More NMW Thoughts

Following on from the government’s (now launched) scheme to bribe employers into taking on unemployed youngsters, the Welsh ‘government’ – in an effort not to be out done – has gone one step further and will subsidise the entire cost of employing someone under 24 for a period of 6 months:

The Jobs Growth Wales programme commences in April 2012 and will create 4,000 jobs a year for job ready young people throughout Wales. The programme will cater for young people that are job ready but have had difficulty securing employment. Participants will be paid at or above the national minimum wage for a minimum of 25 hours per week. Young people will be employed for the duration of the programme and the jobs created must be additional to, and not replace, positions that would otherwise be filled.

Whilst some may no doubt see it as admirable that the State has stepped in to cover the cost of employing people who have otherwise been unable to get a job, my reactions can be summed up thusly:

  1. By insisting on these being new jobs, the tax payer is going to be subsiding jobs in the private sector that probably otherwise wouldn’t exist. Are we going to find ourselves with a glut of experienced paperclip shufflers from October onwards?
  2. By subsidising the entire cost, the Welsh ‘government’ appears to be saying that the actual value of the labour involved – and thus the value of the job done – is zero.
  3. This is further proof – as if it were needed – that the rate of the National Minimum Wage (£6.08 for those over 21) is far too high and that people (and the private sector) in Wales would clearly benefit from it being (if it is to continue to exist) set at a rate more commensurate with the costs of the local area.

Further food for thought comes in the shape of potential legal action from those who are 25 and over on the grounds of discrimination.

Does anyone, outside of the most deluded, still think that government interference is a) properly thought through and b) in any way useful?


  1. Demelza says:

    My sister works as a volunteer in a cardiac re-hab programme. It is a valuable programme, and people who’ve had heart attacks often start the programme shuffling into the room, and finish it a few weeks later mobile, able to go to the shops etc, understanding what they can do, what they can’t do, and resolved to live their lives rather than exist as invalids. It is an NHS programme which costs relatively little to provide and gives huge value to the patients. There is no charge, and it is massively oversubscribed.

    Given the benefit to the patients and that the programme is oversubscribed, it makes her angry when enrolled patients just don’t bother to turn up. Some patients do the right thing: they let them know if they will be away, so they can manage numbers. Others just don’t show. She has begged the management to let them charge a token sum (very little would make the programme self financing), or even to levy a charge which is refunded when people show up, but that conflicts with the “free at the point of delivery” principle.

    If the Welsh government are making their Job Growth programme totally free to employers, it will fundamentally change the relationship between “employer” and candidate. What misguided fools.

    • Misanthrope Girl says:

      GPs have the same problem as your sister describes and every so often a discussion about charging patients to see their GP is mooted – invariably shot down in the same way. I might try and put my thoughts down on the matter in a future post.

      As for the original topic, all this will achieve (if it fulfils its goal) is that the taxpayer will be paying for 4,000 people more money than they would do if said people just sat at home on the dole with the only result being a slight dip in the unemployment numbers until the money (currently budgeted at £75m) runs out. There is no certainty that at the end of the 6 month period that any of these people will be retained at the expense of the company so they might well find themselves back down the job centre.

      All-in-all, another expensive farce.

  2. JuliaM says:

    “Further food for thought comes in the shape of potential legal action from those who are 25 and over on the grounds of discrimination.”

    I wonder if there’s a ‘get out clause’ (as there is in sex and race descrimination legislation) that will allow this to be circumvented if deemed ‘necessary’ by someone?

    • Misanthrope Girl says:

      Oh, I’m sure that the ‘for the greater good’ argument will be the government’s defence – should it be necessary.

  3. Paul Coombes says:

    When has government interference ever proved useful?

  4. john malpas says:

    In Australia they are talking of bribing employers to hire old people.

    • Misanthrope Girl says:

      Whilst the news cycle in the UK no longer appears to care about age discrimination (amongst men at least), I suspect the principle of being over the hill at 50 hasn’t completely gone away – something which seems quite silly given that the average age of the population is on the increase.

      It is possible that then, that with the age at which the State pays out on pensions probably heading towards the mid 70s in the not-too-distant future, that similar schemes will be implemented for older people.