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A Monday Morning Miscellany

Firstly, the Dept of Work and Pensions has come up with a choice for the nation's hard drug users - being under the influence or getting a job. It is not really a choice, as 'The Welfare Reform Bill, currently before Parliament, includes provisions to pilot a new mandatory employment-support programme for problem drug users'. Reasonable enough, I suppose, as I am not mad keen on facilitating the habits of the nation's users. Here, lurking in the footnotes is the interesting bit - 'Evidence suggests that over three-quarters of the around 400,000 heroin and crack cocaine users in Britain are claiming welfare benefits'. Quite how loosely 'welfare benefits' are defined is not known, but I suppose credit is due to the 100,000 who combine the needle / pipe with at least relative economic success.

The TUC reckons that the worst recession since the 1930s is insufficient to keep it occupied and is fretting about climate change: "but few have considered what such a dramatic change in the UK's weather will mean for their staff and the jobs that they do"...The report's researchers asked both private and public sector organisations what they were doing to adapt to climate change. Many said they were beginning to think about what climate change meant for future business planning, markets, products and services...Of the 134 organisations interviewed, only one had given serious attention to how their staff might be affected".

Given that even the most melodramatic of the climate change Jeremiahs are not predicting the 10 plagues of Egypt within the next few years, it shows that business has a degree of common sense in that it is not measuring up key (nor, indeed, non-key workers) for NBC suits. What the TUC thinks is coming down the pike is something like this: "The report says that some people working in factories or on the transport network already have to work in hot and poorly ventilated conditions, while those who work outside run the risk of increased health risk caused by direct sunlight and searing summer heat. Employers will need to provide their staff with improved work clothing, headwear and sun creams, and uniforms will need to be adapted so that staff can work comfortably as our summers warm". Barber reckons that this will come to pass by the middle of the century, so let us say 30 years time, which does seem like ample time to sort out the air con and lay in with a few hats rather than take all the dire prognostications to heart and act now.



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