Sunday 28 April 2013


Amongst the hottest topics of the day are, undoubtedly, unemployment, economic growth and the welfare bill.  There might be at least a grain of truth in Ed Milliband’s latest pronouncements on these issues but, so far, all we have heard from both sides is, as usual, a lot of political posturing aimed, primarily, at attracting voters.

One of the charities I work for recently submitted an application for government funding for a project that would have created five new jobs – at a cost to the taxpayer of well below the minimum wage for each job.  We were refused on the grounds that our project wasn't of “high enough priority”.

Now, here’s a thought!  Surely it is not beyond the wit of man to devise a scheme whereby money is made available to registered charities to enable them to employ people who are on benefits.  Why give money to people for doing nothing, even when they want to work, when that same money could be paid to those same people for doing useful work for good causes and for public benefit?

We keep hearing that it is the private sector that must create all the new jobs that we've lost in the public sector and that we now so desperately need.  What about the third sector, the Charitable sector?  Without a doubt there is plenty of useful and beneficial work that needs to be done, throughout the country – and such a scheme could result in a massive reduction of unemployment.  Pay these new charity employees a “living wage”, incorporate strong elements of training into the scheme – we’re onto a real winner here!

Come on all you politicians, just think about it!  There is more to life (and more to the economy) than just business and growth.  Charities contribute immensely to the quality of all our lives and, in many cases, they are now being expected to do the government’s job.

It wouldn't cost the taxpayer a penny more to introduce such a scheme. It could actually save money – and all our lives, especially those of the poorest, would be so much the better for it.