Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Archive for the ‘Government’ Category

Calls for new Beveridge Report: building a decent welfare system

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This was on Channel Four last night:

These serious calls have been made in the last few days.

What British politicians won’t admit – we need to transform the welfare state

A conversation about a fundamentally different welfare state ought to fall two ways: between immediate answers to the cruelties of our current systems, and longer-term ideas about how to completely reinvent it. The former might include an end to universal credit’s built-in five-week wait, the abolition of the cruel and arbitrary benefit cap, and no more sanctioning. It should extend to a recalibration of housing benefit so that people – including key workers – can afford to live in even high-cost areas, a watershed rise in our miserable rates of statutory sick pay, and the upgrading of the minimum wage and national living wage to the so-called real living wage (£9.50 across the UK and £10.85 in London), with an ongoing link to inflation.

 

Louise Casey: ‘Are we ever going to create a Britain for everyone?’

 

The former homelessness tsar thinks we need big, radical reform to tackle hunger, rough sleeping and poverty. And she has a plan

“We need to move into Royal Commission territory,” she says. “A new Beveridge Report [drafted by the economist William Beveridge in 1942, this was the document that led to the founding of the welfare state]. That’s the kind of thing I’m talking about.” Crikey. Is this a job she would like to take on herself? I look at her steadily, wondering if she’s going to indulge in a bout of it’s-not-for-me-to-say. But, no. She doesn’t much go in for let’s pretend. “Yes, I’d love to be part of that,” she says. “Government can, if it wants to, do something on a different scale now. The nation has been torn apart, and there’s no point being defensive about that. We’ve got to gift each other some proper space to think. We’ve got to work out how not to leave the badly wounded behind.”

….

We can get there quite quickly,” she says. “By March, there will be 6 million people on universal credit [in October, there were 5.7m]. Almost 4 million people are furloughed, and those still working are on less income [in a survey by the Resolution Foundation, 26% of adults reported suppressed wages during the first lockdown]. Unemployment has doubled [it stood at 1.72 million in November 2020], and will keep rising. Two million people are still on legacy benefits – which means they didn’t get the £20 uplift that came with universal credit. Then you add in the 5 million people who are in debt [42% of adults report using at least one form of borrowing to cover everyday living costs].

….

Pre-pandemic, there were 280,000 homeless in England and Wales. Earlier this month, the government announced that the ban on bailiff-enforced evictions, which protects private renters, would be extended to the end of March. But it will end eventually. “At which point, family homelessness will rise,” says Casey. “If 25% of your population is affected, then you can’t just tweak old policies, working out the least expensive, least challenging thing that can be done. You need big new policies.”

Most of us will have views on this!

Written by Andrew Coates

February 23, 2021 at 10:03 am

A Million Covid-19 Universal Credit Claimants Have Deductions From Benefits.

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Child Poverty Action Group. 7th of January Press Release.

New Year call for an end to clawback of UC advances

More than one million households forced to claim universal credit (UC) when coronavirus struck are entering the New Year having debt deductions taken from their UC, and almost all include repayments of an advance taken out to get them through the five-week wait for a first UC payment, new analysis for the Covid Realities research project shows.

Nearly two thirds (63%) of those who claimed UC between March and June (‘Covid-claimants’) are having deductions taken from their monthly UC payments, compared with 41% of all UC claimants, the analysis by Child Poverty Action Group for the Covid Realities research project shows. That means a million new UC claimants living on less than their assessed need.

The Government suspended some deductions for three months from April 2020 as part of its emergency response to the pandemic. However, deductions for the repayment of UC advances were not part of the suspension and continue to be made as another lockdown begins in England and Scotland and more job losses and UC claims look likely.

Deductions can be taken from benefits for a range of reasons including repayment of a UC advance, legacy benefit overpayments, budgeting loans, rent arrears, utilities bills and mortgage interest. For UC claimants, deductions are limited to 30% of the UC monthly standard allowance but this still means that £179 (for couples) can be deducted each month.

For claimants already living below the poverty line, deductions can deepen their poverty significantly. Ignoring deductions, CPAG analysis shows that, the average household in poverty is 23% below the poverty line; in pounds and pence, for a couple with two children, that means they are £400 per month below the after housing costs poverty line.* However, if this family has to repay an advance, this will push them to £500 per month below the poverty line.** And if they have additional deductions on top of repayments of a UC advance, they could drop to £579 per month under the poverty line.***

1,060,000 ‘Covid claimants’ have a deduction of some kind from their UC. Of those, 810,000 are repaying an advance only, 50,000 have a deduction for another reason and 200,000 have deductions to repay a UC advance and another debt.

