, the shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, said that the idea was to stop "career benefit claimants".

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