Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

‘Workshy’ to Live on Air for Three Years.

with 116 comments

 Friend-of-the-Dole-Claimant, the Daly Mail, announces today (Thursday),

Ministers will today unveil a tough new benefits regime designed to drive millions of claimants back into work and smash Labour’s legacy of welfare dependency.

Under the Government’s new Work Programme, millions of people on benefits will be forced to make daily efforts to find a job.

Those who refuse to co-operate will have their benefits stopped immediately. People on Jobseekers’ Allowance would lose their entire benefit of £65.45 a week. inisters will today unveil a tough new benefits regime designed to drive millions of claimants back into work and smash Labour’s legacy of welfare dependency.

Under the Government’s new Work Programme, millions of people on benefits will be forced to make daily efforts to find a job.

Those who refuse to co-operate will have their benefits stopped immediately. People on Jobseekers’ Allowance would lose their entire benefit of £65.45 a week

So far so same old story.


The Work Programme will be introduced in April and will replace all six back-to-work schemes set up by Labour.

It will be operated by private companies, which will be paid thousands of paid thousands of pounds for each person they find a job, funded by savings from the welfare budget.

Anyone unemployed for more than a year will be placed on the scheme, along with all under-25s who have been jobless for more than six months. All 2.6 million people on incapacity benefit will face tough new medical tests.

Those who are deemed fit to work will also be put on the Work Programme.

Individuals placed on the scheme will be given a tailored package to help them find a job.

Those who refuse to accept a ‘reasonable job offer’ will have their benefits stopped for a month. Ministers are believed to be considering plans to stop benefits for up to three years in cases where someone refuses three jobs.

People refusing to participate in the Work Programme will also have their benefits stopped.

Anyone refusing to make serious efforts to find work will be required to undertakemandatory community activity’, such as environmental volunteering


Read more: here.

It looks like the dog’s dinner we already know and love.

I suspect they have had one look at the cost of a full-scale ‘workfare’ programme (overseers and the rest) and decided it’s not such a clever idea.

But exactly what are “serious efforts” to get a job and what will be “community activity“?


Written by Andrew Coates

July 1, 2010 at 10:50 am

116 Responses

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  1. How does the saying go? Play with fire…

    We live in a country where most people put up with shit, some complain (even if constructively) and some (even less) protest.

    A 3 year sanction/ban for refusing 3 jobs will lead to mass-murder of politicians.

    As a jobseeker, it offends me how some people get away with not doing much while many do too much, some refuse work and get away with it… this isn’t the way forward.

    Its clean cut… refuse one job, lose a months money, refuse another, lose another months money, refuse another, then be banned/sanctioned for 3 years.

    Sounds fair enough.

    (Surely by the second time you should go take it and if you do give it up you only lose up to 6 months)

    Noo…. its not. I was advised of 2 jobs to apply for last week over the telephone (new claim) – details sent first class in the post. Didn’t come – when at jobcentre I asked them to print out the 2 jobs I was applied for as I didnt get them in the post. He laughed… “8 you mean?” “Eight?!?!”. I further responded with saying 2 and giving descriptions of the jobs (including title and employer). He says “Well… the system clearly shows 8” and to make matters worse he refused to print out the other 6.

    So… (I wish this was a made up scenario) applying this situation with those rules…

    1) If I didnt chase up the two jobs which they didnt send the details out to me (Before they used to advise you on phone of the details of hwo to apply, now they print them out so they are a jobseeker direction (JSD)) under this I would have lost 2 months money pending an appeal I assume.

    I thought it was up to 6 months at current per a single refusal of JSD – so I assume its more comfortable to justify the 3 year ban.

    2) If now that I have details I applied for the 2 jobs, but the other 6 are raised, and I explain that I never got them (and wasn’t notified in writing or verbally about them) so couldn’t apply – although they wont listen… would this means I have lost benefits for 3 years?

    See.. the concept seem fine – you seek jobs you can get jobseekers, if you dont seek jobs you can’t.

    If you dont seek jobs you shouldnt get JSA, under law you cant, but you could get away with it. Kicking people off for this I agree with – a 3 year ban still seems too steep, plus should a 6 month ban or sanction exist, if the person can prove in that time that they want to seek work, like evidence of spec letters, jobs applied for… then they should be able to claim.

    Now… add malice, randomly submit people to jobs without telling them or similar black hat practices and what do you have? A corrupt system where the 3 year ban is criminal.

    You cannot randomly submit people to jobs without a record of an appointment (inc. signing on) or phone call (they wont have a recording of it for your use as evidence), but you can during such appointment or call, submit them to an additional job or few they dont know about. So, there is a print out sheet? Bin it… doesn’t matter, the computer system has logged it being submitted and is adequate enough evidence for a sanction to be applied. it would be adequate enough for this too.

    Flexible New Deal

    July 1, 2010 at 11:19 am

    • Precisely.

      The whole thing is full of easy-to-fall through traps like that. Like what is serious job-seeking anyway?

      What gets on my nerves the most is that my problem has never been applying for jobs: it’s a fact that I’m simply not offered any!

      I will try to get something a but more precise when the official statements out.

      A piece from your good-self would be useful…

      Andrew Coates

      July 1, 2010 at 11:25 am

      • haha Andrew: so true! Everyone says “find a job” thats easy (even with the little amount of jobs out there) … “securing a job” is rather difficult in my own opinion and experience.

        Serious jobseeking? hmm, I was thinking the same. I assume its Mon-Fri travel around to all employers in the town handing them a copy of your CV?

        (Think of the queues of people, OMG!)

        There will be local employers where you can walk but other then that its going to cost a lot in bus fares which will come out of JSA.

        I dont see how it will work – its not the 80’s etc. going around shops etc. with a CV isn’t going to be so successful anymore.

        You have heard of “you should smile on the phone as the other person will pick up on it”; another thing employers can pick up on is… deflated individuals going to EVERY employer but trying to put on a fake smile and fake enthusiasm. First few will be confident but the rejection will do you over.

        Of course, if a job is advertised and it asks to go round… perfect opportunity. I guess the same is with jobs going which wants applications posted; if you meet and talk to staff members implying an interest it could do wonders too. Trouble is HR is normally done central or in a HR department – turning up uninvited to frontline staff who dont have the authority, knowledge or discretion to pass your details on or to alert you of any vacancy coming up; seems rather pointless.

        Flexible New Deal

        July 1, 2010 at 11:46 am

      • Is that workshy? I would say its intelligent to focus on areas that can get you a job rather than spending much time and effort in areas which cant.

        After all you get nothing for effort.

        Flexible New Deal

        July 1, 2010 at 11:48 am

    • A 3 year sanction/ban for refusing 3 jobs will lead to mass-murder of politicians. – you can say that again 🙂

      Derrick Bird

      July 1, 2010 at 1:01 pm

      • The only problem though is it would lead to a greater number of suicides of unemployed people.

        Flexible New Deal

        July 1, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    • Its clean cut… refuse one job, lose a months money, refuse another, lose another months money, refuse another, then be banned/sanctioned for 3 years. – who’s side are you on – why you want to give these cunts any ammo that’s for us :-). Know your enemy, know your enemy and as sure as guns are made of iron these cunts aint your friends. You want to starve to death cos you refused to shovel shit 3 times in a row – seriously? FFS

      Derrick Bird

      July 1, 2010 at 1:08 pm

      • Read… 😀

        Its clean cut… […]

        Sounds fair enough.


        Noo…. its not. […]

        My bad though too, was supposed to be a question mark: “Sounds fair enough?”

        Flexible New Deal

        July 1, 2010 at 1:11 pm

      • Kozak Saying:

        “They may get us to shovel sh*t
        But they’l never get us to swallow it!”

        Taras Bulba

        July 1, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    • These cunts want to drive the unemployed and disabled 6 foot under. Enjoy pushing up the daises 🙂

      Derrick Bird

      July 1, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    • they do that all time. put a job in their computer without telling. next time you sign they pull you up n send you for sanction.


      July 1, 2010 at 3:13 pm

    • they do that all time. put a job in their computer without telling. next time you sign they pull you up n send you for sanction. 3 times n u would get no money for 3 years.


      July 1, 2010 at 3:16 pm

  2. Not to mention more suicides will occur from the benefit system.

    This has already been worked out: less people alive = less welfare payments

    Pushing the obvious cost of life being precious and all, letting people drop like flies wont help the economy, might save a bit of welfare but then it less people to pay in if those people got jobs.

    Too short-term I think – the lack of job creation doesnt help neither.

    There are new green-ish industries (recycling etc.) taking on people for 25 hours a week fully paid by the Government… (up until money run out and will lose their jobs) one I read took on 200 young people.

    If you want a business to work… employing 2-5 people might not work effectively… 50 would be a good number for a startup business with vision.

    200 though is 50 short of 250. 250 would make the business a Medium-sized (lower-scale) business… (by staff numbers, not turnover)

    Why is the Government paying wages for people to get into unsustainable jobs?

    They take the piss, the founders are probably laughing all the way to the bank. I hear TNG were the base for interviews…

    The business which I guess can afford premises, management… wont be paying anything towards wages (paid under FJF), they didnt do any recruitment apart from partnering with a welfare-to-work organisation, they didnt even hire a venue for a day for the interviews, I assume they called to invite candidates for interview and write if they are successful (and maybe if not too).

