Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls will deliver a speech tonight in which he will reaffirm the Labour’s ‘Compulsory Jobs Guarantee’ will last for the entirety of the next Parliament, following reports that it may only be in place for 12 months. The scheme, a replacement for the Work Programme will see people aged 18-25 who have been on jobseekers allowance for a year (two years for older jobseekers) offered 25 hours’ work a week on the minimum wage and the employer would have to guarantee compulsory training.
Any jobseeker who doesn’t take up the offer would be stripped of their entitlement to benefits, however it is not yet clear what incentives the Government will use to attract employers to the scheme. The policy will be funded by a tax on banker’s bonuses and a decrease in pension relief from 45% to 20% for people earning more than £150,000.
Peter from PSI: With Ed Balls now due to affirm a policy first confirmed by former Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Liam Byrne a year ago, it would appear that the Jobs Guarantee will form a central part of the next Labour manifesto, in particular the element for the young unemployed. However, it remains to be seen whether it will attract votes from younger voters, while at the same time losing votes from older people due to its impact on pension entitlements. It also forms part of a concerted response to Conservative attacks that the party was too profligate with benefit payments during its time in power, allowing Labour to argue that they would be tough but compassionate with jobseekers.
Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury Sajid Javid has accused Labour of promising unfunded spending, as the tax on banker’s bonuses has also been proposed as a funding stream for a wave of housebuilding.