Osborne should copy German idea of tax-free 'mini jobs'

Comment

Opinion Digest: Chancellor needs radical ideas; Paralympians didn't get there without state help

LAST UPDATED AT 11:08 ON Fri 24 Aug 2012

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OSBORNE MUST SHAKE UP EMPLOYMENT LAW
FRASER NELSON ON A GOOD GERMAN MODEL
Gerhard Schröder is an unlikely poster boy for the British Conservatives, but the story of how he transformed the German economy can provide important lessons for the Treasury, says Fraser Nelson in The Daily Telegraph. When faced with a stuttering economy, Schröder seized the initiative and announced the biggest shake-up of German employment law in a generation. Now Britain needs to see such leadership from its own Chancellor. The German idea of 'mini jobs' should pique George Osborne's interest. These allow a worker to earn 400 euros a month tax-free on the condition that they can be sacked at any moment. Within a year of the initiative's introduction, half a million more part-time jobs had been created, often leading to full-time employment. Osborne faces a choice: do something radical or go down in history as a failed Chancellor.

REMEMBER WHAT PARALYMPIANS OWE THE STATE
POLLY TOYNBEE ON DISABILITY BENEFIT CUTS
While we celebrate the Paralympians, whose London Games begin next week, we must remember what they needed from the state to get them there, says Polly Toynbee in The Guardian. Polls show public views are hardening against disabled people, because we imagine that benefit fraud has spiralled to extraordinary levels when in fact it stands at one per cent. The coalition's cuts will wreak havoc on the lives of those who lose out. Disability benefits are not given out just to encourage achievement - they are also a necessity for basic survival. As many as 1,100 disabled people died last year after they were found "fit for work". Weighing up society's values, is the risk of one per cent cheating worse than the state wrongly harrassing so many of the genuinely sick?

WHAT IS THE POINT OF THE LIB DEMS?
IAN BIRRELL ON THE PARTY'S LEADERSHIP CRISIS
The Lib Dems don't need a new leader, they need a point, says Ian Birrell in The Independent. Latest figures show that the party now has fewer members than the number of football fans who fill Sunderland's Stadium of Light. And the commendable calm of these stragglers may not last much longer. Not even a long-awaited leadership challenge from Vince Cable will make the difference. What the Lib Dems need is a period of soul-searching over what they stand for and what they can achieve. Negativity over the Conservative platform is not enough; the Lib Dems must stand for something other than the prevention of another party's policies. · 

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Regarding the "mini-jobs", if these go to immigrants then much of the money will head straight out of the country, and some of it may fund insalubrious causes.

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