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Social welfare cuts for young unemployed 'creates incentive': Danish parties

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Social welfare cuts for young unemployed 'creates incentive': Danish parties
A municipality job centre in Copenhagen. File photo: Thomas Lekfeldt/Scanpix
11:46 CEST+02:00
Two of the three parties in Denmark’s coalition government want to reduce social welfare payments for young people not considered ready to enter the job market.

The Liberal Alliance and Conservative parties, the two smaller parties in the three-party coalition, want people between the ages of 25 and 29 to be given less in social welfare once they are declared ‘capable of activity’ (aktivitetsparat), a term used to describe somebody not currently suitable to enter the full-time job market, according to a report by newspaper Berlingske.

People falling into this category currently receive three times more in social welfare than an equivalent person considered able to work (jobparat), according to an analysis by liberal thinktank Cebos, which looked at the difference between people in the two categories living with parents or guardians and not providing for others.

A person in the able-to-work category receives 3,500 kroner ($500) per month while somebody not considered capable of working receives 11,100 kroner ($1,590), says the report.

Once not living at home, this changes to 7,200 kroner ($1,030) for the former category, while the latter remains unchanged.

According to Cepos, 43,000 people under the age of 30 are currently covered by the unemployment benefit (kontanthjælp) system, of which 61 percent are considered not ready to work full-time.

Somebody falling into the ‘capable of activity’ rather than full-time working category is considered to have social or work-related problems that prevent them from fully entering the employment or education sector, but may be able to in the longer term. The social support individuals in this category receive from their local municipalities is aimed at facilitating this.

Liberal Alliance’s employment spokesperson Laura Lindahl told news agency Ritzau that the amount of money being paid to young people in this category should be cut.

“It would create the right incentives in our system. Incentives should be to get a job or qualification. At the moment we are rewarding people for being as far away from the job market as possible,” she said.

Lindahl’s counterpart in the Conservative Party, Rasmus Jarlov, said that he was also prepared to bring down welfare payments to young people not ready to work.

“We are risking people staying away from education and the job market because it gives them a larger income in the short term,” Jarlov told Berlingske.

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