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Chancellor George Osborne has announced that he will commit the Conservative party to targeting ‘full employment’.

Speaking at Tilbury Port, Essex on Monday 31 March, the Chancellor said that he had plans for tax and welfare changes that would help achieve this goal.

Although declining to define exactly what he meant by ‘full employment’ – which has numerous definitions – he did reveal that the goal was for Britain to have the highest employment rate in the G7.

There was an emphasis on encouraging the unemployed to get off the dole by making it harder and less profitable to claim benefits.

Mr Osborne said:

“We will ask many of the long term unemployed to do community work in return for their benefits… They will be gaining useful work experience and there’s an important principle here: if you want something out, you’ve got to put something in.

“All of this is bringing back the principles that our welfare state was originally based on – something for something, not something for nothing. That’s fair to the people claiming benefits – and fair to taxpayers who are paying for them.”

The Trade Union Congress (TUC) commented that, although they welcomed the Chancellor’s sentiment, that it would be extremely hard to create the extra one million jobs needed.

Richard Exell, Senior Policy Officer at the TUC, said:

“You can’t get people priced into work by cutting benefits when the problem is wages are too low.”

Photo by Carol