FT–Rowan Williams sees ”˜despair’ in welfare reform

The head of the Anglican Church has made an outspoken intervention in the debate on welfare reform, criticising plans to force the long-term unemployed into four-week work placements.

Rowan Williams, archbishop of Canterbury, said on Sunday that ministers, by putting such pressure on those out of work, could accentuate “a sort of downward spiral of uncertainty, even despair”.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Archbishop of Canterbury, Economy, England / UK, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

8 comments on “FT–Rowan Williams sees ”˜despair’ in welfare reform

  1. InChristAlone says:

    I will admit ignorance about the exact details of this welfare reform but I fail to see what is wrong with forcing people who have been out of work for a long time into these four-week placements. The argument, which I agree with, for welfare is to protect people who in fact can not find work. If people are on welfare for this reason, what argument is there to not put people into these placement programs?

  2. Sarah says:

    How wonderful that Rowan Williams has at last found something that he is really passionate about and can speak out about and attempt to resolve forcefully every single day of the week.

  3. robroy says:

    Rowan talking about secular politics again? Is it just me or are we seeing a pattern here? (See discussion [url=http://new.kendallharmon.net/wp-content/uploads/index.php/t19/article/33099/#comments ]here[/url].)

  4. Sick & Tired of Nuance says:

    Here in the US, I think we should match folks that are on unemployment with local road crews, schools, and libraries (or any other municipal group that needs assistance). They could be temporary teacher’s aids, library assistants, street cleaners, etc. There is dignity in work. To receive long term (99 weeks) of unemployment payments without doing any work tends to destroy self esteem. I think the same of welfare recipients. Unless they truly cannot work, they should be put to work doing something. Until all the trash is picked up, all the community buildings are freshly painted, all the sidewalks are clear of snow, etc. there is plenty of work to keep folks occupied until they find a permanent position. Instead, we support sloth with largess borrowed from our grandchildren. This is shameful. I think Rowan Williams has it exactly wrong. The pressure on those out of work is the feelings of worthlessness that accompany taking money for doing nothing and being a burden on everyone else. All honest work has intrinsic value and dignity. We steal that dignity from people when we just give them a handout (again, unless they truly cannot work). Even the concept of WalMart greeters could provide work at local town halls, etc. Fire watch, stationary security – monitoring cameras, crosswalk guards, playground attendants, the list of useful jobs is endless. Give people work!

    So I saw that there is nothing better for a man than to enjoy his work, because that is his lot. For who can bring him to see what will happen after him? Ecc 3:22

  5. Jeremy Bonner says:

    Sick and Tired,

    I agree with you, but I would point out that this was also the premise of many of the early New Deal work programs (including the Works Progress Administration, the Public Works Administration and the Civilian Conservation Corps), but most of them ended up being canned because the private sector complained about the state unfairly competing with them – CCC held out the longest because there wasn’t an obvious private sector competitor.

    Would not the same complaint arise in relation to a latter-day jobs program?

  6. billqs says:

    How dare you give the unemployed jobs! Don’t you have any compassion! uggghhhh… What was up with ++RW, did he not have any sharia law this week to champion?

  7. Sick & Tired of Nuance says:

    There could be a nonprofit NGO organized quickly enough. It could be designed to place unemployed workers in temporary positions (while they continued to look for better work in their areas of speciality). The NGO could receive the unemployment insurance funds and distribute them as “pay” to the workers. Then, municipalities could put the jobs out for bid and the NGO and private companies could compete for the work. The bid could stipulate that all workers for these temporary projects must be hired from a pool of the unemployed.

    I believe that something like the CCC could work again and the funding could be from the same pool of money that the unemployment compensation comes from. I am an amateur genealogist and an awful lot of the historical material that I use on a regular basis was compiled by folks in the WPA. It isn’t perfect, but I think that what I outlined would be viable and allow for private companies (like Osten Temporary Services or Kelly Girls) to compete with the NGO for those same dollars. What I think is bad is paying people for 99 weeks to do nothing. I think it hurts them and demeans them. Which is worse, the dole or a jobs program payed for with the same money? I think so long as it was temporary work, it wouldn’t be a big issue.

  8. David Keller says:

    #’s 4,5 and 7–(Sign along now) “Look for the union label”. That’s why it will never happen, especially under the current regime in DC.