More news:

More news:

Regulator investigates DWP over universal credit ‘cover-up’

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is claiming not to possess documents that show estimates for the eventual impact of universal credit on disabled people, despite telling both the statistics regulator and MPs that they exist.

In the latest stage of an apparent attempt to hide estimates of how many disabled people will lose out financially through the introduction of universal credit, DWP has told Disability News Service (DNS) that no such written equality impact assessments (EIAs) exist from 2012 onwards.

The freedom of information response contradicts a statement made to MPs by the minister for disabled people, Justin Tomlinson.

It also contradicts information passed by DWP to the Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR).

This week, OSR promised DNS that it would investigate the apparent discrepancy.

The existence of any fresh EIAs is important because ministers, including work and pensions secretary Therese Coffey and Tomlinson, have stated on several occasions that around one million disabled households will receive a higher entitlement under UC than they would have received under the previous “legacy” benefits system.

Written by Andrew Coates

January 8, 2021 at 3:42 pm

Thousands of new Work Coach vacancies open across the UK…

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Your local jobcentre is hiring! Make a difference and apply to be a Work Coach today.

Are you “so

People may have missed this announcement. (though Trev  has not……).

  

 

 

Here it is again!

The number of Work Coaches is to be doubled to 27,000 nationally.

  • Employment Minister calls for those who want to make a difference in their communities to apply now.
  • Thousands of new expert Work Coaches to boost support for jobseekers and build back an even stronger economy.

From today (Thursday 10 September 2020), jobseekers across the country will be able to apply for one of thousands of new jobcentre Work Coach vacancies being offered by the Department for Work and Pensions, as part of its pledge to double the number of Work Coaches to 27,000 by March 2021.

Getting Britain back to work as quickly as possible is vital, as the UK strives to build back an even stronger and more resilient economy. Thousands of new Work Coaches will be at the forefront of this recovery, and will be deployed in communities across the country.

These expert Work Coaches will be trained in how to get the best out of people and make sure they have the support they need to get back into work.

Through a rapid recruitment plan, the department will have 4,500 Work Coaches in place by October 2020, with a further 9,000 by March next year.

Minister for Employment, Mims Davies said:

Getting Britain back into work is key to our national recovery and our DWP Work Coaches are on the frontline of this effort – boosting their numbers means we can build back stronger.

Our Work Coaches not only deliver financial support to millions of claimants across the country, but take time to listen, encourage, advise, and ensure everyone has access to the best support available – helping those facing a tough time get back on their feet sooner.

If you are someone who cares about your community and are keen to take on a fresh role helping others, then you can make a real difference by becoming a Work Coach and I want you to join our team today.

Work Coaches will deliver:

  • New flagship programmes, such as the £2 billion Kickstart scheme, a key part of the Government’s Plan for Jobs, which puts young people receiving benefits first in line for new, high quality, six-month roles provided by employers from all sectors. The placements give them a wage for the duration and the chance to build their experience and professional networks.
  • Increased support for 40,000 jobseekers of all ages will also be available through DWP’s Sector-based Work Academy Placements, which received a £17 million funding boost this summer and will help people learn new skills through a mixture of work experience and training.
  • Work Coaches will also offer vital retraining opportunities to people looking to start a new career, as well as support for those who need to update their skills and CV, or simply prepare for an interview.

For more information on applications and deadlines in your region, please visit the Work Coach recruitment site.

Today’s announcement to boost the frontline comes as jobcentres across the country continue to offer more support for jobseekers in Coronavirus-secure offices, as part of the Government’s Plan for Jobs. While many appointments will still be conducted virtually, jobcentres are now open for customers to meet safely with their Work Coaches face-to-face when necessary.

AFfer this good news Thérèse Coffey is on yet another roll!

 

Written by Andrew Coates

September 12, 2020 at 8:14 am

Work and Health Programme’s Dire Results and Latest on Universal Credit.

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Pluss launches Work and Health Programme | Pluss

Programme that’s Not Working.

