Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Bounty Hunters to Help Run Dole.

with 48 comments

Dog the DWP Bounty Hunter.

Bounty hunters to cut benefit fraud by £1bn

Private agencies are to be paid by the Government to reduce benefit fraud by £1billion, David Cameron is to announce.

As an estimated one in three claimants is suspected at some point, either through being reported by a ‘whistle-blower’  (translation: informer witha  grudge against someone) or after suspicions are raised by staff, the financial records of millions of people could be vetted.

The credit company will be able to cross-check information about private household spending, such as utility bills, mobile phone payment details and satellite television subscriptions (Note: who can afford that for long on the Dole?), against benefit records to identify potential fraudsters.

People with “lifestyles that are inconsistent with those claiming incapacity benefit” will also be highlighted (Note: ability to walk and breath are known signs of faud).

Claimants spending large sums on gardening (?), DIY (Note:  fixing stuff yourself sign of fraud)  and foreign holidays (Note: it is presently illegal for a person on JSA to travel out of the country) may come under scrutiny.

More Here.

Dog the Bounty Hunter (Cartman) will be out there:  Respect my authoritah!

 

Training Video For Fraud Busters:

 

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Written by Andrew Coates

August 10, 2010 at 9:02 am

48 Responses

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  1. Great link TUC, Looks like “Call Me Dave” got his statistics the same place Sir Digby Jones gets his from.

    Whilst on the subject of dishonest rich bullshiters I couldn’t help notice this article as well on Morning Star site.

    http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/index.php/news/content/view/full/93821

    Lowestoft's Finest

    August 10, 2010 at 10:11 am

    • Rubbish, Lowestoft’s Finest. The unemployed cost the economy £1billion a second.

      Digby's Statistian

      August 10, 2010 at 10:31 am

      • Or was that £1trillion an hour?

        Flexible New Deal

        August 11, 2010 at 2:06 pm

      • Don’t forget the loss interest as well. That must be another £50.000 a second

        stavros

        August 13, 2010 at 2:51 pm

  2. I would like thank Norwich’s Finest Baron Von Larkman for the kind loan of his Avatar as my old one seems to have been burnt down in suspicious circumstances.

    Lowestoft's Finest

    August 10, 2010 at 10:17 am

  3. its a pity credit reference agencies information failed when lenders to lent recklessly causing the problems that were already considerable.
    the government has no right to use personal information like this many people dont know whats already on there anyway and whats available for companies to see about them and are uneasy with these companies’,this information has very little to do with benefit fraud and tackling it, no one is sure how much there is and benefit cheats would could easily find other routes this is why its called the black economy people already working and doing cash jobs he doesn’t mention and tax avoiding.another diversion on the cameron obsession with benefit claimants,instead he should be running around criticising lenders/bankers which landed the taxpayer with 850 billion debt and clawing back every penny daily,however he has said in the past he wont banker bash so turn on the poor instead.
    this is all he and duncan smith have kept on and on about.

    something to be proud of.

    ken

    August 10, 2010 at 10:57 am

  4. Well said, Ken. I’m sure everyone has noticed since the new government came to power there has been an almost daily stream of headlines in the right wing press demonising the unemployed and IB claimants.

    In my opinion the government are ‘scapegoating them for the problems caused by the banks and other irresponsible financial institutions which have caused the current crisis.

    Combating tax avoidance would be much more expensive and more complicated than going after benefit claimants. So why not go after easier targets instead.

    Funny A4e Photos

    August 10, 2010 at 11:36 am

  5. Tracking and identifying purchasing/spending habits would be the only way to identify “benefit fraud”, so are credit reference agencies know whether we bought value beans or the more up-market, alarm-bell ringing supermarket own brand or perish the thought “branded beans”? How much information do they hold on us?

    This is all heading towards a Dystopian nightmare where we are paid in government tokens/credits and money in has to equal money out. Oh, and the A4e “bank”.

    It also demonstrates the need to protect our privacy and jealously card our data from “third parties”. Credit reference agency today. Tomorrow?

    Value Beans

    August 10, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    • I think its a fucking joke tbh!

      You should be able to send a Data Protection Act 1998 Subject Access Request asking for the financial information one of those credit reference agencies holds on yourself.

      Its your data… why pay?!

