The current debate on welfare throws up some interesting metaphors. Is it a safety net? Is it a ladder? The problem is that for many people the safety net holds them under the waterline and the ladder only has one rung.
What people need to move forward is the feeling that they will be better off if they get a job. But many of the jobs on offer are low wages, short hours contracts, with no security even if you start a job.
What many people on better incomes don’t realise is how low wages are at the moment. And how hard it is for people to take a job when there is no guarantee how many hours on offer or how long it will last.
35 hours a week on minimum wage comes in at less than £215 a week. Or less than £11,100 a year. Companies now often offer zero hours contracts. The government is set to extend the unfair dismissal limit two two years employment up from one year.
We need to improve the lives of those in work if we are to help people move off benefits into work.