The Chancellor explains the thinking behind proposed changes in Universal Credit which would restrict access to people who refuse to actively seek work.
If Britain’s productivity problem could be fixed by politicians tilting at unpopular targets – in this case, an assumed army of scroungers – it would have been fixed long ago.
The last of three articles this week as our project continues over the summer and autumn.
Better skills not only improve the earning power of families, they also drive aspiration, social mobility, and ambition, while rewarding those who work hard – all fundamental Conservative values.
The thirteenth article in a new series on ConHome about how government might be made smaller, taxpayers better off and and society stronger – through strong families, better schools and good jobs.
Ministers would need to honestly confront why we are so reliant on immigrant labour and then start implementing policies to cut that dependency – not at some point in the future, but now.
It is important to note that real wage growth is a feature, not a bug, of Brexit and one Conservatives should be vocal about. Put simply, leaving the EU has begun to deliver on its promise to give greater economic power to the British worker.
The Chancellor, too, is right to focus on using incentives to encourage those who can work to remain in the labour force and this should figure prominently in the March Budget.
Immigration is an important short-term palliative, but cannot remain an excuse for British businesses not to invest or train up domestic workers.
In many places that need levelling up, the real unemployment rate exceeds the number of job vacancies; labour supply is a greater problem in the South.
Ministers can make the system more generous, easier to access, and contributory – but must rediscover their appetite for reform.
There is a danger, not to mention an irony, in a conservatism that views a mother, carer, or retiree as just an inactive worker.