      As for the Dystopian nightmare… I think its more of a case of becoming an unemployed council estate… where claimants must maintain within the boundaries, collect their food and live in accommodation (think 8 in a room bunk-beds) all paid for… you dont get paid money, and 9-6 every day monday to friday you must non-stop seek work. You can only leave when you have a job. Of course, leisure facilities do exist, although run down.

      Flexible New Deal

      August 10, 2010 at 2:21 pm

  6. How many times do you need telling.
    Benefits [of every kind] is money provided by the British taxpayer. It is GOVERNMENT MONEY not yours by right. Therefore just as MP’s and other public figures account for how and what the money they receive as expenses is used for, then as sure as hell the government have a right to know what the money you are given is spent on. Not things like alcohol tobbaco and betting. Useful things like clothes bills and expenses for travel to interviews etc.
    By the way Scarface, DON’T WASTE YOUR TIME REPLYING. I know what crap you are going to say.

    Stavros

    August 10, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    • and who generated it,those “given it” are finding it quickly taken again in living costs.unlike those who pay no or little tax tax and and jetset.most of whats paid in benefits is claimed back in the form of vat except on food one way or the other and all is fed back into the economy.
      its typical government thinking banks/financial institutions and those related,out of touch around the table cabinet and civil servants with no thought for whats really happening and the consequences for those in the population,silly ideas from a clueless government that does not have an over all majority because the country is so divided no need to ask who’s to blame for that and where its all lead.

      ken

      August 10, 2010 at 2:06 pm

    • Stavros… would have been better if you were starvoff.

      Flexible New Deal

      August 10, 2010 at 2:16 pm

    • I am running a course for the Unemployed based on this book:

      http://www.amazon.co.uk/How-Horse-Racing-Teach-Yourself/dp/0340860030

      Applications welcome.

      Just from the Bookies

      August 10, 2010 at 2:40 pm

    • Hey buddy. Butt out!

      Scarface

      August 10, 2010 at 3:26 pm

      • Dear ‘Mr’ ‘Scarface’,

        Please be aware that one day maybe soon, You too will be in work.

        See it then from the otherside of the coin. I mean you are a taxpayer!. A taxpayer who supports ‘Doleys'{?}, lol I think not buddy!

      • Hey Stavros, buddy. What you talking about, you got a problem?

        Scarface

        August 11, 2010 at 10:47 am

    • It seems that people like you do not look enough into benefits if you say things like that. After all, jobseekers allowance is TAXED. Yep, benefits is subject to tax before it is paid, so JSA claimants are also paying tax.

      Oh by the way, I am employed, in recruitment.

      Lamblet

      August 11, 2010 at 11:06 am

  7. The governments vilification of the unemployed, cheerily backed by the MSM, is creating a deranged and thoroughly baseless resentment in wider society. An army of spoilt middle-class whiners are now convinced that the unemployed are the reason the economy is falling to bits, and consequently there is growing support for ever more punitive and spiteful measures against claimants. This won’t end well.

    Boom Boom

    August 10, 2010 at 1:50 pm

  8. Agree with you Andrew. But also what is left out of the equation is the amount of benefits that are either underpayed or not claimed at all, this goes into the billions. And of course the real massive drop in the financial ocean is tax evasion and avoidance….which is estimated to be £30bn and that’s a conservative estimate. Unfortunately I can’t see Cameron declaring war on Jersey!!

    harpymarx

    August 10, 2010 at 4:25 pm

    • The problem with benefit fraud is its not about working cash in hand, claiming to be disabled without the ability to walk 10 yards but playing sports or not declaring a partner and claiming extra money than entitled to…

      All benefit fraud is, is either making a false representation to claim benefit or failing to report Change of Circumstances while claiming.

      This is a problem the Government is failing to address. If they are serious about stopping benefit fraud then they need to stop the benefit fraud adverts they wasted taxpayers cash on promoting stereotypical scenarios (although their website clearly states its not just about the common thought of frauds)… which they have done and start advising what changes people need to report.

      For example, all jobseekers know they must not be working without declaring it, must be available to work and looking for work…. most don’t know about other changes such as if you go away from home for more than a day, leave the country, declaring voluntary work and having someone move in with you. If people were educated about these changes then genuine claimants wont make these mistakes… less administrative costs and a lot less money lost to fraud. I have made new claim and never got told what change of circumstances are and which I have to report.