    If you are going to take on so many people, you need to stick your money where your mouth is. As soon as the FJF money ends these people are all out of the job. 25 hours is dreadful too (the Government asks for a minimum of this) its not 16 hours so you can easily get another part time job to top up the hours and its not proper fulltime of 37-40 hours.

    Did I mention its NMW?

    Flexible New Deal

    July 1, 2010 at 11:34 am

  3. I think the government should get in the Greek Unemployed to do our rioting for us as clearly British Unemployed arn’t up to it.

    No Greek would put up with this sh*t and no Greek government would dare to treat them like this. British governments of what ever political colour(same)need a lesson on consequences not the unemployed.

    Harry Stotle Of Athens

    July 1, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    • Nice one, Harry Stotle. I was thinking the same myself. It’s not as though we haven’t got the time to go on a demo or even organise one.

      Along with the Greeks, you also have to admire the French.

      Funny A4e Photos

      July 1, 2010 at 12:47 pm

      • Berets Off to the French.

        They are the Brazil of the standing up for yourself World Cup, in fact even their world cup team mutinied. The French have a long history of public action which explains why they have a Fishing Industry/ Car Indistry, decent health care, and decent working rights, I also salute the PIGS countries in the EEC for group action, Frau Merkal can huff and puff all she wants Greek Polititians are more scared of Greek Workers.

        I think England should get rid of St.Georges Flag and just replace it with a door mat, not becouse it has “welcome” written on it, but becouse the English Workers let themselves get walked all over (at least Welsh and Scottish workers make a bit off an effort to stick up for themselves).

        Harry Stotle Of Athens

        July 1, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    • More like it 🙂

      Derrick Bird

      July 1, 2010 at 1:14 pm

  4. That story is for the benefit of the Daily Mail reader, tough on the unemployed – as usual.

    With approximately 20 unemployed for every vacancy, the UK economy would have to be as dynamic as China’s (about 8% annual growth) to be able produce enough job vacancies for every JSA claimant in the UK to be offered at least one job.

    The rality, of course, is there just aren’t enought jobs to go round. And if you live in an unemployment blackspot you are faced with the prospect of short-term temp work at best, and a revolving door of 35 flavours of so-called job programs at worst.

    The only viable alternative, in my opinion, is job sharing. Everyone works for six months of the year. Whilst this idea is far from perfect, it is fairer than anything this and previous governments have come up with to tackle long-term unemployment.

    Funny A4e Photos

    July 1, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    • great concept.

      What I dislike about the UK the most is there is no cap to the number of hours a person can do. It can be opt out.

      If you run a business you own, 45-50+ hours a week is likely to be required. As for a person say working in an office, 40 hours is enough, someone else can have a job for 10 hours.

      I dont know why the Government allows this, most countries in Europe as far as I am aware cap the number of hours… more hours you give someone, the elss hours to go round.

      Flexible New Deal

      July 1, 2010 at 12:43 pm

      • Good point, Flexi. We work the longest hours in the EU, and have done for years. Doesn’t make any sense

        Funny A4e Photos

        July 1, 2010 at 12:52 pm

  5. I talked to someone from New Zealand he said that in the 80’s New Zealand had a bad unemployment problem (though he said not a patch on 80’s Britain’s unemplyment problem. But they solved theres by banning overtime rates, so it feed up more jobs for the unemplyed. (I think they just banned overtime payments but they may have capped hours as well)?

    I actualy think this government has screwed up big time over its plans for disability as rather than save money to get only token success is actualy going to need a vast increase in budget, likewise as other posters have said the jobs just arn’t there for the unemployed, workfare would cost a fortune (remember this government is about cuts not hugely increasing spending) and workfare would deliver nothing. I also think the new government are weary of going down Labours love of costly scemes that deliver nothing as 3 years down the line all they will be left with is a huge bill for nothing and the ill feeling that goes with it (The present Labour Legacy). I think instead they will try the far cheaper sanctions route, but still with few jobs how far will this get them? But they can then claim they axed labours costly and useless money wasting employment ideas.Which is probably the best claim they will be able to make on the employment front in the near future due to budget restraints.

    Tofty Squirrel

    July 1, 2010 at 1:07 pm

  6. Social Darwinism (“Survival of the fittest”)??


    July 1, 2010 at 3:55 pm

    • Those claiming as single persons are already subject to this intrusive nonsense with the Benefits Agency having the power to rifle through their utility bills, telephone accounts etc. I’m at a loss as to determine how an electricity bill can be used to determine how many people live in a property. Ever notice how the Job Centre ask how you access the Internet, the suspicious look if you give a mobile phone number on form, I mean how many people don’t have a mobile phone these day, even pigeons have mobile phones 🙂


      July 1, 2010 at 5:59 pm

      • Hello Dommino. I don’t know where you live, but a few days ago I had cause to visit the job centre for a review. I was asked to take my passport and my water bill as proof of ID. And yes my friend they also aske me how and where I make use of the internet. I told the the Ipswich Public Library, so I now presume they could subject to the DPA contact them for my records of logging on. I suppose they could also contact my provider [RIP] for my logon details too.


        July 2, 2010 at 8:35 am

      • Moses:- The DPA is for personal information – i.e. for you (a person entity) to find out about your own information – they wouldnt be able to obtain it without your written permission.

        They have a loophole legislation though. A Social Security law gives them powers to contact employers and any business/person if there is a view of benefit fraud.

        Benefit fraud includes claiming without notifying about CoC (Change of Circumstances) which isn’t always money related (i.e. having a job, or an steady income) so if they felt (at their own discretion) that any changes could make you not meet any of the JSA conditions they could in theory use it.

        Of course, a library would co-operate and so would a welfare-to-work provider.

        I doubt they would check up on you as they are lazy fuckers: 40 minutes “work” to 20 minutes being idle ( see http://www.flexible-new-deal.co.uk/2010/06/18/jobcentre-plus-staff-unemployed-professionals/ public sector staff works 9 less years in their lifetime although get pay a greater salary ) – but they would to try and screw you over should someone report you to benefit fraud helpline or something stupid. (“Oh.. Roger Wellington never searches for jobs”, “Really? Lets take that bastard down!”)

        Its not good: screws you over, and the taxpayer for the cost of a pointless investigation… screw them further by claiming compensation.

        Flexible New Deal

        July 2, 2010 at 9:23 am

      • I have no Mobile.

        And I hate pigeons who spend their time using their mobiles to spread info about the ripening peas on my allotment.

        Andrew Coates

        July 2, 2010 at 9:55 am

  7. As other people are saying despite the new get tough claims from the Tories this level of unwanted intrusion is nothing new to anybody living on benefits, especialy after 13 years of Neo-Labour Starzi who even managed to put chipss that spy on your usage into bloody wheelie bins ahead of “correctional” fines.

    On the other hand its now Middle England that needs to get worried (not those on benefit who have nothing so nothing to hide) As what governments bring in for the unemployed today they soon bring in for the employed and especialy self employed tomorrow.

    Picture the scene mr. small buisnessman with his front company so he can periodicly indulge in some highly proffitable carousel trading but all of a sudden seems the bells and whistles age going off at thecredit agencies showing you are living way beyond your means of a person in your front buisness, likewise tradesmen famous for not sticking everything on the books for cash discount, not any more mate. Also proffesionals moonlighting on the side to afford over extended mortgages etc its this crowd that should be more worried now expect a tsunami middle class whingeathon backlash all in vain when its their turn.

    Where does the law stand on mistakes by private credit companies employed on government buisness? As at present credit companies often confuse incocent individuals who have the same name as someone else living in their area, likewise the unemployed are often at more risk then employed of ID theft as who else sends out hundreds of cv’s/spec letters /applications to complete strangers with their details pasted all over them as well as lives in houses of multi occupation in the Iffiest areas a pretty disasterous combination for ID theft.

    Lowestoft's Finest

    July 1, 2010 at 6:47 pm

  8. Are you a sub worling class Dolie Oik ?

    Never been to Eton? Let alone Oxford or Cambridge?

    Can’t even be botherd to read all the best posts on the Ipswich Unemplyed Action Website?

    Well fortunatly for you we well paid people at the BBC can be botherd to read all the posts and have kindly solved your problem for you, by simply taking a selection of the best posts from Ipswich Unemployment Action then reading them out loud we are calling the Idea “The Now Show” and putting it on at 6.30pm on Radio 4 this Friday.

    The Now Show

    July 1, 2010 at 9:08 pm

  9. hello moses. yes i had this too. i made a fresh claim on the 25th june and i too was asked to take a water bill and other form of id. was not asked though about internet access


    July 2, 2010 at 8:45 am

  10. I think the requested ID proof is required becouse the Jobcentres are effectivly being used as border controls mow we have the Open Borders. I wouldn’t worry to much about bringing in the bills for ID proof as it is pretty standard ID request if you don’t have a passport, but I would be a bit more concerned if they wanted to see bills and your passport.

    The Internet access thing could be a bit sinister though, as they could be abusing Labours stupid anti Terrorist laws (inapropriatly as per normal)To check on your internet record, could they then ID posters on this site? Its pointless checking up becouse the reason I apply for jobs send out spec letters via the internet is precisely becouse that way I have proof, plus its a lot less hassle as toomany people of recent have come unstuck after ringing up about jobs then getting sanctioned as message was lost.

    Lowestoft's Finest

    July 2, 2010 at 9:07 am

    • I would be disappointed if MI5/MI6 wasted there time checking sites like these where posters pose no harm to anyone.

