Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Crack-Down on Incapacity Benefit Claimants, Private Companies to Benefit.

with 17 comments

All the papers are roughly the same today: Crack Down on Incapacity Benefit.

(something else happened yesterday afternoon that got reported but I can’t remember what it was).

The fair-minded Daily Express  says (here),

BENEFITS cheats who languish on state hand-outs after lying that they are too ill to work are to be targeted in a fresh Government crackdown, it emerged yesterday.

The Daily Mail, all softy, says, (here),

Meanwhile, latest figures show that some claim to be unfit because of headaches, indigestion and even blisters.

The Guardian  says,

Ministers are to signal a tougher approach to incapacity benefit this week as the next stage of its welfare reforms, by reducing the benefit levels of those tested if they are found capable of doing some work.

Details are expected to be announced by the work minister, Chris Grayling, this week. Early pilots suggest half of those assessed are being taken off the higher rate benefit on the basis that tests reveal they are fit to do some work, government sources say.

Those deemed capable are likely to be required to do more to make themselves available for work if they are to continue receiving benefit.

Ministers have also looked at whether they can speed up the testing, but denied a suggestion that they could treble the number tested.

The chancellor, George Osborne, signalled tonight that efforts to take more of those on incapacity benefit off welfare will form a significant part of plans to cut the deficit, saying: “It’s a choice we all face. It is not a choice we can duck.”

Osborne said the trade-off between cutting the £192bn welfare bill and the level of spending cuts required in other government departments will be a central feature of the first meeting this week of his pivotal cabinet committee on public spending.

Ministers are looking to see whether existing incapacity benefit claimants can be passed to new private sector welfare-to-work providers.

More here.

Apart from this there is one thing (amongst many) that is really wrong here.

There are a lot of people on these Benefits who have psychological problems. Some times they can work. Other times not.

It is a real act of cruelty to force them to ‘work’ when they are at risk of serious difficulties.

Many of us know people like this already forced onto New Deal Schemes. Isee one frequently.

It is not fair for them, and it is not easy for anyone else,  when they are in a difficult state.

New Deal Contractors must be already aware of what’s already gone on here.

Any firm taking on a contract to force such individuals into employment (and in doing so putting them in a position where they permanently risk sanctions), is a very dubious company.

A real sack of artful dodgers.

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Written by Andrew Coates

June 28, 2010 at 11:33 am

17 Responses

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  1. If this is realy about saving money the Tories have already made a pigs ear of things. Why haven’t they cut all the universal “bungs” Gordon Brown gave out to the wealthy and middle classes of middle England to vote for him?

    By all means keep these benefits and increase them for the poorest pensioners and families who actualy need them to give them an extra boost to close tthe wealth gap, but paying out cold weather payments.free bus passes and cold weather payments to the likes of Vlad Thatcher and wealthy people who don’t need them, then still going after the disabled to sub the underserving wealthy reeks of Labour’s 10p Tax disaster all over again. Its ridiculous to say the country can’t afford benefits for people at the bottom but still pay them to people at the top.

    The trouble is there just arn’t the jobs at present for the disabled , so the only way Cameron can get the disabled into work is to bribe employers with so much money that they take the disabled ahead of everybody else. Let’s face it this is going to cost a lot more than DLA.

    Another problem is rather than insure that employers pay a living wage, previous governments chose instead to kiss bosses arse by ensuring the living wage was deliberatly set so low that it was anything but a living wage, and instead the tax payer took the strain with umpteen costly to administer benefits being used to try to raise in work incomes. This in reality means that even if you get the target groups back to work they will be in such min wage jobs that the saving to the tax payer is minimal and in fact turns into a mighty loss compared to leaving the disabled on DVLA if you add to the cost the nescessary boss bribe/subsidy element, and the fact that people will still need the disability help grant side for their home life.

