'Writing Off Workfare: For a Green New Deal, not the Flexible New Deal' is the Green Party's response to the government's 'public consultation' on welfare reform.
The Welfare Reform Green Paper, 'No One Written Off: Reforming Welfare to Reward Responsibility' seems unduly influenced by large companies that see the privatisation of job centre services as big business. The consultation asks 29 questions, none of which are addressed to the impact of growing global recession and diminishing global resources upon employment. The Green Paper puts forward many new obligations for claimants – including working for nothing more than benefits – but hardly any incentives or new money for the unemployed. Instead it offers new business opportunities for private ‘providers’ of back-to-work services, some of whom will be big multinationals. It strips benefit claimants of what little bargaining power they have, both against these ‘providers’ and against employers offering unreasonable conditions.
The 'Green New Deal ' adopted by the Green Party at its Autumn Conference advocates a 'green jobs' programme. These would be real jobs at real wages, many created by local authorities, highlighting work which will help to avert climate change and extensive training in construction and engineering skills. The government has since seized upon the energy saving ideas of the Green New Deal but not its redistributive aspects – a windfall tax on oil and gas companies, and a rise in benefits for the poor.
Anne Gray (pictured above), co-author of the consultation response, said: "Workfare is collective punishment of the unemployed. What they need is real jobs and real training. Our plans would focus on giving unwaged people the money and the jobs they need, not on spending a fortune to enable big companies to make money out of policing the unemployed