The Telegraph announced today with reference to George Osborne's plans:
Welfare claimants will have to "work for the dole" by ... picking up litter ... And, quoting George Osborne's speech: "we are saying we are going to help you get into work, but we're going to ask for something in return".
The new policy seems to ignore completely why some people have been unemployed for a long time (apparently we're talking of between 60,000 and 200,000) - why they are "not employable". Already, the frighteningly high percentage of veterans among the homeless in London doesn't seem to generate more than shrugging shoulders. Where is the Covenant???
Service leavers face many prejudices - forget about all the praise (team work, reliability). Supposedly, they can't think for themselves and are inflexible. And a potential liability - a mental breakdown waiting to happen. That is complete nonsense, of course. What isn't nonsense is that they have long fulfilled their duty to this country and shouldn't be punished further. They would love to "do something in return" - that's inherent in the work they have been doing! We owe them - not the other way round.
But picking up litter???
Some of them will have had to pick up a lot worse - collecting body parts after explosions; cleaning vehicles after an injured comrade had been taken away. They might actually do the job properly. But cleaning up after people who litter the streets just because they couldn't care less - that is outrageous.
Instead - if they struggle to find or keep work, if they have trouble integrating, offer them the support they need and deserve. Get civilian employers to engage with them. Help them become part of civvie street - not clean it!