    Lowestoft's Finest

    June 28, 2010 at 8:32 pm

  2. what the government is putting out in terms of statements is not not matched by the reality of the situation,trying to force those with mental problems’ into the workplace will just mean that in all probability they will just be sacked especially after the “recommendation” to disclose after a job has started,they may not communicate well be able to cope and have nowhere to turn they (dwp) say that there are people in support who will enter the company if needed however this will be to little to late and the damage has been done, to simply try and play along nothing is really wrong/overlook attitude work will be the path to recovery is also misguided,todays’ workplace is based on cost and that means stress people are expected to take a working lunch unpaid overtime is not uncommon this is often pressures a capable person let alone a vulnerable one,it could be said once they are out of the benefits system who cares the government certainly dont however it is very highly probable they will soon return to the system often because of the bad experience they will be a lot worse and further from recovery because of they have been treated.once a down hill slide starts to materialise this can and does have disastrous consequences.

    ken

    June 28, 2010 at 8:55 pm

  3. http://www.rri.ro/art.shtml?lang=1&sec=27&art=30916

    EXHAUSTION AT WORK 24/03/2010
    Last updated: 2010-03-25 14:23 EET

    A dramatic case recently made the headlines in Romania. 34-year-old Ramona Caciu, the mother of two, fell into a coma while at work and then died in hospital. Her death prompted suspicions relating to the exhausting extra hours she put in as an IT programmer. A week later, a female public servant working for a district municipality office in Bucharest fainted during working hours. She blamed it on the stress caused by the overwhelming workload. The public was then reminded of a similar case that took place n 2007. Back then, Raluca Stroescu, aged 32, died due to a cardiac arrest. She was alone in her empty apartment, underfed and surrounded by piles of work files. Following investigations, the audit company she had worked for was fined for failing to enforce legal requirements regulating overtime.

    Given all these cases, is it safe to say that they are hiding a wider social phenomenon? Are they the extreme consequences of a situation that common in certain economic fields? If so, what are the other, less visible effects? A recent survey conducted by the Myjob online recruitment website provides an answer. Adela Rapeanu, a communication expert, gives us details:

    “More than half of Romanian employees work overtime every day. 52% stay on at work after the end of their official working hours. Almost 13% of them work extra hours at least twice a week and a mere 1% work more than the required time once a month. 28% of employees only stay on an work if required specifically by their boss.’’

    So the employer’s pressure is not usually what prompts additional work. It is equally true that in many cases extra work is not paid. The Territorial Labour Inspectorate in charge of verifying if labour laws are applied accordingly, periodically receives many complaints. Inspectorate director Bujor Constantin:

    “Between 1,000 and 1,200 complaints are registered every month by the Labour Inspectorate. Some 5 to 10% of them refer to additional work. With the number of layoffs on the rise recently, this percentage may reach 15%.’’

    More than half of the complaints submitted to the Inspectorate prove to be grounded. However, they are sent out when the working relationship ceases to exist, that is when there appears a conflict between employees and employers regarding the payment of extra hours. Director Bujor Constantin tells us more:

    “Because they want to keep their job, employees do not contact the labour Inspectorate, although we intervene following any complaint about the violation of labour legislation. There are employees who won’t tell us that they work extra hours when we conduct field investigations, which makes it impossible for us to establish the facts.’’

    But what motivates employees to work overtime, given that these extra work hours are not always paid? In times of financial crisis, one reason for taking on too much work is the fear of losing your job. Adela Rapeanu shares some of her experience as a recruiter working for the online company MyJob.

    “I’ve noticed that traditionally, the main reason for working overtime, especially true for young employees, was the desire to build a career or to get a promotion. Today, the reason behind working overtime is the fear of losing their job. This explains that fact that the majority of employees who are willing to work overtime are over 45 years of age.”

    However, job insecurity comes not from explicit pressure from the manager, but rather as a psychological pressure from within. Adela Rapeanu:

    “Employees feel that if they work more and take on more responsibilities they will have greater chances of keeping their job. I don’t think there is any case where an employment contract stipulates overtime to cover for the work done by previous employees. I believe that employees take on additional job responsibilities as an effect of the insecurity existing on the labour market.”

    However, employers are not really making efforts to make this state of affairs clear, given that overtime is in the companies’ benefit. One such case is that of Oana, who works for an accounting and auditing firm.

    “For me, the work day begins at 8.30-9 in the morning, and sometimes ends at 6 pm, other times at 9 pm. It depends on how much work needs to be done, but generally I finish at about 8 or 9 pm. I am, somehow, forced to work overtime, as otherwise I cannot finish my tasks.”

    Oana says this is her own decision and no one is forcing her to work overtime. However, working extra hours is not always rewarded financially, and what’s worse, it has made her ill:

    “I’ve got an ulcer from fatigue and not keeping meal times. a You can get to a point where you only need to eat once a day. To some extent, you have a choice… At one point, you need to stop when you become ill, and feel that you’re doing something wrong. By the time you get to that point however, the damage has been already done. The bottom line is that yes, working excessively can harm you.”

