Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Fortnum and Mason’s

with 21 comments

My sister worked as a ‘Lift Girl’ for this charming joint.

Despite my cold I feel it’s worth posting this:


Written by Andrew Coates

March 29, 2011 at 11:46 am

21 Responses

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  1. Fortnum & Mason protesters filmed by UK Uncut – video

    Footage filmed at the anti-cuts protest was shot by Green & Black Cross legal observers and handed to UK Uncut, which passed it on to the Guardian. It shows a police chief inspector telling demonstrators inside the Fortnum & Mason store they would be allowed to leave. After being led outside, Guardian footage shows the protesters being kettled and then arrested


    The Guardian

    March 29, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    • “Turn left for the showers” 🙂

      Never Trust Da Cops

      March 29, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    • This opened a big can of worms!!!

      One of a few defence of trespass is if it was done in self-defence (“necessity”: basically if the potential harm to the person who trespass is significantly more if he didn’t trespass than to the property when he did).

      The Chief Inspector said these people were being kept there for their own safety. A police officer’s word is significant unlike a persons opinion as its heavy weighted in court due to them being sworn in under oath – she is a senior officer too.

      There is photographic video evidence of her specifying it is dangerous outside thus the charge of trespass doesn’t apply – and one could argue a case of false imprisonment (both inside the building when the police wouldn’t let them leave (yet no occupants were under arrest individually or all collectively under mass arrest) and outside when kettled)

      Work Programme

      March 29, 2011 at 12:45 pm

  2. Summary of arrests following disorder in central London

    29 March 2011

    There were 201 people arrested in connection with the disorder in central London on 26 March (including. 145 in connection with the incident at Fortnum & Mason).

    147 people have been charged:

    [1] A 17-yr-old male of Sale, Cheshire was due to appear in custody at West London Youth Court on 28 March accused of possession of an offensive weapon in a public place; and going equipped for criminal damage – in Birdcage Walk near junction with Horse Guards Parade SW1 at about 09.00hrs.

    [2] Omar Ibrahim, 31, of Glasgow Road, Baillieston, Glasgow was due to appear in custody at City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 28 March charged with violent disorder; and assault on police – outside Topshop in Oxford Street W1 at about 14.00hrs.

    [3; 4; 5; 6; 7; 8; 9] (i.e. 7 people) appear on bail at City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court on various dates (the first being 9 May) charged variously – [3] with Section 4 Public Order Act; [4] with drunk and disorderly; [5; 6] with assault on a police officer; [7; 8; 9] with criminal damage.

    [10] to [147] (i.e. 138 people) appear on bail at City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court on various dates (the first being 9 May) charged with aggravated trespass in connection with the incident at Fortnum & Mason.

    47 people are bailed to return to police stations during April pending further inquiries:

    [148; 149; 150; 151; 152; 153; 154] (i.e. 7 people) in connection with the incident at Fortnum & Mason.

    [155] to [194] (i.e. 40 people) in connection with other incidents.

    3 people were cautioned for criminal damage: [195; 196; 197]

    2 people were released with no further action: [198; 199]

    Work Programme

    March 29, 2011 at 1:24 pm

  3. Worky,

    I hate Fortnum’s.

    I have real class hatred against them.

    Enough said.

    Andrew Coates

    March 30, 2011 at 10:38 am

  4. Yeah Fortnum’s are really evil. They pay all their taxes and are owned by the Garfield Weston Foundation which made grants of over £37million to charities and good causes last year including schools, hospitals and social housing projects.
    And no, I’ve no connection to them. I just have real class hatred against blind prejudice from whatever quarter. Unlike Fortnum’s, the cops were out of order – but no more so than the occupation.

    Dave Spart

    March 30, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    • I think you will find that F&M are owned by a private limited company and that company is 80% owned by the charity (20% by others). Being a charity gives them tax breaks. ABF is owned about 55% by this company. ABF owns Primark who were exposed over sweatshops a while back, hardly a charitable aim is it?


      From £60m income last year, only £34m was spent. You keep reserves for sustainability but that is a large reserve.

      Whatever a person deems as a good cause, doesn’t make it on terms with charity in regards to saving lives etc.

      This charity gives grants to church organisations, schools (typically statutory; not charitable), housing projects and art projects to name a few. I am not saying it doesn’t make a difference to peoples lives but simply the peaceful occupation of the store isn’t going to kill anyone!!