      You can find this out by looking on the benefit fraud website but why would genuine claimants do that if not reporting anyone? Directgov now have a section on it, useful for to-be new claimants but existing claimants are not going to look. Also, ES40 booklets contain a rough summary… but I and others I know of, use the booklet just to sign on and think the content inside is solely about signing off when getting a job. No purpose to look inside it. People don’t know.

      The other issue is benefit fraud is inflated… and unfair. If a person for example fails to report a change of address (they should without a doubt; but anyway for purposes of discussion…) when DWP finds out they calculate the paid out benefit since the move and until they close or freeze the claim and accuse the person of STEALING that money.

      Of course, 1) if the person had declared it… the exact same amount of money at the same time would be paid (no overpayment and the person remains entitled by JSA conditions) 2) didn’t make too much of a deliberate misrepresentation if the person didn’t know about reporting such. This is why unlawful sanctions imposed of “benefit cheats” annoy me as its these people who genuinely were unaware of reporting such specific changes end up losing money via sanctions and even including being made to give back the benefit. Real benefit thieves must be jailed, most get away with it.

      Of course, they are using credit reference agencies to track suspected benefit thieves. Actually, the Government has always used this especially with housing benefit claims, so its just PR with a new big “campaign”. What they are not realising is… the big time benefit fraudsters do not leave a paper trail in their name. They steal identities (especially those who have left the country) etc. to pocket large amount of taxpayers cash and are off the radar working underground… they only get caught out via benefit fraud helpline tip offs. Assets are so easily disposed of, taxpayers hardly ever see the money back… and DWP etc. spend too long investigating cases wanting super strong evidence for a prosecution… a year might be adequate, tracking someone for up to 5 years is waiting too long. Going back to the lower-amounts-of-money benefit fraud by mostly people who are unaware and didn’t commit fraud with deliberate intent… gets accused very easily!!

      Flexible New Deal

      August 10, 2010 at 5:17 pm

  9. If this is a crack down on benefit fraud are these private companies also going to be snooping on the finances of people getting tax credits, child benefit or pension credits as well?

    Remember the benefit bill isn’t only due to people being on JSA or ESA all those other benefits have cut off points and as the poorest pensioner claiming pension credits gets over twice the amount of someone claiming JSA it seems only fair that they are going to be under the same srutiny?

    If other claimant groups arn’t facing the same scrutiny I think this is discrimination and a breach of human rights.

    Lowestoft's Finest

    August 10, 2010 at 5:17 pm

    • Apparently they will check all new benefit claims and existing claims of those suspected of benefit fraud.

      Funny A4e Photos

      August 10, 2010 at 5:41 pm

      • I have heard that 70% of households recieve some kind of benefit. I should imagine the majority of which are income related. I think the vast majority of the benefits bill is down to this unemployment is just a tiny percentage in comparison. So is everybody recieving income related benefits now going to be subjected to the same investigation?

        If so could someone in work in a minimum wage job recieving tax credits and housing benefit could now look forward to being pulled in for living beyond their means,or some newly set up small buisnessman declaring their income as only X and recieving tax credits now thanks to his credit card trail find himself hauled in by the Tax office over spending beyond his declared income?

        Lowestoft's Finest

        August 11, 2010 at 12:04 pm

      • Only 70%? Thats shocking as people assume JSA and disability benefits…

        However, add Tax Credits, CTC, Child Benefit, Housing Benefit/Allowance, Pensions, Pension Credits, etc. it then become surprising why its only 70%.

        Pensioners: Pension, Pension Credits, Winter Fuel payments etc.

        Workers: Tax Credits etc.

        Low income families/people: Housing Allowance/Benefit, Council tax benefit etc.

        Young people in education: EMA

        Unemployed people who are capable of work: JSA

        Unemployed people who are disabled: ESA and DLA etc.

        Those with children: Child Benefit, Child Tax Credit

        Those who care for others: Carers allowance and carers credit

        Misc (various circumstances): Income Support, Christmas Bonus, Maternity Allowance

        Those with bereavement of husband/wife/civil partner: Bereavement benefits/payments etc.

        just a brainstorm of a few benefits I can think of (let me know if any are wrong) they affect all different types of people… if 30% of households aren’t claiming, either 3 in 10 people are very well off, or… many people are under-claiming!

        Flexible New Deal

        August 11, 2010 at 2:32 pm

    • Checking up on Pension credits? Don’t be silly! Didn’t you see me at the supermarket buying those digestives that come in a plain white wrap that say only Digestive, well didn’t you? I’m very poor you see!