      However, it wouldnt surprise me.

      As for forms of ID…

      Everything you say (or they assume or wanted you to say), all body language (or the body language they wanted you to have done) and any written documents you give WILL be used against you where possible.

      And BTW lately, Ipswich Jobcentre rejected a recent bank statement (apparently including the last made payment which includes their NI number) from someone as a form of ID – their reason was it could be anyones statement requesting a credit card or debit card instead.

      It would be easier to steal a single credit/debit card than break into someones home find a recent bank statement, NI card, a P45 and a letter with all the same matching details on them? I assume they just want to make peoples life difficult.

      Flexible New Deal

      July 2, 2010 at 9:39 am

      • Flexi

        Originaly when I quoted the abuse of Labours badly draughted anti-terrorist laws I meant that it was easily believable that the DWP would use these laws for purposes (Labour claim they were never intended)such as local councils spying on people presumed lying about school catchment ares claimed they were using a huge loop hole in the anti terrorist legislation, so concievably DWP could do the same thing to snoop? or when YMCA abused health and safety legislation to exit Andrew over the storm Dencora House remark. I hadn’t thought we were under suspicion of terrorism but still on later thoughts, now you mention it in this country anything no matter how ridiculous gets tried by governments to shut people up.

        Lowestoft's Finest

        July 2, 2010 at 8:42 pm

      • I used to run a 6000 user ISP, where we hosted Earth First! Journal and a number of other sites that attracted attention.

        Every three months, the FBI or someone would come to our front desk, and someone would fetch me. And I’d ask if there were imminent danger to persons, and he’d say no, so I’d ask for a subpoena.

        You know what the officer/investigators said just about every time I did this?

        “Gosh, no one else asks for a subpoena.”

        And then they went away, and never came back with a subpoena for the same request.

        So in my tenure there, we never gave out legal records except for when it was once substantiated to my satisfaction that a person’s safety was immediately involved.

        Ask your providers, see if they would do the same.


        July 3, 2010 at 1:33 pm

  11. Hello Mr Lowestoft’s Finest.

    I had not thought of the fact that they maybe trying to ID posters and bloggers on this site. This could be the reason that when I was at the JCP for my fresh clain face to face interview that I was asked for my email address. I thought that was they could then notify me of jobs via email and send reminders of appointments too.
    Now having thought about it they MAYBE using the anti terrosit laws to check on what we are doing. Also they COULD say ‘ You are spending too much time on the internet how do you job search then?’. The of Course it COULD BE sanction etc [Unless of course you prove it WAS for hunting purposes.
    If you feel I am wrong please feel to correct me.


    July 2, 2010 at 9:29 am

    • Your contributions (and everyone elses) are welcomed. You are well within your rights to post on here as a human being. Don’t be intimidated or paranoid about anyone spying on you. It is free speech – and free speech (“freedom of expression”) that isn’t offensive (i.e. racist) or preaching hate. I, and I am sure Andy is the same, will never give out anyone details (email, IP etc.) without a genuine criminal investigation (murder, rape etc.).


      (Of course any benefit fraudsters out there…. I hope you get caught asap)

      Mobiles can be traced to their location. If you wanted to take a trip outside your home town, you are within your rights to, it doesn’t break your JSA conditions – but they will say you aren’t Actively Seeking Employment (because how can you seek jobs while not being there? I thought the internet was global lol…) and not being Available for Work…. (what work? No job! Hence claiming JSA)

      You are under no obligation to give them such details (just claim you don’t have one perhaps, but don’t have your mobile on or use it in their view) – you don’t have to apply for jobs by email as long as you do enough other steps to find work.

      I apply for a lot of jobs by emailing CVs and to be honest, its rude most employers don’t even have a thank you auto-responder (a read receipt is enough for evidence) and never get back to you saying if you are successful or not (something which can be all automated), and as of yet I had no success by applying for jobs that way! Saves much money though which means I can apply for more jobs.

      Too much time on internet? Sounds a bit like me! lol… you only are legally required to do 3 steps to look for work a week… if you can do this (with evidence) it doesnt matter how long you spend on internet etc. If you can do more than 3 its even better.

      Flexible New Deal

      July 2, 2010 at 9:58 am

      • As Flexi says, the Internet is the best way to get information about jobs and a good means for applying for them.

        I usually look, for example, at the jobs on the Suffolk County site which comes up when you log-on in Ipswich libraries. Then you can go quickly to the Archant site (EADT and Evening Star). There’s also the you.gov site (via DWP).

        I don’t always get the Star on Fridays – they seem to be dropping the coupons that got you a cheaper copy.The full 80 pence is not a good buy for what it is these days.

        As for MI5/MI6 – who cares!

        Andrew Coates

        July 2, 2010 at 10:37 am

  12. Something to think about.

    You get a letter from provider/jcp ‘inviting you for an interview’. The letters normally go out 1st class post. Insome cases though the delivery in some areas of ipswich is erratic and the letters sometimes come after the appointment You are then faliure to attend. Sanction etc. Is there anything you can take up with the royal mail or post office over this


    July 2, 2010 at 9:42 am

    • Well, I would advise…

      Contact provider straight away and let them know. Worried about a sanction and staying quiet… the lack of communication wont do you any favours.

      You are only obligated to attend as written notification is a Jobseeker Direction.

      Jobseeker Directions, to be reasonable must be delivered (post or in person) 48 hours (2 days – appointment on third day) before the appointment to be reasonable.

      If they sent notification the day before hoping first class would get there next day for an afternoon appointment. This isn’t acceptable.

      Talk to your provider to let them know. Even if they agree to rearrange without threat of sanction – send a complaint first class to the District Manager of your local Jobcentre Plus office.

      Nooooo lol your provider wont lose its contract or be fined but you have written notification and will receive a reply regarding why they dont give enough time. (You wont get anywhere by telephone and they can deny it occured)

      You never know if your provider will sanction you while rearranging an appointment.

      Post office? Buy a book of second class stamps and pay by debit card. They wont like it as its a small purchase (one stamp they will probably refuse to serve you) and they ahve to pay a % of transaction for credit/debit card processing with a minimum amount. Ouch!

      As for Royal Mail? Set the dog on the postman! (Joke… seriously, dont do it!) 😀

      Flexible New Deal

      July 2, 2010 at 10:12 am

    • I’ve actualy had those JCP letters turn up out of the blue the day of the interview a couple of times before.Also fortunatly for me both times the interview was in the afternoon, and fortunatly I looked on the door mat in the morning.

      You have a certain amount of days before they close your claim down if you fail to attend an interview, so if the letter turned up a week late and you didn’t need to go in to sign on till a couple of days after when you go to sign your claim will have been automaticly closed and you will have to put in a rapid reclaim and start an appeal as your benefit will be stopped from the day of the interview you failed to attend and the start of your rapid reclaim.

      My advice is if you recieve a kletter to late for your JCP interview get down to the jobcentre immediatly with it as it might just save your claim from being shut down without your knoledge and a load of subsequent hassle.

      Lowestoft's Finest

      July 2, 2010 at 8:58 pm

  13. UPDATE ON PETER AND A4e …from edinburgh coalition against poverty

    To follow up on our earlier messages….

    The summary, if you’re short of time…

    Five people from ECAP accompanied Peter to his interview at A4e last Wednesday. Once more boss Dorothy Hewat refused to let the interview go ahead with one of us accompanying him. She said she was acting on the advice of the Wise Group. So we used A4e’s phone to speak to Dione Weir, Head of Contracts at Wise Group for nearly an hour, but she maintained the same denial of human rights as A4e.

    It was now after 5pm, and we said we needed a written guarantee that Peters benefits would not be affected. Wise Group and A4e refused to give this, and called the police to throw us all out the building. No-one was charged though.

    Peter has now had his JSA cut. Since then we have accompanied him to the High Riggs Job Centre and after over an hour arguing with an official, then a supervisor, got to speak to manager Sarah Grant. She has promised to send a letter detailing the situation, and promised that if we were not satisfied with this we could have a meeting with a manager at the Job Centre the coming week.

    We ask everyone to keep watching your e mails as we are likely to be calling on your solidarity with Peter in his battle for justice.

    Also, if you are or have had problems with A4e or other slave labour companies like Igneus, please do get in touch, the more folk involved in this struggle, the stronger we will be.

    STOP PRESS We have just been contacted by someone whose benefits have been threatened for refusing to go on a slave labour scheme via Igneus and JHP.

    The full story

    Last wednesday 5 of us accompanied Peter to his interview at A4e on Earl Grey St.. As we have reported A4e have been denying claimants the basic human right to be accompanied into interviews. Peter is particularly concerned about this as A4e have in the past made false accusations against him, threatened to have him arrested, and threatened several times to have his benefits sanctioned.

    Once more they refused to go ahead with the appointment with one of us present. We pointed out that there was a legal right to accompany people to such interviews. After some time conferring among themselves, the manager Dorothy Hewat told us that she had rung Dione Weir , head of contracts , at wise group in glasgow and said that Weir had advised her that we were not to be allowed to accompany peter (Wise Group have the contract with the DWP and subcontract to A4e)

    So we asked to speak to Weir on the phone, they gave us the use of a room and their phone to call. We were on the phone for around 45 minutes, interestingly the reason Weir gave for not allowing peter to be accompanied was that “it was not in his best interests” !!! Peter pointed out that he wanted us to accompany him, but she obviously knew his best interests better than him….