    Therefore, it appears that saying “No” to floods of work assignments is the only solution to keep one’s physical and mental health. Sadly, while everyone is free to make this decision in theory, not everyone can afford it. Let us not forget the case of Ramona Caciu, who died from work-related exhaustion, leaving behind two 3-year-old twins whom she wanted to offer a better life.

    Radio Romania International

    June 28, 2010 at 10:35 pm

  4. http://www.rri.ro/art.shtml?lang=1&sec=27&art=29442

    OVERQUALIFIED WORKFORCE AND INADEQUATE JOBS 10/02/2010
    Last updated: 2010-02-11 13:45 EET

    Every year, thousands of Romanian students earn college degrees in fields that are no longer needed on the labour market. Colleges hold on to their teachers, but offer few options to students looking to get a job in the fields they’ve trained in. According to human resources experts, the current economic environment will force many job candidates to accept positions far below their level of training only for some financial security.

    As compared to last year, when a candidate still had a handful of options to choose from, these days even the very well trained find it difficult to secure a job. Human resources experts predict that this year will see a change in trends, and many people will resort to taking positions below their level of professional training. They also note that currently, as much as eight thousand candidates can compete for a PC operator job, paid half the salaries they got last year.
    Evidently, the most frequent explanation for this phenomenon is the lack of alternatives, and the urgent need for shelter during these hard times. Cases like the one mentioned before, HR specialists say, occur in every field and on every level.

    Some have, however, had the luck of finding a job, even though in a field other than the one specified in their college degree diplomas. Others, especially young job candidates, have been less fortunate, and face rejection because they are too well trained and skilled. One example is 27-year-old Roxana Vasiliu from Piatra Neamt.

    “I was looking for a job as an accountant, but I didn’t find anything. I was on maternity leave for two years, and right now my husband supports me. I wanted to get a job as a secretary, but the company said they couldn’t hire me because I was overqualified.”

    Many young people with a college or university degree have given up any hope of getting a well-paid job, and resort to positions below their level of formal training. Vlad Mihailescu is a young man from Bucharest looking for a job.

    “I lost my job in November, and have been looking for another one ever since. I’m a mechanical engineer, but I haven’t managed to find anything suitable. I think I’ll try my luck abroad, in another field of course.”

    According to the most recent data provided by the National Institute for Statistics, 33.6 percent of all graduates of any form of education looking for work had a job one year after completing their studies. On the other hand, many employers complained about the skills of their young employees, saying that in order to become efficient, they needed retraining.

    Many Romanians say they are feeling more and more insecure with their current jobs. 75 percent of these have already applied for a job abroad, despite the significant drop in job offers recorded over the past few months. In January, the only jobs available were for taxi drivers in Britain, and waiters or housekeepers in Greece or on cruise ships. The majority of applicants were Romanians who previously had steady, well-paid jobs working for brokering firms, banks, or on the transport and distribution market. This information was gathered by Transylvania Jobs, a consultant and analyzer of the workforce market.
    A young man who, until recently, earned 3500 euros per month working for a company in Targu Mures, is now forced to look for a job abroad. Catalina Popescu, human resources expert, explains.

    “As he was laid off and couldn’t find a job here, he settled for a salary of 1000-1200 euros per month, moving to another country and working in another field. He told us he has bank loans to pay off, and didn’t find any work in Romania; not even in other cities. People are starting to realize the severity of the situation. In January of 2009, we recorded 120 percent more applicants for jobs abroad, compared to the same month of 2008. They were generally people with experience in the respective fields. Now we have applicants who are overqualified. Due to the large job demand, competition is getting more and more fierce, while expectations of high salaries and good working conditions have dropped.”

    Sadly, Romania has one of the highest numbers of unemployed youth of all countries in the European Union. 20 percent of all Romanians who are unemployed are under the age of 25.

    Radio Romania International

    June 28, 2010 at 10:40 pm

    • Romanian qualifications are worthless, these things are the laughing stock of Eastern Europe.

      Ever fancied doing years at catering collage and then still come out without knowing what an omelette is? Or how about becoming a fully qualified architect without the need to understand technical drawings…then my friend an advanced Romanian education is for you.

