Letter: A real job

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Yvette Cooper was not radical enough in her critique of the Howell/Field proposals on unemployment ("Real work, please, not dead-end jobs'', Business, 22 December).

We should indeed help the long-term unemployed into real jobs, and we should also help to make them more employable. But it is not helpful making them more employable if they get the jobs, instead of the short- term unemployed.

Gli Amici - a group of personnel managers - has proposed a subsidy for all additional jobs, not just those for the long-term unemployed. Since unemployment costs the nation pounds 10,000 a year for each unemployed person, the payment of a subsidy of less than this for a limited period for each additional job could save money.

Companies and public bodies could create these real jobs by expansion or share the fruits of technology by shortening the hours of existing employees. Sir Ralph Howell, in fact, has shown considerable interest in this proposal, which has also been discussed with the Labour Party. It is to be hoped that, when elected, Labour will take measures such as this to kick-start general employment growth.

D J Bell

Ware, Hertfordshire

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