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Last Updated: Tuesday, 8 January 2008, 20:21 GMT
'What's the point in picking up rubbish?'
By Catherine Marston
BBC News


Jobcentre Plus branch
The Tories would create back-to-work centres for the jobless
Wortley in south Leeds is a typical inner city area with a high number of people living on benefits.

At the local community centre almost every visitor throughout the day has a different reason for being out of work and needing financial support.

Peter Boyle has lived on benefits for 10 years. He is 26, has no qualifications and has never had a job.

He is just the sort of person the Tories believe should be made to take part in a community programme in order for him to continue to receive his benefits.

Peter argues it's impossible to find work as he has no skills and cannot drive.

He says he wants to find employment, but there is nothing suitable ever available.

Peter is an ex-offender and knows what community work can involve, and he is not impressed with David Cameron's proposals.

"What's the point in having to go and pick rubbish up"? he asks.

"If you go to court for doing something wrong you get community service, you're being punished - that's your punishment. So why should others get punished because they are on benefits?"

'Cant be bothered'

Pamela Cargill has worked hard to come off benefits and find a job.

She comes to the community centre to get support and help as she still struggles to make ends meet.

She works as a part-time dinner lady and her husband works nights. They have four children and many financial pressures to cope with.

She says coming off benefits is still a real struggle and she can see why, for many families, it is easier to remain unemployed.

She has found herself in debt and relying heavily on others for financial help just to get back into work.

Pamela has sympathy for those with no choice but to claim benefits, but she says many others are just too lazy to work.

"I do know people, I've known a lot of people, who just sit on their bums. They just cannot be bothered and that really annoys me."

Mr Cameron wants an end to what he calls the "something for nothing" culture, but the transition for many from benefits to work can be a very long and difficult process.



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