      Taras Bulba

      June 29, 2010 at 11:08 am

  5. THE THREAT OF DEPRESSION AMONG ROMANIANS 14/04/2010

    Last updated: 2010-04-15 13:50 EET

    In 2009, a report issued by the European Parliament described depression as “the invisible enemy of the European Union”, after the Commission had issued, as early as in 2005, a Green Charter aimed at improving the mental health of the population. The conclusions of the report are not at all optimistic: one in four people suffers from a mental disorder at least once in a lifetime, and depression is one of the most frequent disorders. One in six women in Europe suffers from depression, and experts estimate that depression will become the most frequent disorder in the developed world by 2020.

    In the absence of clear statistical data in Romania, specialists estimate that 20% of the population suffer from psychiatric disorders and half of these people from depression. Other figures show that approximately 3 million Romanians suffer from depression. The number of people who have been taken to hospital for this reason has increased from 33% to 41% of the total number of hospitalizations in psychiatric hospitals since 2006. Dr. Eugenia Bradu, a public health specialist, draws a parallel between the situation in Romania and that in other countries.

    “Figures are comparable in Romania and these countries. For instance, the situation in Romania is comparable to that in Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary. As regards mental health at the workplace, surveys conducted at a EU level in 2008 show Romanian employees are more aware of mental health problems at work than people in other countries. For instance, Romanians believe they are subject to more intense strains and greater fatigue than people in other countries.”

    Although Romanians think they are more exposed to fatigue and stress, the symptoms and causes of depression are the same everywhere. Dr Eugenia Bratu has more:

    “The sense of hopelessness is characteristic of most cases of depression. This adds to feelings of guilt, low self esteem, anxiety, eating disorders (lack of appetite or overeating) and energy depletion. People also note they are less efficient at work, get tired faster, react slower than usual, can’t focus properly and have difficulties making decisions. Worryingly enough, depression is accompanied by suicidal tendencies and can lead even to suicide. Occupational stress, unemployment, job insecurity, are aggravating factors which lead to depression. Additionally, most work-related demands and requirements, physical or verbal violence at the workplace, in some cases, increase the frequency of stress disorders and depression.”

    Problems at work add to the hustle and bustle of city life, over-crowding and pollution, making depression a disorder typical of townspeople.

    But how difficult is it to make people talk about their mental problems? Journalist Vlad Mixici, the initiator of a project carried out jointly with the news website Hotnews and Deustche Welle radio station, and financed by the Carter Centre in Atlanta, has more.

    “The media usually only talks about mental health in sensational cases or gives negative examples. Editors don’t normally accept material on this topic. It’s even harder to obtain financing for a project as lengthy and as vast as the one launched in September of 2009. This project featured interviews with famous figures and common people who were willing to share their views and experience with depression. Among the more notable people we talked to were historian Neagu Djuvara and university professor Mihaela Miroiu. This was an extraordinary act of courage on their part.”

    The two, along with a handful of members of the public, were the only ones out of a group of 40 people who talked openly about their past depressions. Reluctance to discussing this subject is one of the reasons why there are few, if any, clear studies on the incidence of this illness in Romania. Here is journalist Vlad Mixici.

    “There are no clear statistics in Romania and this is because most Romanians are reluctant to seeking help from a psychiatrist or a psychologist when experiencing depression. Most specialists claim that the people who visit their offices only represent the tip of the iceberg. Psychiatrists told me that depression is the most common illness they encounter when talking to their patients. I like to refer to it as a “flu of the psyche”. It’s 100% treatable, but without treatment remission lasts between 6 months and a year, after which it comes back.”

    This project, aimed at raising awareness about depression, has managed to help some people talk freely about the symptoms they sometimes experience. The medium was an online forum, and this is a good beginning.

    Radio Romania International

    June 28, 2010 at 10:41 pm

  6. http://www.rri.ro/art.shtml?lang=1&sec=27&art=31597

    THE THREAT OF DEPRESSION AMONG ROMANIANS 14/04/2010

    http://www.rri.ro/arh-art.shtml?lang=1&sec=5&art=32923

    AUSTERITY MEASURES AND REPERCUSSIONS 27/05/2010

    (2010-05-27)

    Last updated: 2010-05-28 14:21

    Meanwhile the government announced it would ask Parliament for a vote of confidence on the tough austerity measures which it considers essential. The government will also ask parliament for a vote of confidence on the pensions law, which will considerably diminish pensioners’ incomes.