    At the end of the conversation with Weir we said we agreed to her proposal of a meeting with her or her underling Tony Minchella (without going into whether we would be accompanying peter or not, obviously we would) and thus we needed a written assurance that in the meantime peters benefits would not be threatened. Weir said that she would speak to Hewat and the dwp about this, and give a decision tomorrow. We said this was not acceptable, She put the phone down in the end, after saying that if we did not leave the building she would tell Hewat to get the police.
    By the time we came off the phone it was after 5pm, Hewat said we had to leave. We said that before we left we needed a written assurance that Peters benefits would not be affected. She refused and called the police.

    After about 20 minutes a pretty large number of police turned up, I would estimate 12 – 15, a police sergeant said to me there were five police vehicles.

    The police ordered us outside. Once outside they insisted we stay while they took all our details. They interviewed both us and the a4e employees and managers. In the end they said that they would not be pressing any charges and we walked away.

    The next day Peter heard that his Job Seekers Allowance had been stopped for six days – this had been decided before the previous day’s events – plus Weir Group / A4e were recommending his benefits be stopped a further time as a result of what happened the day before.

    Since then we have accompanied him to the High Riggs Job Centre and after over an hour arguing with an official, then a supervisor, got to speak to manager Sarah Grant. She has promised to send a letter detailing the situation, and promised that if we were not satisfied with this we could have a meeting with a manager at the Job Centre the coming week. The first two officials we spoke to tried to tell us that we had to find out the reasons Peters benefits had been cut from A4e! This is complete rubbish as A4e do not have the power to cut people’s benefits, that is a decision for the DWP decision-makers.

    Peter and ourselves have also been to see his MP, Sheila Gilmore, and have asked her to take up his case.

    But the most important thing is support from other people in the same boat, we ask everyone to keep watching your e mails as we are likely to be calling on your solidarity with Peter in his battle for justice.

    Also, if you are or have had problems with A4e or other slave labour companies like Igneus, please do get in touch, the more folk involved in this struggle, the stronger we will be.


    July 2, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    • Well done, ECAP, for supporting Peter and for standing up against the petty bureaucracy and buck passing tactics of A4e, The Wise Group and DWP.

      Funny A4e Photos

      July 2, 2010 at 3:17 pm

    • Hello ECAP.
      I hope you and Peter win your case. Primarily, Peter SHOULD be entitiled to benefits to cover Council Tax [and rent if paid] otherwise he would/could be homeless. This is an infingement of his Civil and Human Rights. IE the right to shelter. This of course would need checking with a human rights lawyer who is far better educated in these matters than me.


      July 2, 2010 at 3:28 pm

  14. Hi
    All apparently “ACCORD Housing” have said that they want me to do workplacement for more than the maximum 4 weeks. I can’t call it work experience as it is actually “FORCED LABOUR”


    July 2, 2010 at 1:50 pm

  15. Notorious A4e have once again made the news for all wrong reasons. This time they had a laptop containing the personal data of 24,000 clients of their Community Legal Advice Centres in Hull and Leciester stolen in a London burglary..


    Funny A4e Photos

    July 2, 2010 at 11:15 pm

  16. Check-ups. Had a call from the Jobcentre saying they wanted to verify my details. I was asked if my mobile phone was payg or contract. My nino and birthdate plus address. I refused saying I cannot definitly identify you as JCP. Therefore I do not give out personal details over the phone. If you want to know these details please write to me asking me to bring in documentation. The line clicked for a minute then they agreed. So far no letter asking for any of the above. Could be genuine but could also be phishing scam. Be wary of any such calls. I have asked the jobcentre when they phone me NOT to withold their number. Said they cant doit now as thet have gone to 0845’s[Serco Call Centre ?]


    July 3, 2010 at 7:55 am

    • Those check ups are pointless and Wrong. Whether you have a PAYG mobile or contract has no bearing on breaking any JSA conditions etc.

      I guess a contract is the worst option to pick? However that could be a difference between (for example) paying £400 upfront for a phone and getting top-up every month or two… or paying £30 month, a “free” phone and free minutes which may, especially if you negotiate with a network, be better value that PAYG.

      In this example, comparing with JSA conditions, if you saved up £400 of JSA or had £400 in savings before signing on (declaring it) is well under the income limits etc.

      If you pay £30 month (as in example) the same applies… if you want to pay approx £7.50 a week of your JSA for a phone, that is your right.

      The problem is the useless twats at the DWP see a mobile phone as a luxury and therefore if you have one of those which is on a contract you must have a yacht somewhere.

      Also it doesnt matter if you use it to improve your prospects for work or more for personal use. This obviously impacts them hard when they want to bug your phoneline as they think you are a benefit fraudster or hoping to frame you as one, when you alternatively use a mobile. Of course, your right of doing so, maybe because of free minutes or because mobile to mobile calls cheaper than a landline will result in the suspicion that you are plotting a terrorist attack (or so such legislation they will use to tap your mobile phone too!)

      All this for JSA? WTF?!

      As for the number Jobcentre rings up on. I can confirm my local jobcentre plus withholds its number. Why?

      Flexible New Deal

      July 3, 2010 at 8:28 am

      • The Job Centre’s logic is just daft. A PAYG mobile phone can be picked up for £10 (an absolute fortune I know :-)). If you were only using it to receive incoming calls (and text messages) from an employer then £10 would be your only expenditure. What about those folks on JSA that have colour TVs. Worth investigating, eh 🙂

        PC Plod

        July 3, 2010 at 10:17 am

      • hello hello, yeah, while we at it why not check clothing and trainers/shoes?

        JSR-> “Hello, I would like to sign on please”
        JCP-> “OK, in the corner, strip off to your underwear”
        JCP-> “Oooh, these look a bit expensive. Couldnt have gotten these second hand from a charity shop staffed by Dencora House Detention Centre inmates. Where did you get them from?”
        JSR-> “Wtf?! Can I sign on now?”


        Flexible New Deal

        July 3, 2010 at 11:08 am

      • OK so we have our mobiles. We are in the JCP and there are notices everywhere telling you to turn off your mobile. While you are waiting to sign at the downstairs point [In Ipswich ]. Scenario that could/may happen. Someone else in JCP phones you to tell you of a job. As you are in jcp and the phone is off [SIGNS SAY DONT USE. SO I PRESUME THIS MEANS SILENT TOO-JCP LOGIC]You miss job oppt’y. Result sanction. But I was in Job Centre Signing On. Your Phone was off. But The sign says. Not Happend TO ME YET BUT…..


        July 3, 2010 at 11:27 am

      • The Job Centre are trained to look for “clues”. You know, like paint specs, dirt under the fingernails, overalls with Acme company emblazoned on them. Providers are really obvious they way the check you up and down, check out your footwear, jewellery, watches etc.


        July 3, 2010 at 11:45 am

      • And be careful with “fancy” underwear too, especially the chicks. And make sure they don’t see you driving a “flash” car town, even if it is your mates. 🙂 🙂 NO IFS, NO BUTS :-0 :-O


        July 3, 2010 at 11:50 am

      • lol Flexible New Deal beat me to it 🙂


        July 3, 2010 at 11:54 am

      • I understand your point mate but in this situation I side with this policy.

        Whats stopping someone having a dummy conversation while using the job points to capture peoples sensitive details they are giving over the phone?

        Stick the phone on speakerphone – but get the fraudster outside in the white van (lol) to mute his mic (or lower volume) on his phone (then again could be a woman)… jotting down the details

        You can easily adlib a conversation…

        SCENARIO 1:

        P-> “Yeah mate, a great plumbing job is going”
        O-> “Tell me the details”
        P-> “Let me find it”
        O-> “No worries”
        (few minutes later – can hear people talking on phones in that time)
        P-> “Ahh here it is, with (*make up some company name or read out loud if one does exist*), blah blah blah”
        (a minute)
        O-> “Can you repeat that mate?”
        (30 secs)
        P-> “Yeah phone is a bit dodgy, at the jobcentre, phone signal must be bad in here”
        P-> (*repeats details again*)
        (30 secs)
        O-> “Is that fulltime?”
        (30 secs)
        P-> “Yeah. You need to contact (*details*)”
        O-> “Wait. Let me find a pen and paper”
        (3-5 minutes)
        P-> (*repeats details, but slower*)
        O-> “Cheers mate I appreciate it. See you down the pub later, I’ll buy you a drink”
        P-> “Cheers, see you tonight. later”
        (hangs up, leave jobcentre)

        No one is any wiser, could have got several names, addresses and NI (atleast) in that time. Sound friendly, so seem genuine.

        Could use internet to get that info or phone Jobseeker Direct – but choose to get it through a friend… hmm… I bet this has happened before at JCP

        SCENARIO 2:

        (loudspeaker – mic on other end is muted – no conversation, phone in pocket, conversations picked up)

        Of course a dictation device can also achieve this.

        SCENARIO 3:

        (mic on other end is very quiet – loudspeaker used here at jobcentre)

        Person seeks a few jobs… pretends to ring up about the jobs but not to the number on the jobpoints… just using a few mates acting as an potential employer.

        Its easy for both parties to get a conversation going – the “jobseeker” has job details on screen to prompt responses – the “employer” can also see the job at home via the internet and can make up conversation as goes along. The “jobseeker” can be put on hold, playing the tone which will fool most people, the mic pickup will still be recorded or noted in that time.

