Peter Hoskin

The Tories should release the second Freud Review

The Tories should release the second Freud Review
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Now the Tories have nabbed David Freud from the Government, they have the perfect opportunity to recast the welfare debate for the recession years.  As Alex Barker pointed out in an excellent blog post for the FT yesterday, they certainly need to.  After all, recent findings suggest that the Freud-prescribed workfare measures aren't working quite as well as many hoped they would as the downturn takes hold. 

Now, that's not to say the welfare reform agenda should be jettisoned.  There's overwhelming evidence that it works better than centralised alternatives, and with unemployment levels shooting ever upwards - and with some 5.2 million Brits on out-of-work benefits - there's a clear need for drastic action.  But, if the country's going to get out of its current mess, there's also a clear need for a new framework, a refinement of Freud's orignal vision. 

But where to start?  One idea may be to work closely with those private sector organisations which are actually expanding during the recession - such as KFC, which announced the creation of 9,000 new jobs today.  If the Tories can pull it off, there's a chance they can steal a march on Labour in this vital, and closely-contested, policy area.