Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Miliband Attacks Welfare Cuts: Will he Oppose the Unemployment Business and Workfare?

with 10 comments

In the Sunday Mirror  Ed Miliband has attacked the Liberal-Conservative Coalition’s welfare cuts.

After some well-worth not saying stuff about the usual suspects, “We should be tough on the minority who can work and try to avoid ­responsibility. he says,

They showed they are not fit to govern because they played political games with people’s livelihoods.

They said they were cutting benefits for the next three years and the mood music was that it was a way to punish the “shirkers and scroungers”. But the truth turned out to be so different.

Six out of 10 people hit by these cuts are people who get up every morning and go to work. The lowest paid ­families ­getting tax credits. The new mum who will lose £180 in maternity pay.

And it will also hit the people doing the right thing, trying to find work, like the trained professional I met in my constituency, unemployed for about a year, desperate to find it.

This important letter (signed by a variety of Campaigning groups, trade union leaders – such as Len McCluskey, and…Bob Crow! – Charities and Churches) appears in the Observer today.

Last week’s autumn statement marks a watershed in our welfare system, breaking the long-standing link between benefits and either earnings or prices. The policies announced are a bitter blow for hundreds of thousands of low-income families struggling to make ends meet in the face of overwhelming austerity.

Economic analysis of the government’s announcements shows clearly that the poorest have been hit hardest. Plans to cap increases in benefits and tax credits at a meagre 1% for the next three years will far outweigh any gains from increasing the personal tax allowance. This will hurt children, leaving a damaging legacy.

While the chancellor paints a picture of so-called “strivers” and “skivers”, our organisations see the reality: families scraping by in low-paid work, or being bounced from insecure jobs to benefits and back again.

The truth is that the vast majority of those who rely on benefits and tax credits are either in work, have worked, or will be in work in the near future. They and their families are making their contribution to society and are entitled to genuine security, as Beveridge intended.

As we mark the 70th anniversary of the Beveridge report, which laid the foundations of the welfare state, we risk losing the very safety net that he intended. It is a punitive, unfair policy and must not happen.

I don’t know whether our Chancellor and Prime Minister ever meet people like this. If they do, they show no sign of it in the way they divide Britain.Next April, each person earning over £1million a year will be getting on­ ­average a tax cut of £107,000 each, not just for one year, but every year

But they show all the signs of ­understanding the needs of a different group: the richest in society.

To ram the point home the Mirror has this story,

Sunday Mirror

A QUARTER of a million ­hungry Britons will have used emergency food banks by the end of the year.

The latest figures, FOUR TIMES higher than two years ago, include parents too poor to feed children and desperate householders forced to choose between eating and heating.

Government austerity cuts and squeezed incomes are even forcing people with jobs to regularly queue up for free food parcels as well as ­benefit claimants.

Britain’s biggest food bank operator, the Trussell Trust, fed 110,000 people in the first half of this year… just 18,000 fewer than the whole of 2011. And its bosses expect the final 2012 figure to top 250,000 for the first time.

A Sunday Mirror investigation reveals delays in the processing of benefit claims top the list of reasons why people have to resort to free food. Next is low pay ­followed by debt.

In one case we found that a desperate woman who hadn’t eaten for two days was referred to a food bank after walking 16 miles to a Jobcentre. She hadn’t enough money to catch a bus because her benefit payments had not come through. In another case, a man living in a tunnel told us how a food bank saved his life.

We add some further points from the unemployed.

  • The Work Programme has been shown to be a failure. But millions are wasted on shoring up welfare-to-work companies and their overpaid bosses. With its use of suspensions from the dole and diversion of pulic money into its own pockets the ‘unemployment business’ is as much a cause of poverty as low benefits.
  • Workfare, in the shape of Mandatory Work Activity (MWA) has been put into practcie. People are working for at least 5 weeks for nothing, often for Charities.
  • The Government intends to make all long-term unemployed work for nothing on the Community Action programme. That is, for 26 weeks. The individual would work for 30 hours and carry out up to 10 additional hours of ‘supported job search’.
  • A Pilot Scheme for this workfare, by Enable, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Voluntary and Community Sector Learning and Skills Consortium, which “promotes equality and diversity”  ended on 31st August 2012. It had this result: Referrals 115
    Entered employment 28
    Sustained employment (i.e. In employment for 26 weeks) 5.

The Work Programme should be abolished.

Given the above results the same failures will happen with the ‘work for nothing’ Community Action Programme.

Ed Miliband should start speaking out now against both.

