Job Centre Plus
‘Just another number’
The Right Hon Gordon Brown MP,
10 Downing Street,
Dear Prime Minister,
Thank you for your early notification that unemployment is expected to rise so sharply over then next year or so.
We stand ready to rise to the challenge of helping the almost totally unemployable people you refer to into gainful employment for probably the first time in their lives. It is also worthy of note that you have so quickly gained cross party support for your proposals.
Be in no doubt this task will be monumental and will take great courage on your part to see this through. Although you are trying to help people and your fellow MPs are in full agreement, those outside the Westminster village may not see it on the same light.
First the target unemployed. As I understand it there are 646 potentials, of which some 40-60% are at direct risk of finding themselves out of work by summer 2010.
As I also understand it however, there will be a new total of 650 after the election. So 4 more jobs have actually been created. It is nice to see an employer expanding the worker base when all others are being forced to cut back.
The fall-out though will be that somewhere between 259 and 388 MPs (maybe substantially more) will be left with no work. Having reviewed their current jobs I fear there are no transferable skills here. Few employers outside the Palace of Westminster are actively looking for vacuous blowhard windbags at present. Especially when they’ve been caught with their fingers in the till! But we will do our best.
Second is the subject of logistics. We would need a Job Centre set up within Westminster. It is far more efficient than setting up specialist centres in each constituency you understand. So a staff of about 20 would be all that is needed. I would go as far as to say a re-branding to “Job Centre Platinum” for this one centre might not go amiss.
Also those who lose their seats will need to attend regularly until they find gainful employment. I suggest an open account for each to claim for eating, living and travelling expenses etc whilst engaged in job-hunting.
They would also need to claim for housing, gardeners, cleaners etc.
As the numbers are relatively few then formal accounting can be kept to an absolute minimum, if required at all.
All of the people concerned would normally fall well outside the financial rules for inclusion in our operations. But these are interesting times. So a change in the law will be needed to exclude ex-Mps from these rather stringent requirements. This will present no problem as I know Parliament is a past master at looking after it’s own interests first.
Lastly to timing. Although the politics concerned is your call, we suggest that this initiative be buried amongst some bad news. Or be released just before Christmas when peoples’ minds are on other things. It would not otherwise go down well at all in these straitened times.
I hope this is of use.