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Job seekers targeted by Cameron

Job seekers will be expected to spend longer looking for work and take jobs further from home or face losing benefits as part of a Conservative-led welfare crackdown, the party has said.

Prime Minister David Cameron made forcing the jobless to do more to deserve state help a key theme of his 2010 election campaign and will again highlight the issue in his conference speech on Wednesday.

Party officials said the most recent academic research suggests the unemployed spent an average of just eight minutes a day looking for work - five times less than in the US and three times less than in France.

An expectation of devoting "several hours" to the task instead will now be included in the conditions attached to Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) - though no exact figure has yet been announced.

The rules are also to be changed to force the 1.58 million people on benefits to take up jobs up to 90 minutes from their homes - 30 minutes more than the commute requirement imposed on many of them at present.

Under the existing rules, nothing more than an hour away has to be taken up on pain of losing payouts for the first 13 weeks of the claim but that will be scrapped and replaced with an immediate 90-minute radius.

Trials will begin later this year of new methods to check up on whether claimants are meeting the conditions of their state help, including a move to weekly rather than fortnightly reporting.

Speaking on the eve of his keynote address to party members in Manchester, Mr Cameron challenged Labour leader Ed Miliband's claim that Labour is opposed to the culture of "something for nothing" in British society.

"I have been saying for five years that if you put into society you should get out of society," he said.

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