By Adrian Croft
Editing by Ralph Boulton
December 18 2008
Britain will resist a move by the European Parliament to cap the working week at 48 hours, Prime Minister Gordon Brown said on Thursday, saying a cap would be “bad for business.”
The European Parliament voted in Strasbourg on Wednesday to limit the working week, abolishing opt-outs from the policy secured by Britain and some other European Union governments.
Brown said he had discussed the assembly’s vote with visiting Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek, whose country takes over the EU presidency for the first half of next year.
“Freedom of choice over working hours has operated successfully in the UK and a number of member states for many years and I continue to support the opt-out which gives that choice to UK workers,” Brown told a news conference.
“I believe it’s wrong to take away from workers the chance to work longer and earn more if they wish and ending the opt-out is bad for business,” he said.
The European Parliament voted to cap the working week at 48 hours after a three-year transition period.
Talks between parliament and EU states are likely to begin by February and can last a maximum of eight weeks. If there is no deal, the existing EU law and opt-outs still stand.
(Reporting by Adrian Croft; Editing by Ralph Boulton)
“So we together will continue to defend that position,” he said, apparently referring to Topolanek who stood at his side.
EU states, which have a joint say with the assembly on the working time measure, had already agreed among themselves to allow people to work more than 48 hours a week if they want to.
Last-ditch talks between parliament and governments will now begin, with the outcome uncertain.
Britain was the first to secure an opt-out under the current EU rules adopted in 1993 so it can allow people to work more than 48 hours a week. Fourteen other EU states later acquired similar opt-outs for different sectors.
Seems to me Gordon wants to work people to death. 48 hours is a long work week. That’s working 6 days at 8 hours a day.
So Gordon thinks people should what work 7 days a week or 10 12 hour days? Either way that is very stressful for anyone.
After working a week like that and going home to children could be very bad for the children. Mom or dad just might be pretty crankie. No wonder kids in the UK are unhappy.
He also thinks single moms should be out there working now too. There are more job losses happening then one can imagine, and they too will be working how many hours a day. The man is way off in my opinion.
He certainly wants to create more problems then solve in the Employment area. Of course sending single mother out to work will create cheaper labour for sure. It is also bad for the children and abuse will go up only he is obviously to blind to know that. It also will not solve the poverty problem either. It may for that matter make it worse.
If everyone worked a 40 hour work week more people would have a job. They would also be under less stress as well. Just a point of interest.
UK jobless figures surge past 1 million
December 17 2008
By David Milliken and Christina Fincher
The number of Britons out of work and claiming benefit rose for a tenth consecutive month in November and by the largest amount since March 1991, official data showed on Wednesday.
The leap of 75,700 on the month was much more than expected and took the total number on jobless benefit to 1.072 million, surpassing the psychologically-important one million mark for the first time since 2001.
The figures confirm anecdotal evidence that the pace of redundancies has accelerated as firms shed workers in the face of tumbling demand, and will give added urgency to the political debate over how to handle Britain’s recession.
“I think what’s interesting is the scale of job losses this early in the cycle,” said George Buckley, chief UK economist at Deutsche Bank.
“Unemployment is normally a lagging indicator so to see so many job losses this early in the cycle is extremely worrying.”
The pound hit a record low against the euro after the data, which coincided with minutes from the Bank of England which showed policymakers had discussed an even bigger rate cut this month than the one percentage point cut it enacted.
The broader ILO rate of unemployment rose to 6 percent in the three months to October from 5.8 percent the previous month. That took the total to 1.864 million.
Worse is almost certain to come. Bank of England policymaker David Blanchflower has forecast unemployment will rise above 2 million on this measure by Christmas and peak above 3 million in 2010.
In a further sign of a weakening job market, the number of vacancies fell to its lowest level since records began in 2001.
Amit Kara, an economist at UBS, described the figures as “absolutely horrible” and said unemployment would continue to rise for another two years.
“We are in for a period of prolonged pain,” he said.
This is just Pure Foolishness. Considering the Job losses already happening in the UK.
Benefit reforms ‘mean fair deal’
Plans to force more benefit claimants to prepare for work or face losing payments are a “fair deal”, says Work and Pensions Secretary James Purnell.
He said private firms would be paid to get people back to work while those unemployed for a year would have to do four weeks’ full-time activity.
Most people on incapacity benefit would be expected to attend job interviews.
The Conservatives said they would back the plans in the face of an expected “big rebellion” from Labour MPs.
A welfare reform bill is expected to be published in January and any changes would come in in 2010/11.