        Every day the people involved can take it in turns to go in jobcentre on a rota system. When the same person is seen in there on a regular occassion it is just deemed that the person makes an regular arrangement to seek work like most genuine people do. After one jobcentre in the rest of the day they could try another one.

        (No I am not and never have ever done any of these but its so easy for anyone to try this)

        This said, the time they make you wait in there.. blimey. i would refuse to turn phone off or on silent – if your phone rings from an employer, notify a staff member, and answer the phone while heading outside. Far from perfect solution.

        This said I was waiting the other week – could have picked many details being revealed over the 2 customer service pods – which now say “welcome” on them – guess it saves the staff breath as they aren’t polite.

        Flexible New Deal

        July 3, 2010 at 12:00 pm

  17. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/china-business/7868470/Up-to-100000-students-ordered-to-work-for-suicide-factory-owner-Foxconn.html

    Up to 100,000 students ‘ordered’ to work for ‘suicide factory’ owner Foxconn

    AS many as 100,000 students at a vocational school in the central Chinese province of Henan have been ‘ordered’ to work for Foxconn, the giant electronics manufacturer that has been plagued by a wave of suicides.

    Foxconn, which had revenues of $62bn (£41bn), more than Apple, Dell or HP, manufactures a range of products for the world’s leading electronics brands, including Apple’s iPad and Sony’s Playstation 3.

    However, it was hit by a series of suicides at its factory in Shenzhen earlier this year, as workers complained of long hours, strict rules and loneliness. Foxconn had to double its monthly salary, to 2,000 yuan (£200) in the face of a public outcry.

    In response, Foxconn has said it will move a large number of its workers closer to their homes in central China and is planning a new factory in Henan. The China Daily, a state-run newspaper, said the company had drafted 100,000 students for three months to train them up in preparation for opening the new factory.

    One of the students, named as 17-year-old Lin Feng, told the newspaper that he was forced to join Foxconn or face being thrown out of school.

    Teachers informed the students on June 17 that they would have “nine days to leave, as ordered by the provincial government”.

    The transfer of the Foxconn plant to Henan would provide an enormous boost to local government revenues, and a town official in Zhengzhou told the China Daily he had received “clear internal orders” for each town to send Foxconn at least 100 people between 18 years-old and 45 years-old.

    However, a spokesman from the labour department in Henan said no edicts had been ordered. “We did not organise the massive employment, nor did we give out any instructions,” he said. “The vocational schools are in charge of their own arrangements. The students are going there voluntarily.”


    July 3, 2010 at 10:25 am

    • My motherboard is made by them.

      Flexible New Deal

      July 3, 2010 at 11:10 am

      • And so is my iPsd and PS3 Platinum Edition, and 4G iPhone. Ooops 😦 gotta go answer the door 🙂


        July 3, 2010 at 11:56 am

      • Yeah, I am sure many other things are too. Mine wasn’t made in China though – I guess they have many factories worldwide.

        Flexible New Deal

        July 3, 2010 at 12:06 pm

      • Thats nothing (are you on the dole or something)?

        I am on JSA club class and get £4000 per month, if it wasn’t for the help of expensive things like designer clothes and top class mobile phones I would be left with nothing to try to spend it all on.

        Aldridge Prior

        July 3, 2010 at 12:18 pm

  18. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/10510360.stm

    Living ‘costs at least £14,400’ for a single person

    A single person in the UK needs a gross income of at least £14,400 in 2010 to live to an acceptable standard, a charity says.

    And a couple with two children need £29,200 for a minimum acceptable standard of living, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) said.

    The figure indicates a growing gap between the national minimum wage and the minimum income standard.

    The charity claimed this was due to rising inflation for necessities.

    “This research shows what ordinary members of the public think is needed – not just to survive but to take part in society,” said Julia Unwin, chief executive of the JRF.

    “It provides powerful evidence for the new government to use as it develops policies to deal with poverty.”

    Typical basket

    The JRF report is an attempt to raise the debate about the level of relative poverty in the UK beyond the official poverty line of 60% of average earnings.

    Inflation is calculated using a typical basket of goods. Similarly, since 2008, the JRF has gathered information from focus groups to set a benchmark for an “acceptable standard of living”.

    For example, it now considers a computer and home internet connection as essential for all working age households. In previous years this has only been necessary for people with school-age children, it concluded.

    Pensioners, however, thought the internet was growing in relevance – but not yet a necessity.

    Key findings from the report included:
    The minimum household budget needed to rise by 3% to 4% in the year to April – broadly in line with inflation.
    In the last 10 years, inflation had risen by 23%, but key essentials cost 38% more.
    This included food prices (up 37%), bus fares (up 59%), and council tax (up 67%).

    The essentials required for a minimum standard of living have not been reduced in people’s thinking, despite the level of economic uncertainty, the Foundation said.

    For example, a week’s holiday a year in the UK was still considered necessary to participate at an acceptable level in society.

    The JRF, which has produced a minimum income calculator, said that the Budget’s announcement of a £1,000 hike in tax allowances from next year would make a family £320 a year better off, after inflation, if both partners were working.

    But all of these gains could be lost by other Budget changes, such as cuts in tax credits, the freezing of child benefit, the rise in VAT, and the cap on housing benefit.

    “This new research underlines how people living close to the minimum income standard can end up not having enough, if economic trends start going against them,” said one of the report’s authors, Donald Hirsch, of Loughborough University.

    “For example, a single person who a decade ago had just enough to get by, and whose income has risen in line with official inflation, cannot afford a minimum budget today.

    “Big rises in the prices of things like food and council tax means that they are nearly £20 a week short of what they need, and must think of what essentials they will go without.”

    A spokesman for the Department for Work and Pensions said: “Work is the best route out of poverty and we are determined through our programme of welfare reform to make work pay in order to encourage people off benefits and into jobs. The current system is broken.

    “We are firmly committed to tackling poverty and improving the lives of low-income families. We remain focused on our goal of ending child poverty by 2020 and are conducting a review into poverty and life chances.”

    Minimum weekly budget:

    Single working age: £175.34
    Pensioner couple: £222.22
    Couple with two children: £402.83
    Lone parent with one child: £233.73

    Source: Joseph Rowntree Foundation. Weekly budget excluding rent and childcare

    BBC News

    July 6, 2010 at 10:45 am

    • Where is the sub-machine gun?

      A spokesman for the Department for Work and Pensions said: “Work is the best route out of poverty …

      Its so true! but without a labour market that can support so many unemployed people (no not the dole tossers but those who lost their jobs in the recession and those before that) this phrase is so annoying and they all say that.

      Or is it? only PAID work is the best route… workfare wont be.

      I know enough people who WORK but are on below that £14,400 amount… and I am talking about FULLTIME workers.

      Flexible New Deal

      July 6, 2010 at 11:09 am

      • Be careful, Flexible New Deal, but by banging on about “dole tossers” you are falling into a trap that has been carefully laid for you.

        With all its faults, it’s fair to say that the DWP treats all “customers” the same regardless of “class” or “profession” – and the “middle classes” do not like it. The recently made redundant Ms Tofey Nose of Thrornbridge Hall can expect no favours and why should she?

        We don’t want to go down the road of differentiating between different “classes” of unemployed, the “deserving” and “undeserving” poor.

        Make no mistake certain segments of society couldn’t care less about the unemployed, they would only too willing put the boot in and gleefully stroll past them shivering in their soggy cardboard box.

        But what if THEY become unemployed that’s what THEY are really worried about, hence the angling for a two tier benefit system, whereas the recently made redundant Ms of Thornbridge Hall receives “Club Class” treatment while the longer term, council house dwelling can go and, well… eat cake.

        Middle Class Scrounger

        July 6, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    • Or put another way, the well-heeled want to “ring-fence” their own situation to the detriment of the poor. ..


      July 7, 2010 at 6:48 am

  19. From Paul Waugh’s Evening Standard Blog – 07 July 2010:

    Big Issue founder John Bird has written to David Cameron urging him to cut state benefits.

    Bird, who once flirted with running for Mayor of London, will certainly provoke a few reactions with his proposals.

    A missive from HillgrovePR, which is representing Bird, has just pinged into my email inbox. It states that Bird believes that the unemployed should be involved in community work before they receive benefits and that this would help them back into work.

    Here’s the text:

    “Mr Bird said that society has made it possible for too many to live on benefits without helping themselves gain the experience and confidence they needed to find work.

    ‘That’s not only damaging to individuals, it’s damaging to society. The illegal drugs industry would be lost without the support of the welfare state.’

    Mr Bird explains that it is more expensive to keep a child in care than it is to send them to Eton – like the Prime Minister.

    ‘He has to move fast: a new government has only six months of goodwill. I reminded him that we have the most expensive poor in the world.’ ”

    And again from 2003 and Paul Waugh (again!) writing in the Independent:

    The founder of the The Big Issue made a savage attack on Britain’s “dependency culture” yesterday with a call for the jobless to be forced to work in return for state benefits.

    The founder of the The Big Issue made a savage attack on Britain’s “dependency culture” yesterday with a call for the jobless to be forced to work in return for state benefits.

    John Bird, who started the magazine to help the homeless help themselves, said only radical action would solve the problem of the growing “underclass”. In a Christmas address for Politeia, a right-wing think-tank, Mr Bird also called for the Government to pay for the poorest children, particularly those in care, to attend the best public schools.

