The long-awaited report by a government committee, set up to find ways of getting more people into work in the short-term, appears to have left no stone unturned.
Not content with looking at practical ways of boosting the size of the workforce – more childcare, tax penalties for people taking early retirement, etc – the commission has turned its attention to redundancy law, retirement age, the tax system, unemployment benefit, pension premiums and the education system.
In short, it suggests that practically every area of life which could possibly affect employment needs overhauling and reform.
This is where the commission, led by TNT boss Peter Bakker, has probably shot itself in the foot. The initial reaction from the unions is that they can see good things in the short-term proposals, but when the commission make long-term recommendations, it really has lost the plot.
By including such controversial items as abolishing unemployment benefit, redundancy law reforms (already dropped and now back again virtually unchanged) and raising the retirement age, the commission has muddied the waters.
Any sensible suggestions on how to get more of the long-term unemployed into work right now are likely to be lost in the debate which will arise about the rest.
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