“This will give the left the issue they have desperately been seeking,” one government source admitted.However, Mr Darling launched a pre-emptive strike against his left-wing critics last night, accusing them of adopting a “patronising attitude” which consigned claimants to a life on benefit.He told The Independent that previous “crusades which ended in heroic failure” were of no help to those on benefit. Whips believe that 50 Labour MPs may rebel against the Bill during its passage through Parliament. There would be compulsory interviews at other “milestones” – for example, when the child of a single mother reached infant or secondary school age.The unexpectedly tough measures in today’s Bill will fuel a Labour backbench rebellion against what critics will see as a further step towards a United States-style “workfare” system. No claimant would be allowed to stay on benefit unless they attended a back-to-work interview at least every five years. The new “single gateway” system, due to take effect in April next year, will be even tougher. Previously, ministers have said only that claimants will be “asked” to attend one interview. But Mr Darling is convinced that tougher sanctions are needed to encourage the one million lone parents on income support and 2.8 million people on disability benefits back into work.The 1.3 million unemployed can already lose their Jobseeker’s Allowance for between two to four weeks if they turn down a reasonable offer of work.
Our new contract will require people to attend an interview as a condition of receiving benefit and to consider the options available to them.”
His Welfare Reform Bill, to be published today, will give Mr Darling wide-ranging powers to force all benefit claimants to attend interviews at what he regards as appropriate intervals. SINGLE MOTHERS and the disabled will lose all their social security benefits if they fail to turn up for regular interviews aimed at getting them back to work, the Government will announce today. Writing in The Independent, Alistair Darling, the Secretary of State for Social Security, reveals: “The new regime will be far tougher than people thought … When people say a film is British and financed in the UK, you will still get sales agents madly selling off the rights to foreign distributors.”The nominees, page 7Leading article, Review, page 3.
Of his own films, The Wings of the Dove (1997) was 100 per cent financed by Miramax, and The Madness of King George and Much Ado About Nothing had the majority of their financing from the US.”It’s not where the profits go,” he said, “it’s the labour and talent you use, and the locations Concentrating on the finance can be very misleading. All of the locations were in the UK, and of the $25m, $20m was spent in the UK.”Mr Parfitt said many “British” films were financed from the US. In fact, the entire crew was British, from the carpenter to the director, and so were all of the cast, bar three – Gwyneth Paltrow, Ben Afleck and Geoffrey Rush. To get the certificate we had to meet certain criteria as regards use of labour. It issues a quaintly titled “Certificate of British Nature Of A Film” to films that the Government considers British under the Films Act 1985.Shakespeare In Love has a certificate, as do other British Oscar nominees, such as Hilary and Jackie.David Parfitt, the British producer of Shakespeare In Love, said: “We are most definitely a British film. “We would rather not talk about what is, or what is not, a British film,” said a spokesman yesterday.However, the department’s actions speak more patriotically than its words.