    Salaries in the state system will drop by 25% while pensions, unemployment benefit and maternity leave payments by 15%. There’s no other way out of the crisis, the government claims, and these measures are aimed at achieving a budget deficit of 6.8% – this being a condition agreed upon with the IMF in order for Romania to receive the 5th payment of the loan contracted with the financial body last spring.

    They warn that, without continuing the agreement with the IMF, Romania risks failing to obtain the money necessary for the state to continue to function. However, the government has decided to leave those on small incomes untouched, in order to protect the most vulnerable social categories. Emil Boc:

    “These reductions do not affect the minimum average salary. Nobody in Romania will get a salary smaller than 600 lei. We have maintained the minimum guaranteed social pension at 350 lei. And the austerity measures will not affect the child allowances”.

    Contested by trade unions and the opposition, which threatened to lodge a censure motion after the government asks parliament for a vote of confidence on the austerity measures, the measures are preferable to increasing VAT and the flat rate of income tax, which would prevent the recovery of the economy.

    This, at least, is the explanation given by the PM, who said that increasing fees and taxes would mean a 2-digit inflation rate figure; this would have seriously affected Romanians, and their purchasing power would have been considerably diminished.

    The austerity measures are rejected by the opposition. The opposition claims that Romania is being pushed towards a solution that will deepen poverty, will make the economy shrink and does not actually tackle the essence of the problem.

    “Teachers, public servants and employees from the prison system will initiate the general strikes” writes the daily paper EVENIMENTUL ZILEI, recalling that, as of May 31, these social categories will stop work for an indefinite period of time. The same paper adds that “students have themselves threatened to organize rallies, because the teachers’ strike will prevent the Baccalaureate exam from taking place, as well as the high school entrance examination and the closure of the school year”.

    Under the heading “The Government writes the bill of the crisis” the daily GANDUL calculates how much money people will lose, saying that the austerity measures announced will be followed by “higher taxes on buildings, taxes on meal tickets, programmers will be deprived of fiscal facilities and employees paid through author rights contracts will end up paying taxes from their own pockets. —

    Radio Romania International

    June 28, 2010 at 10:54 pm

  7. AUSTERITY MEASURES AND REPERCUSSIONS 27/05/2010

    (2010-05-27)
    Last updated: 2010-05-28 14:21 EET

    Meanwhile the government announced it would ask Parliament for a vote of confidence on the tough austerity measures which it considers essential. The government will also ask parliament for a vote of confidence on the pensions law, which will considerably diminish pensioners’ incomes.

    Salaries in the state system will drop by 25% while pensions, unemployment benefit and maternity leave payments by 15%. There’s no other way out of the crisis, the government claims, and these measures are aimed at achieving a budget deficit of 6.8% – this being a condition agreed upon with the IMF in order for Romania to receive the 5th payment of the loan contracted with the financial body last spring.

    They warn that, without continuing the agreement with the IMF, Romania risks failing to obtain the money necessary for the state to continue to function. However, the government has decided to leave those on small incomes untouched, in order to protect the most vulnerable social categories. Emil Boc:

    “These reductions do not affect the minimum average salary. Nobody in Romania will get a salary smaller than 600 lei. We have maintained the minimum guaranteed social pension at 350 lei. And the austerity measures will not affect the child allowances”.

    Contested by trade unions and the opposition, which threatened to lodge a censure motion after the government asks parliament for a vote of confidence on the austerity measures, the measures are preferable to increasing VAT and the flat rate of income tax, which would prevent the recovery of the economy.

    This, at least, is the explanation given by the PM, who said that increasing fees and taxes would mean a 2-digit inflation rate figure; this would have seriously affected Romanians, and their purchasing power would have been considerably diminished.

    The austerity measures are rejected by the opposition. The opposition claims that Romania is being pushed towards a solution that will deepen poverty, will make the economy shrink and does not actually tackle the essence of the problem.

    “Teachers, public servants and employees from the prison system will initiate the general strikes” writes the daily paper EVENIMENTUL ZILEI, recalling that, as of May 31, these social categories will stop work for an indefinite period of time. The same paper adds that “students have themselves threatened to organize rallies, because the teachers’ strike will prevent the Baccalaureate exam from taking place, as well as the high school entrance examination and the closure of the school year”.

    Under the heading “The Government writes the bill of the crisis” the daily GANDUL calculates how much money people will lose, saying that the austerity measures announced will be followed by “higher taxes on buildings, taxes on meal tickets, programmers will be deprived of fiscal facilities and employees paid through author rights contracts will end up paying taxes from their own pockets.