    A former homeless person himself, Mr Bird said tackling the myriad problems of those at the bottom of society was “the most pressing requirement of our times”, he added: “The maintenance of the underclass costs big money. Its members fill up our prisons with their crimes; our hospitals and medical services with their poor health and poor nutrition; they make many of our so-called ‘failing’ schools unmanageable. Policing, monitoring and controlling them is a vast waste of public time and resources. They also represent a huge waste of human resources. Among them are many talented people.”

    Mr Bird’s chief solution to the problem was to end the dependency created by well-intentioned but misguided social policy of governments, civil servants and councils. The payment of benefit without work began in the early 1970s when for the first time people who were able-bodied were allowed to live indefinitely on handouts, he said. Instead, the state should demand work in return for benefits, with some unemployed forced to renovate housing estates, parks and other public places.

    By relating work to benefit, “we get people up in the morning rather than spending their time watching daytime TV. Recognition that you can’t be supported without making a contribution is paramount to challenging dependency and continuing the underclass”.

    To help the children of the most deprived, action would include spending the money now used on coping with truancy and other problems on sending them to public school. With the cost of keeping a child in care at £100,000 a year, the cash would be better used on giving them an education that would transform their life chances, he said.

    Mr Bird warned that unless action was taken soon, the “yobification” of many British towns and cities would continue as the anti-social behaviour that characterised underclass life flowed into mainstream society.

    This Bird character has also penned a diatribe for the Guardian on the same theme:

    There is only one cure for poverty and that is social mobility. The problem is that school life and home life for many of our young people means they will never get out of poverty.

    Cultural poverty is bred into them. And much of it flows from all the concessions and supports that the well-intentioned social engineers, government ministers and educators have foisted upon some of our poorest.

    The worst thing for social mobility is social security. It puts a glass ceiling over the abilities and aspirational skills of the parents, which can only affect the ability of their children to get out of poverty.

    The second worst must be the watering-down of education into almost a warm, insipid soup – where education in some ways tries to make up for the social limitations that the children live under. School teachers become social workers in microcosm.

    Schools become last-ditch refuges where some sense can be made for our troubled children. The education of our poorest children suffers, then, because teachers are too tied up with just keeping children in line.

    But the third and most difficult cause to address is the destruction of social cohesion in families. The ever-greater encroachment of consumerism is a pallid replacement for the real needs of growing children. Children are reduced to appetites. Even among the poorest families, their desires and ambitions are corrupted through TV and other media by the constant entreatries and blandishments of the marketplace.

    Even the poorest must aspire to a cell phone and designer trainers. Even the poorest must wish themselves into a haven of commodity plenty. They have no role to play other than to consume.

    The end result is the destruction of children as part of society; they are broken off into a separate part of the community. From birth until they leave home, they are reduced to being mouths, forever demanding attention, rather than allowed to grow up and have a real role in family life. They are turned into a gap between birth and work, and nothing can be more damaging to their sense of wellbeing.

    Why is it that the US and the UK are so bad at creating social opportunity and mobility for their poorest? Largely because of the interface between welfare and consumerism.

    Welfare has been so distorted in these two economies into a badge of dishonour. It is not the hopeful thing it was invented to be. Instead of supporting, it impedes.

    The usual rightwing response is to damn and condemn the poor for their inability to rise. The usual liberal response is to place impediments in the way of the poor growing into independent people, and thereby condemning their children to social impoverishment.

    If we wish to break the shackles that keep our poor poor, then we need to liberate them from dependency. And that cannot be done with welfare that breaks their spirit and imprisons their children.

    We need a new welfare: a welfare that enables our children to fare well so they can say farewell to welfare. And we need to keep the abusive marketplace of unchecked consumerism out of our children’s lives as much as possible.

    We owe it to the poorest in society to give them the encouragement of becoming independent, so that they can choose to live their lives the way they wish – rather than the way it has been foisted upon them.

    It’s left to speculation how much ££ Bird is worth?

    John Bird

    July 7, 2010 at 8:58 pm

    • John Bird is someone getting too big for his boots. He has an MBE – nice to have but is the lowest of the medals.

      Not sure about his wealth. He has Government links so I wouldnt be surprised if “Dave” (not the TV channel) wasn’t giving him back handers from the Treasury to make this “speech”.

      Afterall, he is a big name in poverty and homelessness – if he steps forward and say benefits should be cut thats a reference/letter of support “independent” of the Government. This means ConDem is planning of cutting benefits – shoudl we be worried? Yes! I worked it out myself JSA needs to be £10 higher a week – others would argue more.

      “The Big Issue Company publishes a weekly entertainment and current affairs magazine, which Big Issue sellers (or vendors) buy for 85p and sell for £1.70, thereby earning 85p per copy.” I always had thought that they only made 20p-40p per copy – perhaps a middleman or dependent on where you are in the country.

      Also, whereas there is a Foundation which is a Charity the body whom prints the magazine is a private business with shareholders (perhaps its owned solely by the charity?)

      Bird is on the Board of Directors.

      This bypass most financial obligations which charitable organisations must deliver and allows only a proportion on profits made to be reinvested into the Foundation as at its discretion. The private business doesn’t have to pay dividends, donate any money to the Foundation and is free to pay whatever its wants for its staff, management and directors. (I have not seen the accounts so I am not sure what the setup is, my sole point is that the Big Issue should be run by the Foundation.)

      As for John Bird, the “entrepreneur” after setting up Big Issue with someoene else in 1991, other ventures included “Wedge card” in 1996 (never heard of it) and abctales.com in 2010 (never heard of it).

      Dont want to discredit his achievements, he is more successful than me (at the moment haha – can always hope) but it has all gone to his head. When he co-founded (yes!) Big Issue… it was on the concept that homelessness people should try to help themselves in addition to other support.

      Oh yeah, if a jobseeker is homeless… can s/he sell the Big Issue without it affecting his or hers benefits? (it is pretty much setting up your own small business, self-employment although you wouldnt need to register)

      Flexible New Deal

      July 8, 2010 at 9:18 am

    • I hope that this is not the case, but given John Bird’s obvious right-wing tendencies, this snippet from the Big Issue back issues gives causes for concern: Capital punishment – why we are on the cusp of a social revolution Hmmm, I hope that he has not been writing to David Cameron again: JOBLESS MUST SUFFER DEATH BY HANGING SAYS JOHN BIRD – the Final Solution to unemployment.

      More on Crime & Punishment: Noveslist (sic) and writer of The wire, George Pelecanos talks crime and punishment, hmmm. Add into the mix, repeated reference to the murder of a Big Issue seller and a trend seems to be developing, nay an obsession with this type of subject matter – or maybe it just sells more papers.

      The Big Issue – Money for Old Rope. Anyone know where you can download back issues of this rag in pdf format?

      Albert Pierrepoint

      July 11, 2010 at 10:15 am

      • The Big Issue is a fraudulent scam.

        You can get back copies (£4) and subscriptions (£250+) which are paid direct to the Big Issue Company, so no homeless person get their 50% cut of the magazine value.

        So how does this HELP the homeless? It doesn’t.

        a) It bypasses the homeless vendors
        b) Big Issue Foundation helps homeless vendors, but the money go direct to the commercial company and not the charity.

        Who do I call? Trading Standards? I think this actually falls under the police remit.

        Flexible New Deal

        July 11, 2010 at 10:22 am

    • I hope that this is not the case, but given John Bird’s obvious right-wing tendencies, this snippet from the Big Issue back issues gives causes for concern: Capital punishment – why we are on the cusp of a social revolution Hmmm, I hope that he has not been writing to David Cameron again: JOBLESS MUST SUFFER DEATH BY HANGING SAYS JOHN BIRD – the Final Solution to unemployment. I wouldn’t put it past the pugnacious looking, just-stepped-out of a gangland movie thug.

      More on Crime & Punishment: Noveslist (sic) and writer of The wire, George Pelecanos talks crime and punishment, hmmm. Add into the mix, repeated reference to the murder of a Big Issue seller and a trend seems to be developing, nay an obsession with this type of subject matter – or maybe it just sells more papers.

      The Big Issue – Money for Old Rope. Anyone know where back issues of this rag can be downloaded in pdf format?

      Albert Pierrepoint

      July 11, 2010 at 10:18 am

      • Capital punishment of hanging for fraudsters? John Bird could be stabbing himself in the back. Of course, if capital punishment was brought back (it wont be), he might want to commit suicide by stabbing himself in the back, would save himself from an embarassing death by hanging.

        Flexible New Deal

        July 11, 2010 at 10:30 am

  20. “The illegal drugs industry would be lost without the support of the welfare state” – come again, what John Bird on?

    John Bird

    July 7, 2010 at 9:00 pm

  21. “Instead, the state should demand work in return for benefits, with some unemployed forced to renovate housing estates, parks and other public places.” if there is work to be done, why don’t you pay them pay them you tosspot? Or is it only the rich that are allowed to “consume”?

    John Bird

    July 7, 2010 at 9:04 pm

  22. This site and the contents on it are getting too personal and crude.
    It should be moderated to back to what it was intend. discussions without the personalities being dragged thru the mud

    H.C Anderson

    July 8, 2010 at 10:06 am

    • Well, I would say that there is personal problem when John Bird starts pronouncing in favour of benefit cuts. I also wonder just why people who do full-time Community work should not be paid at least the minimum wage, or preferably the rate-for-the-job.

      There is a wider, non-individual problem about the Big Issue.

      I wonder how it actually helps people.

      There are plenty of sellers in Ipswich, some have been doing this for a very long time.

