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I'm Jane McIntyre, a voiceover and writer, formerly an award-winning BBC radio newsreader and producer. My blog covers life, love and loss; travel, coffee and chocolate; with some heartfelt pieces in the mix about my late dad, who had dementia. Just a click away, I'm half of the team behind - two empty nesters who whizzed round the world in 57 days.

Monday 30 September 2013

Oi George!

...couple of things. Won`t keep you long because I know you`ll be busy at the conference.

OK..`Help to Work.` It`s like this. I can`t imagine how soul destroying it must be to spend a month, a year...a couple of years looking for a job.

I guess, after a while, you feel pretty rejected and worthless. Over the years,I`ve talked to lots of good, honest, hardworking people who`ve written hundreds of job applications. Sometimes, they don`t even get an acknowledgement, never mind an interview. It chips away at your confidence. Makes you wonder if you`ll ever feel the pride of a hard earned pay cheque again.

It`s rarely their `fault`, of course. It`s a combination of economic factors and sometimes, bloody bad luck. But weeks roll into months, then years and now, before they know it, they could find themselves on this new `Help to Work` thing. Look,everyone knows we`re in dire straits. No one wants to see countless millions handed out willy nilly to people who have no intention of working . OK, so now you say that there`ll be no `something for nothing` any more. And that people who qualify for the Help to Work scheme will be doing `useful work to put something back into their community; making meals, for the elderly, clearing up litter, working for a local charity.`

You`ll be careful,though, won`t you, George? Because I can think of some people who`d feel the whole tone of this `launch` sounds like they`re in trouble. To blame. Being punished. You can understand where I`m coming from, can`t you? I did a quick check of what goes on during community service, and the community payback schemes. The ones you get put on when you`ve committed a crime.

Various tasks...including `removing graffiti` and `clearing wasteland`.Sprucing up places like community centres. Granted, there`s a supervisor watching over you, and you have to wear a hi-vis vest. But you can see how people who are long term unemployed might just feel that they`d drifted into a community service scheme for criminals while they`re out, cleansing the community on your `Help to Work` scheme,can`t you?

Oh and the other thing. It`s one for David, really but I guess you got involved...and you`ll probably see him for a quick snifter tonight, so pass it on if you get a mo--thanks.

It`s about that tax break thing for about four million married couples.Worth a couple of hundred quid a year.
I know David sees it as giving married couples a bit of a pat on the back for entering a fine institution..and that many senior Tories see marriage as the best way to give children a strong start and a more stable future.

It`s just that....not all of us feel that way.

I know you`ll be shocked but I think my daughters are turning out just fine, in spite of the fact their parents never married. Some people choose not to. Many people are raising fantastic, happy children , *even though* they never walked up an aisle. Many more are in single parent relationships, either through choice, or after the trauma of divorce or bereavement. So...can you see how giving a gold star to families who`ve done it `the Sam n` Dave way` feels pretty unfair? Marriage isn`t a rock solid guarantee of health,happiness or stability--for the couple, or their kids. Help families in need, please, whatever shape, size or gender they happen to be. Marriage is one way. But please don`t try and tell us it`s the `best` way.

Cheers. Enjoy Manchester. Check out Primark. Massive. :)

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