    Radio Romania International

    June 28, 2010 at 11:10 pm

    • Romania should never have joined the EEC it just isn’t up to it with all its own internal problems, many of which stem from the fact it has the mafia states of Transnistria and Ukraine on its borders.

      Even Alberto Balsam let alone Albert Einstein could figure out that the last thing Romania needs to do in its position is two additionally in effect become the EEC’s border with Transnistria and Ukraine as its pretty obvious that you will be overwhelmed by the mafia using you as an entry point to the wider EEC and taking control of your institutions.

      Lowestoft's Finest

      June 29, 2010 at 3:47 pm

  8. Poverty tsar: shirking fathers should lose their benefits

    Welfare debate should shift from obsession with single mothers, says Labour MP Frank Field

    Britain must end its obsession with getting young single mothers into work, and focus on young, unemployed fathers whose historic role as the family breadwinner has had to be taken over by the taxpayer, Frank Field, David Cameron’s poverty adviser, has said.

    Field claimed many of these young, unemployed fathers will not accept offers of work for less than £300 a week since they feel it is not worth their while.

    He suggests that men who refuse to take up a government offer of work should have their benefit removed altogether, a far tougher sanction than they face under the current benefits regime.

    Field, the Labour MP who was commissioned by the government to carry out a review of poverty, said: “The reason why we have so many single mums is because we have so many single dads who cannot fulfil what most single mothers want from their partners, and the children from their fathers.”

    Ministers this week signalled a crackdown on incapacity benefit, with plans to reduce the benefit levels of claimants who are found capable of doing some work.

    There are also plans to cut the housing benefit budget. The work and pensions secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, has spoken of encouraging people to leave “under-occupied” council homes and move into smaller properties.

    Field’s remarks underline the extent to which he believes the causes of social immobility lie not just not in material poverty, but also in character, child rearing and the loss of work for unskilled, working-class men.

    He said successive governments had focused too much on monetary means to cure poverty. “Labour’s very existence had become bound up with high public expenditure,” he said. In remarks made in a lecture to the Attlee Foundation, a charity which works in disadvantaged areas, Field called for the welfare debate to shift from single mothers, and for the issue of unmarried fathers to be taken out of the shadows. He claimed “the feminisation of debate about poverty has largely been run by upwardly mobile, very successful women”.

    He said this debate has “largely ignored the agenda of working class women”.

    He explained: “For a large section of what used to be the core of the Labour vote – working class women – what they say they most want is a husband or partner in work which allows them their private domain of the family in which they can not only nurture but take on work when they think it is right, for their children, to do so.”

    The Tories are to require single mothers with children aged five or over to make themselves ready for work.

    Field, a former welfare minister in the Blair government, said the drive to put lone mothers into work had also led to employers exploiting women by making it easier to drive down the wage rates of women who want to work full time.

    “I believe we have been obsessed with getting young mothers back to work, irrespective of what they think and whether we think it is best for their children to do so,” he said.

    He hoped his poverty review would take out from the shadows “the unmarried father who is often young, unemployed and often unemployable and who is unskilled, and the way society has changed has made him redundant.

    “The position he once held as breadwinner has been taken over by taxpayers. If they ever dare think about it, they are entering into an abyss of a life on benefit, trying to make ends meet with petty crime and drug dealing.”

    Field also called on the government to reinstate some version of Labour’s jobs fund that guaranteed work for the unemployed. He said: “We need a reserve army of jobs for those who are desperate to get a job, who are drowning in their inability to do so.”

    He added that for those who have no intention of working, and who refuse a temporary public sector job, “there is no benefit whatsoever”.

    In remarks that will anger some of his fellow Labour MPs, he said Labour “has been becalmed by its concern, if not obsession, at seeing socialism being intimately related to the size of public expenditure”.

    He said he hoped the current debate about last week’s coalition budget would be a “spur to rethinking, rather than being an agent through which we can retire on to safe territory”.

    He argued: “For what we have seen [during Labour’s response to the budget] is that a central, if not the central idea now of what the Labour party stands for, which is high public expenditure, is not only being surmounted by opposing forces – but they are letting the ball and chain rain down on their heads as a result.”

    He said at some point in the 1960s the issue “how much are we spending” became Labour’s new political virility symbol.

    Labour thinking, he added, became “were we not only spending more than the last Labour government, but much more than those wretched Tories would ever spend?”

