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Students put to work; Your say.

I OFTEN wondered what would happen to all the students who graduated in the summer of 2009 and are still out of work by next year.

David Cameron has the answer - they will be forced to do full time voluntary work for six months or be stripped of their benefits.

It will be interesting to see thousands of English graduates and history majors all picking up litter, removing graffiti and repairing broken fences for this Government.

Unemployment for the young has risen across 97% of Britain and two of the highest rises are right here in Hartlepool and in Darlington.

It also doesn''t say much for the new work programme when the PM says if a client goes through the system but still fails to find work after the programme''s conclusion (two years), they will be placed on an extended six months of full time unpaid work.

Shouldn''t the Government be punishing the work programme for not finding long term unemployed work rather than the other way round? Providers better make the most of their lucrative Government contracts because if they think young graduates will take much more of this, then they better think again.

STEPHANIE FINNEGAN, Normanby * * * IS Britain slowly inching towards Workfare, a scheme pioneered in Winconsin where the welfare state was overhauled in 1987, time-limiting benefits and forcing the unemployed to do full time unpaid work in the community.

The Prime Minister has announced people who fail to get a job after two years will be forced to do 30 hours a week of community work for six months.

But why such a punishing scheme? Why didn''t the Government offer the long-term unemployed six months of paid work in the community? We constantly hear get-tough politicians like Cameron saying schemes like these will educate the unemployed into the habit of getting up in the morning and doing a useful day''s work - but not a mention of any kind of wage at the end of it.

The Winconsin programme created mass poverty and economic hardship and, as a whole, the poverty rate in the USA now stands at a 20-year high.

Are these the inspirations Britain''s welfare experts are trying to emulate? If there''s full-time worth of work that needs to be done, people should be paid the legal minimum wage.

A pilot scheme is due shortly with the plans for it to going nationwide by 2013.

If there is anything that needs piloting it's David Cameron himself - straight out of the seat of Number 10 Downing Street.

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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Nov 11, 2011
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