Outlining the welfare white paper, Mr Purnell told MPs it would adopt in full recommendations made by the Freud Review last year, which said private and voluntary organisations should be paid to get people back to work.
It also supported the “vision” of last week’s Gregg Review, which said most people on incapacity benefit and lone parents on income support should be looking for work or preparing for it through courses and regular interviews.
Mr Purnell told MPs unemployed people would be expected to do four weeks’ full-time activity after a year out of work. There would also be pilot schemes requiring Jobseekers’ Allowance claimants to work for their benefits after two years.
Under the plans drug users would get a treatment allowance instead of unemployment benefits – and would have to show they were addressing their addiction to receive them.
Mr Purnell told MPs: “We want virtually everyone who is claiming benefits to be preparing for work or looking for work. It is a fair deal, more support in return for higher expectations.”
He added: “Today, when the national effort is about a global downturn, we can no more afford to waste taxpayers’ money on those who play the system than they could then.
“But most of all we cannot afford to waste a single person’s talent.”
Mr Purnell said mistakes had been made in the 1980s and 1990s when hundreds of thousands of people were put on inactive benefits to keep the unemployment count down.
He said £1.3bn would be spent helping people find work but there would be “increasing requirements” on people the longer they are out of a job.
“After a year, everyone will be allocated to a private or voluntary provider, and be expected to do four weeks’ full-time activity. After two years, we will pilot requiring people to work full-time for their benefit.”
But the Lib Dems said proposals in the Gregg Review to encourage single parents with children as young as one to prepare for work were “a step too far”.
The Conservative work and pensions spokesman Chris Grayling also said making lone parents of one-year-olds prepare for work was “just plain wrong”.
But he told Mr Purnell the government had adopted Tory policies, adding: “That is why I can assure you today that there is no doubt, we know you are going to face a big rebellion on the Labour backbenches, can I assure you that we will give these proposals our support.”
Lib Dem work and pensions spokesman Jenny Willott said: “We need drastic reform of the welfare state, but this should be achieved without isolating vulnerable groups”.
I think this move is 10 years too late. The government should have acted on this issue years ago Les Challoner, St Helens
The Gregg review recommended that everyone on benefits, apart from the severely ill or disabled, some carers and parents of children under one, should either be actively looking for or preparing themselves for work.
Mr Purnell has stressed that single parents would not be forced to seek work unless there was adequate childcare available to them.
The government faces opposition from Labour backbenchers like John McDonnell who said the government was “dismantling the welfare state”.
The Parkinson’s Disease Society, which said the illness was commonly misunderstood because of its “fluctuating and unpredictable nature”, urged ministers to ensure those making decisions to impose sanctions were properly trained to deal with complex conditions like Parkinson’s.
Plaid Cymru MP Hywel Williams said many of the proposals seemed to be “inappropriate and unworkable”, especially during the economic downturn.
He said fewer than 20,000 job vacancies were advertised in Wales while there were 330,000 working age people on benefit.
“Simply put, there aren’t enough jobs for everyone and the situation seems to be worsening,” he said.
For the Scottish National Party, John Mason MP said the reforms risked demonising the unemployed.
“While we will look cautiously and constructively at the wider proposals, half-baked and draconian reforms are not the answer,” he said.
The we must take into consideration What was reported in the UNICEF Reports 2008
Childcare is bad for your baby, working parents are warned
A Unicef study suggests that government policy is at odds with the developmental needs of children .
The report warned that it was the poorest families that were most pressured to make out-of-home childcare arrangements, but did not have the funds to secure high-quality care.
Hence the children suffer.
- So there are no jobs
- Poor childcare
- Now Brown wants to stress mothers even more which will in fact end up causing more child abuse. This is a fact.
‘Work for Welfare” programs are nothing less then a form of slavery to say the least. Especially if he models it after the US ones. I guess Brown wants slavery like the US.
There is much abuse by so called employers towards the Work For Welfare Recipiants. There have been thousands upon thousands of cases of course they never make it into the media. That is hidden quite well but it is a fact.
The cost of program in itself it a waste of money as well.
If they want to help single mothers give them the opportunity to real education, not low paying jobs which is all they usually get, if they even ever get one at all. Most are just moved from job placement to job placement and never get hired anyway. Why hire person when you can get a new slave every six months for free.
Of course the Government will make the program sound like the best thing since the creation of Cheese when in fact the true nature of it is cheap slave labour.
It also leads to job losses as employers have and will lay off or fire workers and replace them with Work For Welfare Recipients. Oh yes Work For Welfare is a fabulous program if your a slaver.