      Old Miss Hidehercash

      August 11, 2010 at 11:51 am

      • lol I wonder what the ratio of fraudulent Pension Credit claims to JSA claims is? Going by the “skint” lol pensioners that I know, I reckon something in the order of 1 million to one.

        Brokeback

        August 11, 2010 at 12:25 pm

      • I have to say I find the pensioners who claim to be both completely skint without a penny to their name but at the same time also claim to be “far too proud” to apply for means tested pension credit deeply suspisious.

        When your completely skint and starving pride is the first thing to go out the window, yet these proud people seem to live for years without needing a penny to live off.

        If only we new their secret we could be millionaires on the dole or billionaires on a min wage job.

        Lowestoft's Finest

        August 11, 2010 at 12:41 pm

      • The secret… ah, the secret :-)… is lentil soup and a woolly jumper.

        Pensioner Pete

        August 11, 2010 at 12:46 pm

      • Oh, and plenty of tea… lots of tea 🙂

        Pensioner Pete

        August 11, 2010 at 12:50 pm

      • Define fraudulent! Pension Credits are very high up on the abuse of claiming list I believe.

        Flexible New Deal

        August 11, 2010 at 2:35 pm

  10. You what they are paying private firms more money so more money is being taken out of the system to et everybodies credit rating and just generallypry into peoples lives. Is it just me or isn’t that fundamentally wrong.

    So all you need to get in trouble is a busy body who phones, they will then ,micromanage and investigate the rest of your life. Bloody hell people will have to start doing paper transations and take money out and stock pile it. Just wrong insinuating everyone guilty untl they ar eproven innocent.

    Kyron

    August 11, 2010 at 11:45 am

  11. Tax evasion statistics more than unemployed ? http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/7326911.stm

    Tax evasion costs Treasury 15 times more than benefit fraud
    http://citywire.co.uk/new-model-adviser/tax-evasion-costs-treasury-15-times-more-than-benefit-fraud/a378274

    Kyron

    August 11, 2010 at 11:50 am

  12. kyron

    August 11, 2010 at 12:06 pm

  13. civil liberties groups voiced alarm that agencies could go on “fishing expeditions” to catch fraud suspects. They also raised concerns about “false matches” leading to legitimate claimants being denied benefits.

    Shami Chakrabarti, the director of Liberty, said it was “common sense” to check on the eligibility of long-standing claimants. But she warned: “What we must not do is create a benefit equivalent of parking attendants who are wanting to find people guilty [and] wanting to find people suspicious because that is the way they get paid.”

    Alex Deane, the director of Big Brother Watch, said: “Nobody approves of benefit cheats but mining private data on a routine basis on the off-chance of catching people out is a disproportionate invasion of privacy. Worse still, if profit-making companies are rewarded by the number of people they catch, they will have a perverse incentive to sling accusations in any marginally plausible case.”

    Guy Herbert, of the NOID group which campaigns against what it calls Britain’s “database state”, added: “There is nothing wrong with specific investigations for specific cases but this opens the door to speculative fishing expeditions whereby Experian and others and the Department for Work and Pensions are incentivised to match people with incomplete evidence. They are treated as guilty until proved innocent.”

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/cameron-calls-in-bounty-hunters-to-catch-benefit-fraudsters-2049096.html

    Andrew Coates

    August 11, 2010 at 2:32 pm

    • Will this mean the Crown be requiring leave from a High Court judge?

      Vexatious litigation (which this will be is) an “abuse of process” via the courts. It is more likely to fall under malicious prosecution.

      Although I have a lot of respect for their time they spend, Liberty is a joke… but I feel that the European Courts will have a field day if it got that far.

      Regardless of being innocent the State has a full right to investigate alleged benefit fraud which they discover or are alerted to.

      They also have the ability to do vetting procedures on claimants.

      Where it becomes controversial is getting third parties to help “flag” people who are then likely to instantly have their claim stopped (or payment withheld) and be required to do an interview under caution on tape.

      The implementation is vital to whether or not this will work. Like I mentioned before, Councils and even the DWP had previously used credit reference agencies to nail people for benefit fraud.

      What I will keep saying is the largest offenders are unlikely to be caught up via this detection as they have ways round this. I learnt this from TV programmes… DWP and Councils were there doing the multiple year investigations so have experience of this. The only way they caught these people were by a tip off.