      It was the Wittington Investments Ltd middleman (who F&M is owned by, and whom that charity owns the majority stake in) who decided spending almost £30m to refurbish it a few years ago was a good investment. Of course, Central London it wasn’t going to be cheap but I (and like others) might argue that it could have been done for £20m with the balance going to good causes. This said, they hardly spent the recent £60m income, leaving a massive £26m as a reserve for the next year.

      Work Programme

      March 30, 2011 at 2:10 pm

  5. Slipped in the budget papers was the fact that the LHA shared room rate age criteria will increase to 35 from January 2012 and not April 2012.

    Budget Box

    March 30, 2011 at 8:17 pm

  6. As worky says, F & M are scum.

    Me blister does not have a good word for them btw.

    If I had less of a bleedin’ cold I would post more.

    Andrew Coates

    March 31, 2011 at 9:21 am

  7. A welcome surprise for Jobseeker Claimants from the end of April. The Conservative Government intends to “re-index” JSA to make-up for fall in “real terms” of unemployment benefits over the years as well as to bring them into line with the top-rates of other European countries. The basic single rate of JSA will increase from the current £65.45 to £200, more than a 3-fold increase.

    Pilar Lofo News Agency

    April 1, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    • April Fools jokes must be done in the morning. You can find this out two ways:

      a) The time follows in “AM” (not PM), or
      b) The time is less than 12:00

      Hope this helps for next year 🙂

      Work Programme

      April 1, 2011 at 3:32 pm

  8. Jobcentres ‘tricking’ people out of benefits to cut costs, says whistleblower

    Rising numbers of vulnerable jobseekers are being tricked into losing benefits amid growing pressure to meet welfare targets, a Jobcentre Plus adviser has told the Guardian.

    A whistleblower said staff at his jobcentre were given targets of three people a week to refer for sanctions, where benefits are removed for up to six months. He said it was part of a “culture change” since last summer that had led to competition between advisers, teams and regional offices.

    “Suddenly you’re not helping somebody into sustainable employment, which is what you’re employed to do,” he said. “You’re looking for ways to trick your customers into ‘not looking for work’. You come up with many ways. I’ve seen dyslexic customers given written job searches, and when they don’t produce them – what a surprise – they’re sanctioned. The only target that anyone seems to care about is stopping people’s money.

    “‘Saving the public purse’ is the catchphrase that is used in our office … It is drummed home all the time – you’re saving the public purse. Feel good about stopping someone’s money, you’ve just saved your own pocket. Its a joke.”

    More here

    Crystal Balls

    April 2, 2011 at 8:57 am

  9. Privatise jobcentres, urge firms tasked with helping unemployed

    The big companies handed multibillion-pound contracts to find employment for the longer-term jobless have called on the government to take the next step and privatise the country’s jobcentres.

    The firms said they should be given the right to find work for the 1.7 million people who have been unemployed for a year or less.

    Payment-by-results contracts handed out by the Department for Work and Pensions cover the 850,000 people unemployed for more than a year.

    The employment minister, Chris Grayling, named 16 private and two voluntary-sector organisations as preferred bidders. They will have the freedom to design support in their own way.

    The contracts have been arranged geographically across 18 regions, with at least two contracts per region, and a total of 40 prime contracts being awarded.

    The Association of Learning Providers, which represents nearly three-quarters of the providers awarded contracts, called for the government to go further.

    Graham Hoyle, the chief executive, said: “The next logical step is to privatise Jobcentre Plus and to allow it to compete with other providers in assisting people who have been out of work for a short or longer period.”

    Small voluntary groups complained ministers had undermined the “big society” by handing the £5bn-plus contracts to big providers. A4e received five contracts and seven went to Ingeus, which is 50% owned by Deloitte and 50% owned by the Ingeus Group of Companies.

    The government argued that almost 300 voluntary organisations would be part of the new programme to tackle long-term benefit dependency. Nearly a quarter of the market by volume will be made up of new providers.

    The prime contractors will sub-contract to smaller firms and charities including groups such as Mencap, Citizens Advice, the Prince’s Trust and Action for Blind People.

    The scheme, known as the Work Programme, is due to start this summer and is the biggest test of the government’s plan to make public services more efficient by offering voluntary and private providers contracts based on payment by results. It also gives the providers unprecedented flexibility to decide what methods will best help the unemployed find work, including help with drug or drink addiction.

    Such schemes are due to form the model for David Cameron’s reforms to public services, and will spread through health and prisoners’ rehabilitation.