    Frank Field

    June 28, 2010 at 11:28 pm

    • If Field suggests that because young fathers will not accept jobs at less than £300 a week they should lose their dole, would he accept a job for less than £300 we week?

      I suspect the answer would not be favourable.

      One thing people hate about politicians: it’s all do as I say and not as I do.

      Andrew Coates

      June 29, 2010 at 9:29 am

      • Mr Field, the MP for Birkenhead, published his expenses for 2007-2008 and called on other MPs to pre-emptively publish their own claims.

        His website splits expense claims into three categories, including those claimed under the communications allowance, incidental expense provision – which generally covers office expenses – and those claimed under the additional costs allowance, which covers the costs of running a second home.

        The expenses published by Mr Field reveal that he claimed £299 for an LCD TV and £79 for a clock radio, as well as a further £79 on “kitchen goods” – which a receipt described as a “classic set”.

        There was also £200 on “misc ents” or miscellaneous entertainments and £160 on having a digital TV aerial installed.

        For his second home expenses Mr Field generally claimed £200 a month for cleaning during the period, plus a similar amount on council tax, and food expenses.

        In the year to March 31 2008 he claimed £608.68 for mortgage interest.

        In April 2007 he claimed £200 for gardening and window cleaning costs.

        Under incidental expenses he claimed for office supplies, providing receipts, but also between August 2007 and February 2008 he claimed a total of £1,750 – exactly £250 per month – for “petty cash”.

        Mr Field was not available for further comment

        Tommy

        June 29, 2010 at 11:45 am

      • To Tommy – Quite!

        Andrew Coates

        June 29, 2010 at 4:20 pm

    • Good to see the ever benelvent Mr. Field has raised the his imposed bar a bit on the earnings issue. As last year I remember him throwing a sh*t fit on TV over the subject of NEETS.I recall a very red faced Mr.Field shouting that he has young people come to his constituancy surgeries with the cheek to say they wouldn’t take a job for under three times their benefit levels (which was only around £150 if mr Field could have botherd to find out before launching his crusade against them).

      With all these workers being forced back to work for nothing, its not so suprising that the leisure industry is feeling the pinch,So it is with a heavy heart I bring you I include this link to terrible news,

      http://ianbone.wordpress.com/2010/06/28/trimdon-labour-club-to-close/

      (Feel free to leave your heartfelt condolences as I have, or even get together and take out a group Crisis loan to save this veritable institution).

      Lowestoft's Finest

      June 29, 2010 at 12:38 pm

  9. Yeah, what I found interesting was the age element to all this.

    Depends on your definition of young, 30-35+ for example isn’t old, but unlikely to be the specific age range they are specifically talking about i.e. with welfare its 18-24 typically known as young…

    Should “young fathers” whom refuse to accept a job of less than £300 per week lose their dole but someone outside that age range of 18-24 be able to turn down a job of less than £300 per week?

    Lets pick a close extreme example…

    A 24yo father Vs 26yo father – same circumstances – different age – are they going to be treated differently?

    Their living costs are to be the same (the only variables are lifestyle and location (but we have to treat them as being in the same area)) and the cost of raising a child (likely of identical age) is going to be the same.

    Instead of going further in depth with that particular element, I was skim reading… and I saw this quote…

    “The reason why we have so many single mums is because we have so many single dads who cannot fulfil what most single mothers want from their partners, and the children from their fathers.”

    I thought the recent-ish post I made on my site about Welfare-to-Work providers was out of touch.

    My definition of a “single mum” is a person whom cares 24/7 for her kids. My definition of a “single dad” is a person whom cares 24/7 for his kids. This is, someone whom is the sole parent looking after the kids (atleast) 98% of the time. Although it does happen and sometimes marriage breakdowns etc. too… it is rather rare for a couple to part with one person taking sole ownership. If a married couple seperate from each other and the children stay with one parent or the other (or mix) it doesnt make them a single mum or single dad. In order to be a single dad the mother (With exception to any court order) must have abdandoned the child with him. In order to be a single mum the father must have abandoned the child with her, been denied the “right” (by her or by court order) or the father been unaware of the child.