      I even remember one case where a couple were claiming benefit from stealing the indenties of hundreds of people who had left the country. The properties were raided and hundreds of boxes of passports, birth certificated were found. Ironically, in this example, all the people had their claims registered to several homes… and the properties were even owned by the offenders of this benefit fraud.

      If they cannot flag up how something silly like 12 people are living in a flat or house… and that the landlord is raking in taxpayer cash, they have no chance of catching people. I will say it again they only really catch people by tip offs and investigating them.

      But the Government isn’t stupid. Why not buy a subscription to Experian? Simple, to a similar concept of the Welfare-to-Work tribunal scams… If they directly employed staff and flagged say 10,000 people up where only 197 were possible benefit fraud prosecutions… they would be in trouble, it would break the Human Rights Act 1998 and EDHR! European Courts get involved and the system cries…

      IF, they contract it out externally… they can say the “experts” gave such representation and that the Government were acting to help safeguard taxpayers money… which they have a protected right to do.

      Similar to how New Deal sanction tribunals are you… against the DWP which relies on information from the provider… which it deems as factual with their business relationship, established built up a trust… if its wrong then DWP isn’t to blame they were just relying on poor information.

      The method they are using is rather clever but its not a fail safe detection method and if your identity has been stolen… damn!

      Flexible New Deal

      August 11, 2010 at 3:38 pm

      • It wouldn’t be too far off the mark to say that ALL DWP investigations are instigated by a tip-off. DWP staff have their work cut out following up on tip-offs, so don’t have the time to go on fishing expeditions. If you are ever investigated it’s odds on that you have been reported.

        DWP Insider

        August 11, 2010 at 3:48 pm

      • I wonder if they follow up all tip offs or do they use discretion of what seems likely and what doesnt?

        Flexible New Deal

        August 11, 2010 at 3:52 pm

      • Seems the government have knicked a few ideas from the US’s use of private companies like Blackwater Security do do its dirty deeds .

        lowestoft's Finest

        August 11, 2010 at 3:58 pm

  14. I just heard on the news that the old Neo-Labour flagship PFI hospital building sceames (beloved paticulaly by them as they don’t show up in the figures for national debt)have come in at five sixths over estimate.

    How the bloody hell does anything come out at five sixths over estimate? I have yet to meet an adult who’s estimate was this wrong.

    To make things worse these costs have come in five sixths over budget during one of the worst downturns in the building industry for years. On top of things I wonder how many highly paid NHS bureucrats and government ministers worked on the original figures yet they still got them this wrong.

    If anybody should have their finances looked at its this crowd as its pretty obvious when figures go this wrong that fraud has been going on, if not we should challenge the amount the government says we need to live on on JSA each week as we can say yes you said it was only £65 a week but your PFI hospital building iniatives came in at five sixths over estimate so £65 a week works out at £390 a week using the same rule.

    Lowestoft's Finest

    August 13, 2010 at 1:55 pm

  15. Australian Welfare Reform

    http://www.wsws.org/articles/2010/aug2010/jobs-a12.shtml

    Labor pledges new assault on the jobless and welfare recipients

    12 August 2010

    In a document entitled “Modernising Australia’s Welfare System,” the Labor government yesterday announced far-reaching measures designed to punish the unemployed and dismantle welfare entitlements.

    Labor’s welfare plan, released 10 days before the August 21 federal election, makes clear that one of the central agenda items of a re-elected Gillard government will be to force jobless workers off benefits and into low-paid work, and to give employers a green light to slash pay and conditions.

    The announcement is the first instalment of deep cuts to social spending that will follow the election, regardless of whether Labor or Liberal forms the next government, in order to lower corporate taxes and repay the debt incurred through the government’s bailout of the banks and major corporations in 2007-08.

    The blueprint was released jointly by Prime Minister Julia Gillard, welfare minister Jenny Macklin and employment participation minister Mark Arbib. Its most draconian measure is the immediate cutting off of all income support payments to unemployed workers who fail to attend an interview or other “work test” activity.

    Even for a first “failure,” the penalty will apply instantaneously, although it can be reversed if a jobless worker contacts the government’s Centrelink agency and undertakes to attend another scheduled appointment. For a second failure, there will be no back pay, and payments will only re-commence if the unemployed person “re-engages” with Centrelink.

