Benefit claimants will have to work
The long-term unemployed will have to work in order to claim benefits under the new Help to Work scheme, Chancellor George Osborne announced.
In a speech at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester today, the Chancellor said long-term jobseekers will be required to do "something in exchange for benefits".
This includes community work placements, such as cooking meals for the elderly, collecting litter, and charity work. Others will have to visit Jobcentres every day, or attend training and therapy sessions to deal with problems such as poor literacy or addiction.
Under the Help to Work scheme, if the jobseeker breaks the rules, they will face the loss of four weeks worth of benefits. If the rules are broken for a second time they will lose three months worth of benefits.
The Chancellor said the government will "not abandon" the long-term unemployed, but under the Help to Work scheme, "no one will get something for nothing".
The Chancellor also announced, he intends to freeze fuel duty to the next parliament from 2015.
David Bizley, RAC technical director, has welcomed the move but called on the government to consider a more radical overhaul to eradicate fuel poverty. "There is, in fact, good evidence that the treasury coffers would benefit more if he were to reverse the trend and cut fuel duty for struggling motorists."