From The Guardian 5 December 2013:
Unemployed teenagers who leave school without basic English and maths will be forced to go back to the classroom for 16 hours a week or lose their benefits under new rules announced by George Osborne.
The chancellor said he wanted to get rid of a "culture of worklessness" among some school-leavers...
OK, so that's what The Blue Wing has to offer, and The Red Wing finally hit back today, from Politics Home:
Labour will challenge the Conservatives' dominance of welfare issues today, with a pledge to strip jobseekers of benefits if they turned down classes in English, numeracy or IT.
The plans, set to be unveiled in a first major outing for Rachel Reeves as shadow work and pensions secretary at the centre-left IPPR think tank, would see the party force jobseekers to sit a skills test within six weeks of claiming benefits.
Anyone without basic skills would be forced to take a course and face losing their benefits if they refuse.
It has long been a rule in the UK welfare system that if you are doing more than a certain number of hours doing GSCEs or A-Levels that you are no longer "available for work" and hence that you are not entitled to welfare.
We used to have more or less free university and student grants, the Red, Blue and Yellow Wings have gradually phased in an idiotic tuition fee system and reduced student grants to a derisory level.
Those two measures, whatever their merits or demerits, discourage people from getting "skills".
The Blue-Yellow Wings got rid of the Educational Maintenance Allowance, a very modest payment to people doing A-levels, shortly after getting into government.
So we've now gone round the clock and are taking away welfare from people who don't go to school or college as well.
No doubt they'll square the circle of contradictions by denying welfare payments to people who do have some "skills" on the basis they can't be trying hard enough to get a job, so how's about an unpaid work placement or something?