    Under the current “work test,” most unemployed workers are already required to look for up to 10 jobs and report to Centrelink every two weeks, meet regularly with their assigned employment service provider, adhere to “agreed activities,” such as training or job search, and accept job offers, including unskilled positions.

    Long-term unemployed workers will receive payments of up to $6,000 to cover some of the costs involved in relocating to take up a job or apprenticeship in another area. While this scheme is supposedly voluntary, refusal to accept a job offer is grounds for being cut off benefits for eight weeks. If a person leaves a relocation job placement within six months “without good cause” the penalty period will be increased to three months.

    Employers will be offered subsidies of $2,500 for each relocated worker they employ. This incentive could be used to dismiss unwanted employees, or pressure them to quit, in order to replace them with other relocated workers.

    A third measure openly discriminates against welfare recipients. Families receiving income support will be punished if they have a four-year-old child who has not undergone a government-specified “Healthy Kids” medical check-up. Their penalty will be the loss of an annual $726.35 family tax benefit. Other families who receive the tax benefit, but are not on income support, will not be required to obtain such certification from a doctor. This is yet another measure that will withdraw entitlements from parents who do not fulfill certain requirements. The government is already testing the stopping of payments to parents whose children do not attend school.

    Labor’s welfare document also confirms that the government plans to impose its “income management scheme” throughout the entire country. The scheme deprives welfare recipients of 50 percent of their fortnightly benefits and redirects those funds onto “BasicsCards” or direct debit arrangements for approved purchases, such as food, clothing, rents and utility bills. The Rudd/Gillard government had already extended the “welfare quarantining” measure—which the previous Howard government initially introduced to 75 Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory (NT)—to all welfare recipients, indigenous and non-indigenous alike, in the NT.

    The measures against the unemployed constitute the Labor government’s second wave of attacks on the young jobless. In May 2009, it imposed an “earn or learn” scheme that cut 16- to 20-year-olds off youth allowance payments unless they remained at school, enrolled in an accredited training program or attained a Year 12 school certificate. As an added penalty, their parents lost the associated family tax benefit.

    The Liberal Party’s shadow treasurer, Joe Hockey, accused Gillard of stealing the opposition’s policy. Last April, opposition leader Tony Abbott advocated that all people under 30 should have their dole payments cut if they refused to relocate to take up a job offer. Gillard dismissed Hockey’s accusation, saying, “Mr Abbott’s all talk and no action.” She derided Abbott’s “track record of reform” as “zero”: “He writes books and chatters away about these things but in terms of getting anything done, this is the government that has stepped up to welfare reform.”

    Her remarks underscore the thrust of Labor’s entire election campaign—to seek to demonstrate to the corporate and media establishment that the Labor government is a more ruthless and reliable instrument for imposing its “reform agenda” on the working class.

    Back in April, Abbott’s proposal quickly disappeared from view. It met objections from major mining companies, which indicated they wanted workers with skills, not unskilled young economic conscripts from devastated working class suburbs. Gillard’s plan is designed to overcome that flaw by providing the mining giants with greater control over the recruitment process. The response of the mining industry was immediate support, with Queensland Resources Council chief executive Michael Roche telling the Australian Financial Review that the measures were “worthwhile”.

    A Labor campaign spokesman also emphasised that the relocation plan was more coercive than an earlier trial conducted by the Howard government to move jobless workers to mining towns in Western Australia. “This initiative is backed up by stronger compliance. If a job seeker leaves a job without good cause, they will incur a harsher penalty than in the past,” the Labor spokesman boasted.

    In making the announcement, Gillard effectively accused the jobless of being lazy. She declared that the tougher measures were about driving home the message that “people who can work, should work”. “We expect compliance,” she said.

    In reality, the ongoing recession in major sectors of the economy, including manufacturing, service and retail, has left hundreds of thousands, particularly young workers, facing mass unemployment and “under-employment”. They have been forced into casual, temporary or part-time work, invariably on insecure and inferior conditions. Last week, the welfare umbrella organisation, the Australian Council of Social Service, released a report showing that teenage unemployment (15-19 year-olds) had hit 30 percent in 17 regions around Australia, peaking at 52 percent in north-western Melbourne and 49 percent in metropolitan Perth.

