An ulterior motive can easily be detected behind today's announcement from Tesco that it is to create 20,000 new jobs in the UK over the next two years. The supermarket chain was at the centre of objections that people were having to work for nothing as part of the Government's back-to-work policy for the unemployed. Of course, Tesco would want to present itself as a work-provider, rather than an exploiter.
In fact, many had volunteered for work experience and all received state benefits for the duration. Tesco has since offered modest top-ups and the Government has removed the threat that benefits would be forfeited by those who dropped out. What Tesco's announcement underlines, however, is that many new jobs in the UK, especially at entry level, will be in services in general and in retail in particular. Such jobs are real jobs and not to be sniffed at, and if Tesco honours its pledge to focus on unemployed young people, it will have made a contribution beyond simply restoring its good name.