    The stereotypes of single mums: getting pregnant to get a council house, carelessness to get pregnant but decided after finding out she is pregnant to have the baby or selfishness of having a baby with someone without him being aware to try to keep him (although 80% of the time the male would share such responsibility) are all true and happening everywhere. They are only a stereotype. I would say there are more single mums around who dont fit the stereotype then that who do; and not all single mums are the “young” ones. Yeah…

    We all need a finger of blame. The welfare system concept is great but since the 80’s have been getting worse and worse – of course not including unemployment benefits i.e. Jobseekers Allowance which has decreased the count considerably especially with sanctions… welfare expenditure would have been much more without it.

    What really concerns me is that no one was really concerned up until we had to save money. Thats poor management. I think with an open mind: the Government has a point regarding that disabled people can work – that is some of them, not all. The forcing them onto JSA is the thing I disagree with. So you are in a wheelchair… (yes worst example of disability – very stereotypical) because you have no legs. This doesn’t rule you out of the workplace: whats stopping you doing data inputting or working at a call centre? Discrimination? (Thats another matter entirely).

    We have all read the news about people claiming for “headaches” although they aren’t the type everyone gets now-and-then, take some medication with water, go to bed and wake up fine the next morning. They probably have severe migraines which impacts everything they do i.e. they can’t work. (If it was that easy for standard headaches, I am sure I would be claiming that instead of JSA)

    It really did take some front to pick on the disabled person – very immoral. Before it was target single mums… now they are targeting single dads to avoid being accused of sexism with the Equality Bill (or is it an Act now).

    The Government will be very heavy handed because its no longer about changing policy to ensure only genuine people claim and to see whether they can be put back into work. It is… we have 2.6 million (not sure if my figures are correct but its only an example) people claiming, we have huge debts and a huge welfare bill. By rough calculations (unjustified prediction) 2 in 3 people must be able to work – forgetting about the millions of unemployed people who cant get a job because there isn’t enough to go round (i.e. so why would you employ a disabled person to do it when you have to adapt workplace for them, e.g. cost more) so we will force them off the higher rate benefits onto Jobseekers Allowance to cut the expenditure amount down and then hit them with sanctions left right and centre to reduce it even further!

    Common sense would involve a scheme where the genuine claimants who can work can be trialled in the workplace. Adjusting legislation so they are required to comply and trial work. Why not JSA? Well, many disabled persons require more outgoings etc. hence the concept of being paid more. Instead of making them apply for jobs each week, the Government should be offering them jobs from time to time in businesses where they will lose entitlement (not sanction) unless they have a valid reason why they cannot try work. I know of a few disabled people and I think it extends further… where they want to work and have a purpose and not feel retired at such a younger age.

    After all the disability benefits are unemployment benefits too. Those claimants should be encouraged like jobseekers to enter the labour market – this has only now been realised. Some people will never be able to work – some people can work with support (surely what the S stands for in ESA, right?). Trouble is the politicians are using this with the internal motive of simply cutting the welfare bill. The welfare bill could do with cutting but it has to be gradual after individual assessment (not by organisations contracted out to cut the number of claimants) it isnt fair or right to justify kicking people off solely to save money because of their inability to regulate the financial markets successfully.

    Flexible New Deal

    June 29, 2010 at 12:50 pm

  10. Though this is a bit of a generalisation I had a mate who’s girlfriend worked in a centre for young single mums in a paticulaly deprived part of Lowestoft and I’m afraid to say she said in most cases (not all) the cliche of the young single mum was in fact accurate for the girls she saw.

    But you have to realise that people have chosen this young single mums route becouse it represents the best society has to offer someone from their social position.

    If society has a big problem with Girls taking this route it should offer them something better so they didn’t take the present option. The fact that the present state of affairs could be viewed as a pinnacle of someone’s life’s achievments just shows how life in this country rights off at an early age large numbers of its people.

    Likewise I have to say I know many serial farthers who don’t give a damn other than the CSA catching up with them or ex spouses relatives catching up with them. Maybe the creation of a “Keeping it in your pants Tzar” and the creation of a “keeping it in your pants allowance” to be paid in addition to JSA to single men might save this country a lot off money stress and hassle.

    Lowestoft's Finest

    June 29, 2010 at 2:46 pm

  11. ‘Frank Field’ you appear to have misquoted yourself in the above post. What you actually said in a YouTube video was that ONE young man who visited your constituency office said he wouldn’t take a job for less than GBP 300 a week.

    If you wish to check, here’s the link:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/paltalk1000#p/u/0/V34QzjlmHBg

    Funny A4e Photos

    June 29, 2010 at 7:29 pm


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