Memorandum from Mr Harry G Moss
The most I could hope for under the circumstances
is that the Committee will consider my revised proposals as outlined
in this letter in order to get 100,000+ claimants away from the
workplace for three years or more back to work, saving the Treasury
over £3 billion per annum.
The government of the day should educate all
employers towards the adoption of a Voluntary Code of Practice
whereby at least one in 200 new recruits are taken directly off
the long-term benefits (on a basis where the longer the job applicant
has been away from the work place, the more consideration should
be given) until such time as 0.5 per cent of the whole workforce
would have been recruited directly off of long-term benefits.
Employers need to be persuaded of the fiscal
benefits of employing long-term returners-to-work, in terms of
their obvious motivation to work and higher loyalty factorand
hence less staff turnover coststhan job changes. I believe
that these benefits are so good that no form of government subsidy
to employers adopting the Code of Practice need be given.
Under the Code of Practice applicants away from
the workplace for three years or more should be assessed non-empirically
for any postbased on interviews, exams and selection boards.
Successful applicants should be initially employed on a trial
period of three months, six months or nine months (where workplace
absence is up to six years, six to 12 years or more than 12 years).
Some trial periods could be initially part-time! Some trial periods
could be preceded by, where appropriate, a voluntary placement
for three months or less. Trial periods should not count towards
the two year qualifying period for redundancy pay. Claimants of
Severe Disability Allowance or comparable benefits should be at
liberty to enter into a voluntary placement/trial period without
the consent of the DSS and should be able to continue to receive
non-means tested disability benefits during the trial period.
Upon successful permanent employment, the ex-claimant
who is disabled, and was away from the workplace thereby three
to six years, six to 12 years, or more than 12 years, should be
able to reclaim DSS benefits as if the claim were not broken,
for two years, three years or five years respectively after commencing
work, not counting the trial period. This is vital.
Further, many long-term returners-to-work, particularly
the disabled, would be in financial hardship with clothing and
other expenses faced by returning to work. I should therefore
suggest that a tiny proportion of the £3 billion per annum
saved if 100,000+ long-term claimants return to work be given
back in the form of, upon evidence of being accepted for a Voluntary
Placement or trial period, a grant of £200, £300 or
£500again where absence from work was three to six
years, six to 12 years or more than 12 years.
Wherever IT skills can benefit a placement,
the government should consider exempting from VAT anybody on the
scheme who buys their own computer in order to improve IT/internet
skills, and should increase the Social Fund budget specifically
to enable returners-to-work to borrow, interest free, from the
DSS, money to buy their own computers. Very many returners-to-work
would benefit by becoming teleworkers. Teleworking will reduce
Corporate Capital tied up in office space, and teleworkers do
not add to traffic congestion or train/bus overcrowding at rush
Very many returners-to-work after three or more
years won't however even have a telephone and until such time
as the anti-social profits of BT from the iniquitously high rental
charges and existence of any call charges whatsoever for modem
calls cease, returners-to-work will remain socially excluded and
cyberworld excluded. Therefore, I further propose that a returner-to-work
receive a grant to fully cover telephone line rental and modem
call charges for six months, 12 months or 18 monthswhere
the returner-to-work had been away from the workplace, again,
three to six years, six to 12 years or more than 12 years.
These are my proposals which have the broad
support of my own MP and several others on both sides of the House.
Every MP has some 200 or more constituents to whom the issue of
re-employment after three or more years absence from the workplace
is the key issue. Nothing will liberate a disabled person more
than some sort of equal playing field in employment opportunities
and fiscally incongruous prejudice against anybody away from the
workplace for three years or more is the primary obstacle stopping
progress towards that equal playing field.
Nothing costs us more than Social Security.
On closer examination I can estimate that, if all reasons for
long-term absence from the workplace are included, then at least
40,000 claimants would welcome the chance to work again after
12 or more years; 60,000 after six to 12 years and 80,000 after
three to six years. If the benefits paid to each claimant plus
tax and National Insurance lost come to £450 per week (I
think the figure is actually much higher) then getting these 180,000
claimants back to work will save the Treasury over £4.2 billion
per annum for a one-off cost of c£115 million were all the
above measures to be adopted.
Even with my revised number of 180,000 claimants
for three or more years who want to work you can see that I am
still being conservative with my estimates.
I hope too that were my ideas implemented, another
tiny proportion of the vast savings made, be used to stop the
decline in real terms, year on year for over 20 years of disability
benefits and that in particular, benefits to the elderly, such
as the minimum income guarantee and £150 winter fuel payment,
are extended to all claimants on a disability premium. (They traditionally,
were until Labour came to powerlook at the notorious £10
Christmas bonus, for example.)
By not helping the long-term claimant who wants
to work back to work, the government is making life worse for
those too disabled to ever work again.
That the Committee may have the opportunity
to consider my proposals, could represent a powerful breakthrough
for those in our society who must badly need to work and who are
most discriminated against! As Vivienne Parry said in the News
of the World article, "employers must break the habits
of a lifetime". All discrimination is shameful, but demanding
that job applicants must have recent work experience, when that
is clearly impossible for the long-term claimant, is particularly
despicable. It is also frightening for very many people in work,
who know as things are, that if they become out of work for any
reason and don't quickly get re-employed, they may never work
This whole issue therefore goes to the heart
of industrial relations and affects all of us.
Harry G Moss