    Critics fear the contracts will either prove too complex or badly drawn, or lead to profiteering by a relatively small number of private-sector firms specialising in public-sector contracts.

    The model is largely untested internationally, and faces the risk of contracts being overtaken by sharp changes in the labour market.


    Crystal Balls

    April 2, 2011 at 9:01 am

  10. I’ve received a comment from a former employee of A4e. If s/he would post again with an email address (I won’t publish this, obviously) I will get in touch.

    Andrew Coates

    April 2, 2011 at 3:43 pm

  11. You who live safe
    In your warm houses
    You who find, returning in the evening,
    Hot food and friendly faces
    Consider if this is a man
    Who works in mud
    Who does not know peace
    Who fights for a scrap of bread
    Who dies because of a yes or a no

    Meditate that this came about
    I commend these words to you
    Carve them in your hearts
    At home, in the street
    Going to bed, rising.
    Repeat them to your children

    Primo Levi

    April 2, 2011 at 7:22 pm

  12. Vulnerable people are targeted with the rise and rise of benefit sanctions

    The statistics behind how jobseekers are being ‘tricked’ out of benefits to meet staff targets

    Today the Guardian has reported the numbers of jobseeks being ‘tricked’ out of benefits to meet staff targets.

    You might expect that the number of disputes the Jobcentre raises would be proportional to the number of jobseekers in the country. But our analysis shows that Jobcentres are stopping jobseekers allowance (JSA) at a far greater rate than the number of jobseekers increases.

    To come to this conclusion we have taken into consideration the administration changes that came into action in April last year.

    Before April if someone did not attend the Jobcentre for a booked interview, then they ceased to be entitled to JSA, and their claim was closed until they reapplied for a new claim. From April 2010, failure to attend now attracts a fixed sanction (of 2 weeks benefit initially) rather than a disallowance.

    What it means to be sanctioned is laid out in the Department of Work and Pensions policy document. The outcome of a sanction can range from the jobseeker being fined to more serious prosecutions for fraud.

    To measure the number of people whose JSA has been stopped we summed the total sanctions (varied and fixed length) and the total disallowances for 2010. You can see our working and references in our spreadsheet. The results show that the number of people who have lost their JSA has increased by 40% between April to October last year.

    We have also examined the number of people being referred for sanctioning as the Guardian piece today revealed that Jobcentre staff are given performance targets on the number of referrals to sanctions they make. The data is from the Department of Work and Pensions statistics centre.

    The map and the data shows the regional variations in the number of people referred. You can see where communities have a very high rate of referrals in Darlington, Bassetlaw South Ayrshire and North-east Lincolnshire. When we look at these places on the most recent figures for deprivation we see a pattern emerging – the regions with high sanction referral rates tend to be more deprived areas.

    What can we expect for the future for jobseekers? This statement from Lord Freud, Minister for Welfare Reform, reveals some of the additions to the sanctions policy that will be coming into play:

    Although today’s figures show that fraud and error remains flat, it is worrying to see that for Jobseeker’s Allowance fraud has increased from an estimated 2.8% to 3.6%. This is mainly because people are not accurately informing us of the income they earn, the amount of capital savings they have or any change in their circumstances. This is absolutely unacceptable and must be stopped.

    That’s why we are introducing Universal Credit which will make the benefit system simpler to administer and less open to abuse and why we are investing £425m over the next four years to radically reduce fraud and error in our system through our new Fraud and Error Strategy. In future we will fine those people who are negligent in their benefit claim or fail to tell us of a change in circumstances and introduce tougher financial penalties, with a sanction of benefits for up to three years for frequent offenders.”

    Here’s the data and our analysis to show the current situation for jobseekers. What else can we do with this data? Let us know below.


    The Guardian

    April 3, 2011 at 2:04 pm

  13. Any of the “experts” lol 🙂 on here know if it is OK for a “provider” to take your photo supposedly for “health and safety” and do I have to tell them who my next of kin is, and lots of other questions that I don’t want to bother you all with.


    April 5, 2011 at 7:36 pm

  14. lol next of kin for “health and safety”, photo for “security”, still I don’t think anyone should be allowed to do that, I could tell that that wasn’t the real reason though. What next will we have to strip to our underwear, attend premises in the nude for “security”. Being in a provider office feels like being in a prison, I am sure we are going to be fingerprinted soon… for “security” lol


    April 5, 2011 at 7:41 pm

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