30 October 2014
Former Tory cabinet minister Lord Norman Tebbit has come out in support of forced labour for the unemployed.
His comments came in a letter to Matt Shardlow, chief executive of charity Buglife, contesting the decline in ragwort.
He said, “I suggest you come to the Norfolk/Suffolk border areas of East Anglia. Landowners who wish to control ragwort face an impossible task when roadside verges are dominated by it to an extent I cannot remember in the past.
“There would be little cost to bring that under control if Neets and low level criminals were required as part of their contribution to the society which finances them, or which they have abused … to uproot this weed.”
Chris Bryant, shadow welfare reform minister said, “Lord Tebbit’s proposal, which effectively equates being out of work with being a criminal, is both offensive and ludicrous. It betrays the deeply toxic attitude the Tories have towards people who rely on the social security net for any period of their life. Rather than acting to end the scourge of insecure, unskilled, low pay jobs, they think up ever more creative ways to demonise those that they have failed.”
The Tories have a proven record in their enthusiasm for forced labour through numerous workfare programmes.