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Written by Andrew Coates

December 9, 2012 at 11:19 am

10 Responses

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  1. “Will he Oppose the Unemployment Business and Workfare?”

    In a word…. “No”

    Universal Jobmatch

    December 9, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    • More chance of me being crowned the next Miss World.

      R33

      December 9, 2012 at 6:45 pm

  2. The work programme is a carbon copy of the FND programme under labour bar the payments companies now receive so why on earth would they argue against something they originally put in place?

    gaia

    December 10, 2012 at 9:40 am

    • Not to mention that Lord Freud was there under New Labour busy beavering away building a dam for himself out of all this mess.

      Andrew Coates

      December 10, 2012 at 12:26 pm

    • It is all a load of shite, reminds me of Yvette Cooper (Ed Balls missus) telling Steve Nolan on 5 Live that (New) Labour would be “fighting tooth and nail the abomination that is the Work Programme and that they would have no truck with workfare”, conveniently forgetting to mention New Labour intended to introduce Work for Your Benefits”. It is two heads of the same monster…. same old same old…

      Dagger

      December 10, 2012 at 12:30 pm

  3. Dear Andrew Coates, thank you for the emails, i would like to bring something to your attention regarding fraud within one of the Work programme providers if you would be good enough to ring me on 07949 353631 i will explain. Yours Faithfully David Anthony Penson Date: Sun, 9 Dec 2012 11:19:31 +0000 To: davidpenson2@hotmail.com

    David Penson

    December 10, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    • What E-Mails?

      Andrew Coates

      December 12, 2012 at 11:35 am

      • I assume he is referring to the automated emails as he has subscribed to various threads by ticking the “Notify me of follow-up comments via email.” box next to the Post Comment button,

        Universal Jobmatch

        December 12, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    • The latest polling from Ipsos-Mori will raise a few eyebrows in Westminster – especially in the Treasury – after it reveals that the vast majority of the population (59%) back benefits rising with inflation – with 10% even backing benefits rising beyond inflation.

      By contrast, only 11% think that benefits should not rise at all and just 16% agree with the Chancellor that they should rise by less than inflation. Let’s see that as a chart: See here: http://labourlist.org/2012/12/new-polling-shows-majority-of-people-think-that-benefits-should-rise-with-inflation/

      This may leave Osborne in a more difficult position than he imagined if he wants to paint Labour as being in the minority on benefits…

      Andrew Coates

      December 15, 2012 at 12:10 pm

  4. It is total wank.
    Imagine you get or already have, a job, with a community based organisation or small independent charity. Then because of the cuts, commercial rents and taxes, and people being too broke to buy your stuff (like small shops for instance), the employer downsizes by sacking you, or is forced to close and you are redundant. The same for other shops.
    Call centres and other service sector places seem to hire and fire at will. Some deliberately sack en bloc so they can rehire the same people immediately (The Book People does this), in order not to have to pay employee benefits/give rights of fulltime staff there long enough. because of the ‘break in employment’ you are ‘not continuously employed’ for long enough to count, eg benefits, pensions, holiday, leave, notice, childcare… including healthcare and travel rights as well!The same for rights of appeal against them, union rights etc.

    The other day people on a debate (question Time? Radio 4?) said you should not give money or food to the homeless! They said stupid ignorant things like ‘use food banks’.
    Well food banks are a postcode lottery, do not exist at all in some places, and depend on ‘who you are’ as to whether you qualify. Most I’ve seen don’t accommodate any special diets etc. And many are ‘only given to families’ (people with no kids are not really people???).
    A lot come with conditions attached (eg Christianity), there are people out there refusing to supply food to gay/lesbian people. Some people might be able to walk to a food bank but most disabled people can’t.

    Then are people supposed to eat out of bins? Even if you could, it is unsafe and a health risk, you can be arrested for going round searching bins. Are people meant to eat rotten food covered in dirt, then get food poisoning? Get cut on broken glass/scratched by drug needles that might be in the bin? The government have criminalised begging so are trying to stop people being ‘tramps’ as well. In fact a lot of these people will have jobs, from the middle class mum with no food bank, to the person trying to hold down a job while homeless, to the homeless person having to sign on while also on forced workfare. You are meant to look presentable and try to stay healthy (or they could call you ‘making yourself unemployable’?) in all of these. And having diarrhoea and vomiting while being forced to turn up to your (probably deadly shite) job, in filthy clothes, stinking of the garbage you had to search through while looking in bins and skips for food — that will only get you sacked.

    Sorry but I’d love it if David Cameron had to spend just ONE MONTH eating out of bins! Then that lot might realise what it is like to be hungry and filthy and poor (instead of just filthy rich with our blood on their hands).

