Grayling on offensive over jobs scheme
Employment minister Chris Grayling has gone on the offensive against critics of Tesco's role in the Government’s back-to-work schemes.
In an open letter to Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee, published by PoliticsHome, Mr Grayling said her support for the protest movement against the supermarket 'defies comprehension'.
Tesco this week announced it would pay people on its new work experience scheme and claimed its intentions had been misunderstood. But campaigners have targeted the supermarket chain with sit-ins and other protests.
In his letter, Mr Grayling says the scheme is “proving to be one of the best and quickest ways to help young unemployed people into jobs in the face of a frequent reluctance by employers to hire someone with little or no experience”.
He adds: “I appreciate that you are strongly opposed to many of the reforms that we are pushing through, and that we will generally disagree. But writing an article backing the destruction of one of the most effective schemes we have for helping young people get into work at a time when we have a real problem with youth unemployment defies my comprehension.”
Ms Toynbee hit back at Mr Grayling on PoliticsHome
, saying "few who know how the programme actually works would recognise Chris Grayling's description" of it.
"I supported Michael Heseltine's programme, which was also dubbed workfare in 1996, because he obeyed three vital principles for a good work scheme: people were paid extra above their benefits for working, the work was for charities or communities, so no danger of displacing minimum wage shelf-stackers at Tesco and the pressure was applied at a time when jobs were plentiful. You have disregarded all three."