      How have they been helped?

      Andrew Coates

      July 8, 2010 at 11:08 am

      • You don’t have to be homeless to sell the Big Issue, that’s a common misconception. It’s what you’d call it’s unique selling- point, how it is marketed. The Big Issue has nowt to do with the homeless, it’s a front and a scam to line the pockets of John Bird.

        BTW John Bird is a cunt. Ultra Left-wing Communist when it suited him. Now he’s made lots of ££££s out of other people’s misfortune he being a far right-wing Nazi bastard suits him. Oh, yeah, I hate the guy.

        Big Issue Seller

        July 8, 2010 at 11:58 am

      • BIS… you summed up my essay well!

        It is a USP indeed.

        Flexible New Deal

        July 8, 2010 at 12:23 pm

      • RE: The Big Issue


        It appears in order for any homeless person to get any support from the Foundation they must work for the commercial business (not the foundation) as a “vendor co-ordinator” (basically means recruiting other homeless people)… sound a lot like Christianity lol, anyway…

        The above comment (in the link) states about how one person received help on his FIFTH time of Big Issue (only after he signed up as a VC)… he had moved from his original home of Worksop… all around the country including, London, Manchester, Up North, Birmingham… and he secured himself a job.

        The Big Issue Foundation doesnt seem interested in helping people secure employment (the best way out of poverty) but only temporary housing needs in hostels etc.

        Flexible New Deal

        July 12, 2010 at 9:04 am

      • It sounds a bit like a Pyramid scheme:

        You recruit someone to recruit someone else…

        Andrew Coates

        July 12, 2010 at 10:23 am

      • Problem-Reaction-Solution

        PROBLEM: John Bird write to David Cameron: JOBLESS MUST LOSE HOMES leads to millions of hungry and homeless people on the streets.

        REACTION: John Bird feigns outrage, he can’t ever recall writing to David Cameron: JOBLESS MUST LOSE HOMES

        SOLUTION: John Bird recruits the legions of cardboard-box dwellers as Big Issue sellers resulting in John Bird becoming richer than Emma Harrison.

        David Icke

        July 12, 2010 at 12:18 pm

  23. Thats simple Andy – its a major scam!

    I am always walking past the same people selling the Big Issue… been doing it for years although they move about a lot. I also think that they can’t be making the 85p profit margin as when I have seen people buy them over the years (only a few occasions though, I am not stalking the vendor lol) its not been that much, no where near!

    Each “vendor” gets between 5-10 free copies (10 in London, 5 elsewhere). If the £1.70 magazine is sold to 5 people at full price that makes £8.50 – thats enough to buy 10 more papers (Ironically enough calculates out perfectly…). Although the person could have been trying for an hour to get rid of 5 magazines, it leaves the person at that moment in time break-even in certain respects. Sells all 10… makes £8.50 (funny enough… I am sure all employees are on minimum wage) the cycle continues?

    Lets forget all the hype crap… it is simple, in 1991 Gordon Roddick came back from America and copied an idea in New York with a newspaper (“Street News”) he saw an idea to make money from it… he flew back from America and met John Bird, someone with “print trade” experience who just happened to be homeless and joined forces to make a magazine with the same (or similar) american concept under a private for-profit business.

    Making a product is basic stuff – lets be fair. Selling it is a completely different thing. There are HUNDREDS of magazines and its difficult to get it distributed into shops, very difficult. Roddick, who co-founded Body Shop isn’t dumb, he looked at this homeless man (Bird) and got inspiration…. Even if they had got the magazine into shops, there is one major problem… its sale or return, meaning if the newsagents don’t sell them they get returned… and you pay for distribution of them to and from, you only get paid when they are sold. If you get the magazine returned, not only do you have out-of-date (back copies) magazines which can be hard to sell, you have had to pay the distributor to transport them, not to mention the other overhead costs (printing, staff etc.).

    So you cant get a distributor… or concession in a major store, where do you sell them? You can do it yourself from your car boot, illegal (or legal with a license) street sales or open a shop (which is overkill for one magazine)… or you can get others to help you sell it… but there is nothing in it for them, when you are making less than NMW with no profit. If homeless people, whom lets face it are deemed to have nothing better to do, and there are homeless people everywhere… can distribute the magazines (one tick) and it can be seen as have a good purpose behind it (corporate responsibility etc.) (another tick) its a win win right?

    Well… so, you have this private for-profit magazine publishing business helped by homeless people… I guess there was much controversy regarding it, that some years later in 1995 they had to create a charity called the Big Issue Foundation which would actually try and help homeless people. Its latest accounts (the charity) reveals only a million pound turnover (a lot of money for an individual – but for a charity that is established for over a decade and its objectives are helping people who sell a magazine which is a household name, it isn’t) with only half of its income spent on its charitable activities. Although its AIMS are in general for homeless people, its activities are quoted as saying “OUR WORK WITH THE BIG ISSUE VENDORS FOCUSES [..]” which implies all the charity do is subsidise the private business expenses of distributing the magazines?

    As soon as the charity was in the process of being formed, previously-homeless Bird gained an MBE, and soon after that gained many awards and nominations. Funny that. I was even surprised that Gordon Roddick was involved, been very quiet…. I guess it is PR spin as John Bird was indeed homeless at one point which is a better marketing image than the profiteering. John Bird is the “Editor in Chief” and a director.

    Looking through one of their accounts (2008/09) some worrying signs appear. The Company charged the Charity £232,480 for occupancy and “services”. Bare in mind this is about a quarter of their income. The Charity owed the Company £1,931. The Charity charged the Company £24,054 for good and services provided. It seems like the non-profit Charity and for-profit Company is in bed together sharing same resources for the purposes of more profit for the Company. It is a shame this is allowed – and Bird is a director of the Company as well as a Trustee of the Charity. The charity should be run separate and have its own premises.

    So, yeah what was I saying? It is a scam! Should be closed down: I am sure some of it related to fraud… this post to be known as: “The Big Statement”.

    Flexible New Deal

    July 8, 2010 at 12:22 pm

  24. people are already taking daily efforts to find a job,this is nothing new,however the realities are somewhat different.try it. driving claimants back to work what with a food parcel distribution scheme while the government has made numerous statements coming to power about the jobless and the dosser scrounger that everyone’s sick of hearing of its played down the wider problems of society that have contributed to it,namely policies’ of the last thirty years that have lead to economic collapse focusing on financial markets and the giant roulette wheel as the way forward and its downturns.

    what a complete shambles this country is in divided while labeled changing attitudes this caused a self interest,contempt for anyone but number one at the same time debt ridden irresponsibility has fed this stupidity.

    its turned its attentions to the sick and the disabled setting up more programs with charitable groups to help these back to work what they are overlooking in all of this is the persons prospects of any real chance of any long term success and exposing people to real problems’ the attitudes of some towards those that have faced years of unemployment has from what i have personally experienced has been somewhat less then what the government is saying.


    July 9, 2010 at 2:26 am

    • Spot On Ken,

      It just seems like the new government have run out of ideas on the unemployment front or just haven’t got any ideas on the unemployment and have already ended up down the same dead end ideas cul de sac that everybody critisised Labour for.

      The last government and the new government don’t have one credible expert on unemployment and till they get some they are just doomed to repeat this stupid farce forever, The real experts on unemplyment and what’s needed to get backto workare the unemployed so the only way forward is to consult the unemployed, no government would bring in laws effecting buisness without first working with buisness or laws effecting the military without consulting the military so why not consult the unemployed who actualy know what the hell their talking about?

      Lowestoft's Finest

      July 9, 2010 at 6:53 am

  25. Now here is an idea for when you are shafted onto Workfare – why not offer to do the “overseer”s job for LESS, there will be plenty of “margin” to play with. Why no offer to do your PA’s job for LESS. It’s called undercutting the market – and it’s how things were in the UK depression of 1927 onwards. ANYONE can do most ANY job, most jobs require minimal training and almost ALL jobs require doing the same thing intellectual or physical over and over again. Why work for less, let someone else work for less!


    July 9, 2010 at 8:18 am

    • Good point, however, you have missed the purpose of this all. Its not about “undercutting the market”: someone is already doing that job; its about giving workfare participants jobs that no one wants to do and that which the courts have given someone to do.

      If I was taking over the supervisors job, I would be inviting everyone down the pub, so it clearly wouldnt work.

      Flexible New Deal

      July 9, 2010 at 10:27 am

      • Yeah, I know it’s flawed logic, (well, as far as Workfare goes).

        If anything Workfare will be WORSE than Community Payback because Workfare doesn’t even pay lip-service to rehabilitation. Workfare just harks back to the days of the stocks. Workfare supervisors will Burn in Hell.

        Why don’t those who seem so keen on others doing shitty jobs that no-one wants to do (like that piece of shit John Bird) do them themselves. Problem solved.


        July 9, 2010 at 11:24 am

    • There’s nothing like state schemes that rely on forced conscription for lining the pockets of the unscrupulous overseers. Go to Russia which still has forced conscription and you will see Red Army conscripts in the fields cutting cabbages, or working fixing private cars, or even begging on the streets in major cities all to earn many for their units oficers and NCO’s.

      No doubt the Reed Army will be as crooked as the Red Army, a body rots from the head down.

      Lowestoft's Finest

      July 10, 2010 at 12:57 pm

      • As A Prophet I see a SPELLING MISTAKE- Mr Lowestoft’s Finest.