    If your workfare placement is for example working at WRVS at a hospital, if you are sick with an infection you are a risk to patients anyway. But if you are homeless with no washing facilities, are eating out of bins, and as a result get every disease you can catch, that makes the risk to patients greater. WRVS would have to keep you there because you are on workfare.

    Oh, take it from one who knows, quite often there is nothing edible in a bin, unless you count posibly the bin and are a metal-eating robotic car called ‘Sir killalot’. These days there can be bags of dog mess left in bins, so you can’t eat any food that was in that bin.

    This ‘pay benefits monthly’ sucks, in between payments you are broke most of the time. So they now want people broke for 1 to 2 months at a time, 2 because if it all goes straight out on rent/bills you could be broke till a further month away, at which point all of THAT has to go out on your next rent/bills and your current/due payments (and late rent!) and towards the rent after that. That’s without considering little luxuries we poor people like to have, such as… FOOD?!

    That ‘King Cnut’, David Cameron, seems to think it is normal for him to spend on lunch what we get in a whole year on benefits. The crappy attitude shown on the debate, was that poor people should help themselves (I ASSUME you don’t mean we can help ourselves to YOUR stuff, rich guys?). Housing and help to get off addictions etc is important, but if the person you are trying to help has been starved or frozen to death first because you refused to feed them or shelter them, there is NO PERSON – so the question of permanent housing, addiction treatments, healthcare, employment, education etc becomes irrelevant. (all such people got the black triangle in nazi Germany, some of the fitter ones got conscripted into the army or labour forces, some of the sickest got murdered.) [by addictions I include gambling and other compulsions not just substance abuse]

    It is assumed everyone poor is a drug addict! That’s not true, and it leaves out the antisocial damaging behaviour of-
    The middle and upper class alcoholics, drinkdrivers, cocaine and heroin addicts…
    Some have a peerage. If an aristocrat or famous person has a drink problem it is called ‘amusing’ or ‘eccentric’. If it is a lower class person it is called a badge/sign of their social class! it is called degenerate, antisocial, selfish, evil. Yes you can drink all day and night, climb into a car while pissed and off your face on drugs, crash and kill someone. But you could be a 15-year-old chav boy, an unemployed ‘lager lout’ in his 20’s or 30’s, a middle class woman dashing to work, a single dad on the school run, an older lady who thinks a bottle of wine is breakfast, – or you could be a white male lord or even a high court judge…

    The rich don’t know what it’s like having no money all the time. No money because as soon as it comes in it has to pay rent owed, bills, debts, and any left over has to pay the next month’s costs. Somebody even said ‘get more credit’. Banks won’t touch us. If all your cards are maxed out, if you only have a Basic account, if your credit rating is bad. The shitty high street loans companies will not even deal with a lot of the above anyway, and in some ways they are ‘lucky ones’ for being refused loans. Those accepted for loans are not aware they’ll be paying them back forever. I read the other day about somebody, she was a client of one of these pirates. Her loan was £7500. The interest comes to £7800. She will owe so far £15,300 but has no way to pay it back in her lifetime.
    If these places all burned down one night….

    They have (IDS) said a lot about people whose curtains are drawn. They know fuck all. Even if you aren’t sick, night shift, shy, light-sensitive, disabled, harassed. You could be just unable to afford insurance so trying to stop someone seeing a computer/TV and nicking it or trashing your house. If you are in a gay couple you might well draw curtains particularly in a violent bigoted neighbourhood. Or anyone, where the local kids etc come looking in through strangers’ windows. Some estates here have people repeatedly targeted for having their windows smashed, more likely if the tenant is black. I’ve lived with couples (straight) who hardly saw eachother because one was on nights and the other on days. If you live on benefits then probably you have to live in a bad area where, even if you could afford it, you cannot get insurance. If not, they say ‘your house is too good so we want you to leave it and the area’. if you already get targeted then you can’t get insurance.

    My curtains are shut because: it’s dark when I leave and dark when I return. I’m disabled, small, have CFS/ME; too much hassle to open and shut daily, physically actually difficult as I can’t reach even when I use my reachers or sticks (have a range of these and none are great) Space is 9ft in places to 12ft in others. If Ian Duncan Smith wants to come round personally every day and night to do them! Also I have hostile neighbours and live in my room only, so need privacy! in fact if I forced out the energy to do it there’d be less, and less time, to do Job Seeking Activities we are told to do. More on that later…

    The government are thicker than a hovis loaf that’s fallen in a puddle.

    something survived...

    December 17, 2012 at 4:29 pm


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