    The official jobless statistics, which show a national figure of just over 5 percent, mask the toll in major working class areas, where decades of factory closures and de-industrialisation has been followed by a deep slump since 2008. According to the latest available Small Area Labour Markets data from the federal employment department, during the first quarter of this year, the jobless rate was several times higher in Brisbane suburbs like Woodridge and Kingston (both 21 percent), Inala (17.6), and Acacia Ridge (17.3), Sydney suburbs such as Parramatta South (13.6), Fairfield East (12.2) and Bankstown (11.9), Melbourne suburbs such as Broadmeadows (14.9), Dandenong (13.3) and Sunshine (11.3), and Perth suburbs like Kwinana (9.7).

    On every front, Gillard Labor is striving to outdo the Liberals in rolling out right-wing policies to win the backing of the financial elite. Its “welfare reform” is intended to assist employers in mounting yet another assault on wage levels and basic workplace rights. As intended, yesterday’s announcement won a tick of approval from the Murdoch media, with today’s editorial in the Australian calling it a “Smart mix of carrot and stick”. The newspaper commented: “The subsidies were a good idea when Tony Abbott flagged them in April and Julia Gillard, shrewdly, has turned the idea into good election policy… A bipartisan consensus on welfare-to-work serves the nation’s economic and social interests.”

    At the core of Labor’s program are the reactionary doctrines of “blaming the victim”, “individual responsibility” and “user pays” that have been employed in Australia and around the world over the past four decades to systematically wind back social rights and entitlements. Labor’s “Modernising Welfare” document emphatically embraces the “mutual obligation” concept that was elevated to centre stage by the Howard government. It declares that this was first introduced by the Hawke Labor government in the 1980s “through attaching training or community work obligations to unemployment benefits”.

    In fact, Labor’s track record goes back to the global recession of 1974, when the Whitlam government’s treasurer Bill Hayden and labour minister Clyde Cameron coined the term “dole bludger” to insinuate that the jobless did not want to work. The Hawke and Keating governments went further, introducing a “Working Nation” scheme that pushed the jobless into low-paid “training” positions, funded by subsidies to employers. That, in turn, laid the basis for the Howard government’s “work for the dole” program, which the current Labor government has retained. That scheme requires young people to work without pay, in exchange for meagre unemployment benefits, which today stand far below the poverty line, at a maximum of $231 a week for single jobless people and $103 a week for under-18s.

    Like Gillard Labor, each of this government’s predecessors claimed that their plans were driven by a desire to assist the jobless in grasping the “opportunities” provided by employment. The reality has been the opposite: an increasingly punitive regime to give unemployed workers no choice but to accept cheap labour jobs.

    Against this bipartisan consensus, the Socialist Equality Party has intervened in the election campaign to advance a socialist program that defends the interests of the working class. The SEP’s election statement advocates a massive public works program to provide decent employment for all, and build urgently needed social infrastructure, including public transport, hospitals and schools. It insists that a living wage, adequate to cover all needs, must be guaranteed to everyone as a basic right, including those unable to work. This program requires nothing less than the establishment of a workers’ government to fundamentally reorganise the economy on the basis of social and human need, not private profit.

    Down Under

    August 13, 2010 at 2:00 pm

  16. ON ORDER

    BRIGHT GREEN TABBARDS
    PALE BLUE BOILER SUITS
    SAFTEY BOOTS
    RED HARD HATS
    RUBBER GLOVES
    INDUSTRIAL GLOVES

    WORK PROGRAMME PROJECT NOTICES

    DWP INSIDER NUMBER 2

    August 13, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    • Are the DWP planning to forma Devo tribute Act?…Crack That Whip.

      Lowestoft's Finest

      August 13, 2010 at 2:51 pm

  17. More like if the are from Norwich Village [idiot] People

    Zephraim Cochrane

    August 13, 2010 at 2:55 pm

  18. Village [idiot] People

    NIN people= “Normal In Norfolk” people

    Lowestoft's Finest

    August 13, 2010 at 3:05 pm

  19. “THEM SCROUNGERS……..DOING A NECESSARY JOB”

    http://ianbone.wordpress.com/2010/08/12/the-idlers/#comment-12007

    Lowestoft's Finest

    August 13, 2010 at 3:20 pm

  20. An article from today’s Daily Mail critical of the government’s new “efficiency tsar” Philip Green, his lavish lifestyle and his alleged tax avoidance.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1302971/Why-did-PM-pick-Sir-Topshop-A-5m-party-questions-tax-affairs-efficiency-tsar-Philip-Green.html

    Old Timer

    August 14, 2010 at 9:09 am


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