        It Should Be REED ARMY [After All These Are The B******S that will run WORKFARE


        July 11, 2010 at 10:28 am

      • Moses

        Ha got you !!! I spell something right for the first time ever on this board “Reed Army” as in RIP Army but I fooled you into thinking I meant Red Army but had
        spelt it wrong as per normal

        Google “Minsk-Pinsk Jokes” to see the cunning psychology I used.
        Alternitivly wait till the end of the week when the Now Show mysteriously start explaining Minsk-Pinsk Jokes.

        OFSTED Report: “All Lowestoft’s Finest’s posts are Edumacational beyond compare”.

        Lowestoft's Finest

        July 16, 2010 at 8:32 pm

  26. I know we will all probably end up working for less, but far better that we are ALL working for next than suffer the humiliation of working for nothing whilst all along knowing that others are being better paid for doing less.


    July 9, 2010 at 8:22 am

  27. […] This isn’t a retaliation remark at all, as a human being he can have his own opinion but after a discussion on sister site Ipswich Unemployed Action, doubt was raised on why he said what he did and the actual success of the Big […]

  28. This is one sharp practice used by business to siphon off money and conceal profits. This is why you can see a large turnover but only a small profit or even a loss.

    It’s called “Hollywood Accounting”.


    Angelina Jolie

    July 10, 2010 at 7:31 am

  29. Has anybody found out for how many hours a week WORKFARE participants will be forced to work. After all the European Working Time Directive. Enshrined In the European Human Rights Act has set the working week at 37.5 hours a week.


    July 10, 2010 at 7:47 am

    • The European Working Time Directive sets the maximum working week at 48 hours; the UK has opted out though. The maximum working week in the UK is 84 hours. —

      Cavanagh QC

      July 10, 2010 at 8:36 am

    • About 30 hours a week,

      Funny A4e Photos

      July 10, 2010 at 10:14 am

  30. “those deemed fit” you just cannot treat disabled people like that,many disabilities have been present lifelong and despite some attempting to overlook and play down these will not make a bit of difference.

    while see the person not the disability makes good pr,the reality on applying for vacancies’ is a lot different,people with learning disabilities often have problems’ and no amount of bullying is ever going to change that,forcing people to attend threatening job centres’ where bigotry is rife, followed by incompetence and arrogance is unjust unfair and at times unlawful.this is all compounded by the fact they are ill prepared to cope with all this,its no good having people who are struggling on benefit’s like jobseeker’s and hope they will disappear this proves that the systems wrong.the wrong people to deal with difficult cases’.


    July 12, 2010 at 11:30 am

  31. Why Brits Refuse ‘Menial’ Jobs

    “Nobody talks for eight hours.”
    Last week this was how a teenage relation of mine justified his reluctance to take a job as an office cleaner.

    I thought of him today when I heard our immigration minister say this: “It is a dangerous path we have gone down where we say that there are some jobs we want done but the British people just will not do them.” The minister, Damian Green, added: “Constantly importing people to do the jobs is no way to run a society.”

    Setting aside the vexed questions of whether there ought to be a cap on immigration, it is worth parsing what Mr Green is really saying here. He is spreading the blame. We are all at fault because we have all failed to challenge the idea that some jobs are beneath the natives.

    On one level there is nothing new in what is happening in Britain. Cheap labour has long been drawn into the UK to fill shortages and undercut local wages. If, for example, you travel to work on a Victorian Underground line, or your children are educated in an Edwardian school, or your summer holiday takes you onto a canal; there is every chance you will be benefitting from the toil of Irish navvies.

    Nowadays the same economic function is filled by Polish plumbers. There is a dearth of Britons who can do the job at affordable rates.

    But Damian Green is still right when he says we are going down a “dangerous path”. When the navvies broke their bodies on the wheel of the industrial revolution they were in competition with indigenous workers. Similarly, the Latvian plasterer who has just finished your bathroom has not replaced the local equivalent. You are simply using the man from Riga because he is cheap, cleans-up behind himself and brings his own flask of tea.

    The point is – there are still Britons willing to fix your leaking cistern. Yet you will now be hard-pressed, in certain parts of the UK, to find locals who will ‘lower’ themselves to do jobs they feel ought to be reserved for foreigners. That might be picking strawberries in Norfolk (leave it to the Bulgarians, Estonians, Portugese….), or hoovering in Norwood (leave it to the Poles, Zimbabweans, Indians….).

    This is a kind of soft racism and one which we are all complicit in. The lion’s share of the blame falls on our hereditary welfare claimants who refuse to do jobs they deem below their station. But a smaller portion of that blame falls on those of us who have allowed an excuse to take root. We have shrugged our shoulders when people have said “I’m not doing that job” or, in my relation’s case, “I’m not doing that job because nobody talks for eight hours”.

    I fear that the recession will render such explanations irrelevant. We can afford to be choosy about job satisfaction if the welfare state permits or, frankly – encourages – such fastidiousness. But if this really is an age of austerity – any job will do.

    Colin Brazier

    July 19, 2010 at 9:14 am

    • Usually, Colin, not wanting to take a bad job has nothing to with jobs being “below” people’s station.

      People refuse a lot of these posts because they’re Agency work.

      I wonder if you’ve ever done these kind of jobs.

      I have when I was a teenager: in London in the 1970s you could walk our from one into another just like that, manual, routine office, stuff that was pretty rubbish, even spending a few months (as I did) being paid cash in hand as a market trader (puzzle-rings and similar tat) in central London. At the time some of my mates did work as cleaners for Agencies. They had bad words about them even then – lousy payers, made you run all over the place, and treated you like the dirt you cleaned.

      This is not a long-term way of living.

      Once you’re trapped with an Agency they can give you the hours that suit them, not you. You can jump from a full working week to a few hours, just like that. Plus you can get treated like shit. You can get in real trouble with the rent and bills like that.

      This is common knowledge.

      If you’re not working class yourself do you not have mates who are?

      Ask them.

      Migrant workers stick it out because they think it’s short-term, they don’t care too much about sharing a house/flat that’s not exactly brilliant, because they know this is not going to be (they hope) their life. Mind you there’s plenty who get in real trouble as well.

      I await you signing up with, say Reed International.

      Andrew Coates

      July 19, 2010 at 10:46 am

    • Colin: In my opinion If your teenage relative has never had a job and doesn’t have any skills there is a real danger that by even refusing to consider a cleaning job he is in danger of becoming unemployable!

      Funny A4e Photos

      July 19, 2010 at 12:34 pm

  32. Anyone know what IBS meant by this:

    “Those who take the risk and try and work and try to take those jobs are the people that we want to support in society. And the trouble is under the previous government what we had from them endlessly was the levels of support for those, who didn’t risk, who didn’t take a chance were too high for them ever to make (sic) that risk. So the answer is very simply, we will value those who try and we will make sure that things like housing and unemployment benefits are set at rates that doesn’t discourage people from taking work.”

    Green Bench

    July 20, 2010 at 8:21 am

    • a very long-winded way of saying
      “I’m going to cut benefits”


      July 20, 2010 at 10:22 am

    • Assuming that is a direct quote of IBS… very conservative! Somehow you can just tell its some bullshit one of their lot would say.

      (This said I dont support labour neither; all as crap as each other)

      Flexible New Deal

      July 20, 2010 at 10:36 am

  33. Green Bench

    July 20, 2010 at 8:27 am

  34. That tosser John Bird up to his old tricks spouting more drivel about stringing up the unemployed on today’s You and Yours on BBC Radio 4.

    Bourbon Cream

    July 20, 2010 at 11:43 am

  35. Goverment is planning something:


    They are pushing through a Bill to tweak NMW legislation to exclude people from falling under it:-

    a) apprentices from Oct on minimum of £2.50 per hour
    b) people “in training” are already exempt from the legislation

    My comments are on the lines of perhaps they are doing this instead of workfare? Either having a scheme to exclude people living up to their rights or a new NMW rate for longterm unemployed, could be 20p over the Work for Your Benefit hourly rate.

    Flexible New Deal

    July 24, 2010 at 10:42 am

  36. Duncan Contracts Ltd provide a full property repair service following a flood, fire or storm. They are experienced in dealing with insurance companies and their systematized approach to claims ensures a quick and responsive service. One call and they will ensure a fully projected managed service from start to completion.


    August 19, 2010 at 11:42 am

  37. For all plumbing emergencies in Ipswich we can provide professional service within an hour and we are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We specialise in all aspects of plumbing, including kitchen plumbing, boiler installation and servicing, bathroom plumbing, toilet plumbing, shower plumbing, drainagee clearing & repairs, central heating, and radiator heating.


    September 12, 2010 at 7:59 pm

  38. There’ll be thousands of homeless and destitute unemployed people sleeping in parks all over the country, and there will be a massive crime-wave. The Tory scum are creating grater poverty, higher unemployment, more draconian benefits rules, sacking half the coppers and switching off street lights to save money; result = muggers paradise.

    Working Class Lad

    November 21, 2010 at 10:26 pm

    • Why are you worrying about coppers being sacked – it will be the coppers that accompany the bailiffs when they come to evict you: “Just doing my job, come along now. It’s a warm January night despite the metre high snow, you can borrow a blanket from the Salvation Army”

      Foot Soldier

      November 21, 2010 at 10:38 pm

    • PS You don’t really know if they are actually sacking coppers – that’s just what the media tells you.

      Foot Soldier

      November 21, 2010 at 10:41 pm

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