"Giz a job" was the catchphrase of Yosser Hughes in the "Boys from the Blackstuff" TV series from the 1980’s. Great series – lefty writing by Bleasdale, of course, but I really liked it. Good writing is good writing, period.
Now I see that Caroline Flint – the bootylicious new Housing Minister, is trying to tackle the phenomenon (odd choice of word) of council ‘sink’ estates where almost no-one has a job with a proposal to force tenants to look for work.
Over the past quarter-century there has been a a significant rise in the number of council tenants out of work, from 35 to 55 per cent. In a speech to the Fabian Society today, Ms Flint will suggest new council tenants who can work should sign “commitment contracts” when getting a tenancy, agreeing to actively seek employment. Signatories would also have to undertake skills checks to ensure that they are equipping themselves for potential jobs. The jobseeking contracts could be extended to existing tenants, in a move which would affect up to a million people, she will suggest. She will say that there is clear evidence that there are many long-term unemployed in social housing who might be able to find employment with the right support.
Now I seriously doubt that she means this but it is the right approach. There should be NO free houses for those who could work but won’t work. My own concern is that this "commitment contract" will contain so many caveats that it will in reality do nothing to get the work-shy back to work. But let us at each welcome the intent.