The government will force the long-term unemployed to clear up litter and graffiti, according to a leaked draft of the Welfare Green Paper.
Under the proposals, anyone out of work for two years will be forced to work full-time on community service programmes – unlike criminals, who tend to only get from 28 days to six months.
“Unemployed people are great,” said Work and Pensions Secretary James Purnell. “Unlike pensioners - who have the unquestioning support of the media and organisations to speak up in their defence - nobody in Britain gives a stuff about the jobless. In fact, the general perception is that Jobseekers’ Allowance claimants are all heroin-addicted shoplifters, and everyone on Incapacity Benefit is perfectly healthy and living in the lap of luxury - and that’s certainly not something I’m going out of my way to correct.”
Mr Purnell went on to say that private companies would be encouraged to browbeat and cajole the unemployed into hideously low-paid, stressful and soul-destroying McJobs, in return for which the firms would receive nice bonuses out of funds previously paid to claimants. He also stressed that, unlike the current Incapacity Benefit, the new measures would offer people assistance.
“No help is currently available to those who cannot work through illness - well, apart from occupational therapy, sympathy and understanding,” said Mr Purnell. “But, in future, clinically-depressed clients on the verge of suicide can look forward to receiving a good slap from Jobcentre staff and being told: ‘Snap out of it, get a grip and stop whining – after all, it could be worse, you could have MS or something.’ Meanwhile, people who do have MS or something will be told there’s no reason why they can’t stack the bottom shelves in Tesco, or perhaps drive tired or lazy shoppers around the aisles on their laps.”
The Conservatives have given their wholehearted support to the proposals. David Cameron said, “Thank God for the unemployed. If there’s one thing that MPs of all shades are united on, it’s that there’s nothing more revolting than the sight of hordes of greedy, good-for-nothing wasters cynically helping themselves to vast quantities of taxpayers’ hard-earned cash.”