Not that he will mind in the slightest, but Stephen Stubbs has just blown his chance of national fame. He was being followed by a television crew documenting how hard it is to find work, especially for a partially sighted 47-year-old living in Darlington. Mr Stubbs’s story was both inspiring and heartbreaking: he refused to accept a life of welfare dependency and applied for 2,000 jobs. Two months ago, he was enrolled in the Government’s controversial work programme and might have lost his benefits had the system failed him. But something went badly right: he found a job.
The television crew, who might have expected to follow a broken man through the bowels of a recession, instead ended up filming a new worker cheerily shopping for ties. The idea of a 4pm-2am shift working for the Student Loans Company might dismay many of us, but Mr Stubbs spoke as if he’d won the lottery. “If I can do it, anyone can,” he told Channel 4’s cameras. He exaggerates only slightly. Yesterday, the Government revealed the results of its massive assessment of 133,000 people on incapacity benefit: over a third of them were found to be ready for work.