Help to Work: Your reaction to new unemployment rules

Claimants queuing outside job centre

People who have been unemployed for at least two years face cuts to their benefits unless they visit a job centre every day, work for free or undertake training.

The government says the new scheme - called Help to Work - is "absolutely not" intended to punish jobless people.

BBC News website readers share their thoughts.

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Lewis Evans, Trowbridge

Lewis Evans

I live in Wiltshire and have been on benefits for three years.

There are very few minimum-wage jobs here and all receive a very large number of applicants.

These jobs are outnumbered by calls for engineers, programmers, electricians and unsustainable commission-only vacancies.

I'm rather tired of being looked down on when the problem isn't that people are on benefits, the problem is a lack of minimum-wage jobs.

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Jenny Salvo, Leamington Spa

Jenny Salvo

I have been on Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) for approximately 18 months, and I am currently enrolled in the existing work programme.

I am getting such great support from the work programme that I am hoping that I will not reach the two-year deadline which will see me needing to enrol on the Help to Work scheme.

If I did reach the two-year mark, I would not be enrolling on the two-year Help to Work scheme.

I think I would feel so demoralised by being asked to attend the hellish Job Centre everyday that I would instead be doing the following - rent out my house, and move myself and my son in to live with my parents while I seek employment without feeling treated like a useless child.

There is no way I would enrol. The government will get everyone off of JSA by demeaning them in this manner. this is not Help to Work, this is punishment and humiliation.

I have made bad choices which have lead to my current situation, but I am actively seeking employment, yet I feel treated like a child under the current, and new to-be-implemented, government JSA legislation.

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Graham Jowett, Buxton

Graham Jowett

I'm retired and work as a volunteer for the Citizens Advice Bureau and a housing charity for care leavers and victims of domestic violence.

The benefits system claims to be supporting people into work but in reality is punishing those whose lives are chaotic, have no family support, have learning difficulties or mental health problems.

If you cannot organise your life - keep appointments, read public transport timetables, get internet access regularly, you will be punished by being sanctioned and having no money at all.

In addition, many of my clients live in rural areas so will be affected by increasing transport costs, incurred by having to travel to the Job Centre on a daily basis.

What we need is a carrot-rather-than stick solution. Give people better support with training and other assistance.

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Ian Muschamp

Ian Muschamp, Bolton

I have been unemployed for three years. During this time, I've been on a work programme, done a retail course and I've been sent to do Sage computerised accounts Level One and Two courses - despite doing 20 years in an office doing Sage accounts.

I am also studying on a one-morning-a-week communication skills course, which finishes this week.

I am an experienced accounts person with no letters after my name. All I need is a steady job for four years until I retire.

Three agencies have told me they will not offer me a position as I've been unemployed for more than six months.

I think it is unfair having to go down to the Job Centre every day as I go on the computer at home every day looking for work. Also, who is going to pay for my bus fare each day to go to the Job Centre?

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More of your comments

I am a chartered IT professional and I cannot find a job! I was made redundant from my last full time role in 2009. Both the careers adviser at the job centre and the staff on the work programme have stated they understand nothing on my CV and cannot help. The work programme is clearly geared towards those with no skills or qualifications and they have no idea what to do when someone with three sets of post-nominals and 20+ years of experience is sent their way. What does the Department for Work and Pensions expect me to achieve by forcing me to sign-on daily? 'John'

Whilst this new scheme is another attempt to ensure that all long-term employees are encouraged to try any reasonable work, the government needs to stop people claiming that they have applied for x number of jobs, when in truth, those jobs were wholly unrealistic or inappropriate. The applications we get are so often time wasters who just need to make it look as though they have applied for a specified number of jobs, irrespective of the relevance. Colin Perkins, Egham, Surrey

Interviews by Bernadette McCague

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