Friday, 20 February 2009

Frank Field urges return of the Earnings Related Supplement

News during the week that unemployed French bankers were returning home from London to enjoy unemployment benefits of up to £70,000 pa must have been met with incredulity by newly unemployed British bankers. But never fear; Frank Field is on the case on behalf of our own, writing in the Times today:

The second prong of a new strategy must be directed at those now joining the dole queues. Many registering at Jobcentres for perhaps the first time in their lives are shocked that, after decades of making national insurance contributions, they are entitled to a mere £60.50 a week. This is the same sum that would be paid to someone who has never worked. It hardly reinforces the culture of work.

The jobseeker's allowance ought to be graded according to the number of years that a claimant has worked. It could be doubled to £121 for those with, say, ten years' of NI contributions and increased to £181.50 for those with 15 years. Work is part of their DNA - a more generous benefit payment will not stop them returning to work as soon as they can.

Ah yes. The old Earnings Related Supplement - abolished by whom?


Blue Eyes said...

It hardly reinforces the culture of work.

Doesn't it reinforce the culture of work by *making work pay*??

I would put it the other way around. If you are unemployed long-term you should be given less. I don't want people starving but I don't see why half my taxes should go to people who have never had a job.

Kemi said...

Ah yes. The old Earnings Related Supplement - abolished by whom?

Errr... that sounds like a rhetorical question - you assume too much if you think all your readers know the answer!

The only Hansard reference I can find goes back to 1981 (so clearly I was busy being born while all this was happening!).

ERPS seems like a good idea to me. Do you remember what the argument for scrapping it was?

The Great Simpleton said...


ERPS was aboloished in the early 70's (from 1973 IIRC) because it was costing too much and the country was going bankrupt. At the time we had a series of Labour Governements, interspersed with Tory ones led by Edward Heath that were no better.

It was also open to abuse - I knew of a number of Servicemen at th the time who decided to take a years holiday. They resigned, spent up to a year on ERPS and then rejoined the Army without loss of senioirty.

Blue Eyes said...

New Jersey has or had a similar system whereby seasonal workers could spend two thirds of the year on very comfortable welfare income...

Anonymous said...

It was abolished by Margaret Thatcher just around the time she staged the Massacre of the Holy Innocents and killed all the Red Indians with smallpox blankets. Then she staged the Holocaust and personally gassed six million Jews and stole all the food from Ethiopia so all the black people would die of starvation. Then she invaded the Falkland Islands and started an illegal war with the peaceful Argentinians and then she stole all the babies' milk and made them work down the coal mines for tuppence a month.

I know this because I am a product of Labour Party educational policy.

Anonymous said...

Good idea.

Less than five years' contributions -> no benefit.

Solves the illegal immigrant problem rather neatly, no?