The Work and Health Programme (WHP) aims to provide support to help people find and keep a job. It is
available to the following groups:

  • The Disability group is voluntary for disabled people as defined in the Equality Act 2010. This is the
    main group that the WHP is aimed at.
  • The Early Access group is voluntary and aimed at people who may need additional support to move
    into employment and are in one of a number of priority groups (e.g. homeless, ex-armed forces, care, leavers, refugees).
  • The Long-term unemployed group is mandatory and is for Jobseeker’s Allowance or Universal Credit claimants who have reached 24 months of unemployment

Disability Rights  noted in 2019,

9 out of 10 of Work and Health Programme participants do not have a job outcome

31 May 2019

9 out of 10 of Work and Health Programme (WHP) participants (88%) have not obtained a ‘job outcome’.

A ‘job outcome’ is work with earning above a threshold of 16 hours per week for 26 weeks at the National Living Wage, London Living Wage or Real Living Wage) or having completed six months in self-employment.

This week’s Private Eye, under the title, “Doleful Result”  carries the story’s latest turns.

They state that 15% of the people who began the welfare to work scheme, the Work and Health Programme from its  start in late 2017 till February 2019 (the latest available figures)  found a job.  That is “at least six months of self-employment of employment of 16 hours a week at, at least, the minimum wage.

They conclude, “Around two-thirds of participants haven’t earned a penny within a  year of joining the scheme, and half never do.”

This is from the latest DWP statement and  figures (next release of statistics in August 2020).

Work and Health Programme statistics to February 2020

The WHP predominantly helps disabled people, as well as the Long-Term Unemployed and the Early Access group (which is made up of certain priority groups) to enter into and stay in work.

People are referred by jobcentres to work with organisations known as providers, from the public, private and voluntary sectors. The providers are paid a service delivery fee as well as outcome-related payments when a person reaches either:

Here are the outcomes:

Since the WHP began there have been:

  • 166,160 referrals for 138,330 individuals
  • 103,300 starts
  • 13,710 job outcomes

Note: those starting more recently have had shorter time to achieve a job outcome, therefore it is not meaningful to divide the number of job outcomes by the number of starts or referrals.

Note how low the job outcomes look in this table:

Another statistic:

69% of all individuals referred by August 2019 have started the programme, and of these, so far 15% have reached the job outcomes earnings threshold or 6 months of being in self-employment by February 2020.

If you wish to, you can read the list of failure in the rest of the document.

Meanwhile the Civil Service News reports,

The Department for Work and Pensions is facing calls to give an “urgent lifeline” to recipients of Universal Credit, after a study found six in ten families claiming the benefir have been forced to borrow money since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis.

The latest study from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Save The Children found families have been increasingly forced to rely on payday loans or credit cards to ensure they can afford food and pay bills during the pandemic.

It came as the latest official figures released on Monday showed the UK’s “claimant count” – including both those on Jobseeker’s Allowance and Universal Credit – had soared to 2.8 million in May.

Don’t forget!

More on the reports:

Written by Andrew Coates

June 18, 2020 at 3:45 pm

The New Universal Credit Claimants.

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Coronavirus (COVID-19) & Universal Credit Important Announcement ...

DWP Picture with Tasteless Cartoon Images of the Virus.

Our contributors, campaigners, including this Blog, have been critical of Universal Credit from its creation.

However careful and sensitive we wish to be it’s impossible not to see ways in which UC has created difficulties for the enormous numbers of people now having to claim the benefit.

It’s no good trying to cover this up.

The BBC reports,

 

 

Some people applying for universal credit for the first time have found themselves worse off after losing their existing benefit payments.

The system means legacy benefits such as tax credits are stopped at the point of application, even if the claim proves to be unsuccessful.
One applicant said his family was worse off “at the click of a button”.

Universal credit claims have soared amid the coronavirus outbreak, with the next figures published on Tuesday.

 

It is obvious that these kind of difficulties are the tip of a giant iceberg of problems facing the new Universal Credit claimants.

The numbers claiming are set to rise and rise.

 

 

Faced with the crisis the DWP Minister, Therese Coffey, seems, on her twitter feed, to be more concerned with scoring political points against Keir Starmer and Sadiq Khan, and a “nice weekend on Suffolk Coast” than doing her job sorting out these kind of problems.

This, suitably grim Opera, based on an even grimmer poem about a cruel fisherman, a miserable tale located in a hamlet just next to Suffolk seaside town, Aldburgh, is our Minister’s night-time entertainment.

She re-tweeted this…

 

Peter Grimes.    George Crabbe.

“Peter Grimes is part of a collection of rural poems published by George Crabbe in 1810 called ‘The Borough’. This poem explores the criminal psyche.”

Old Peter Grimes made fishing his employ,
His wife he cabin’d with him and his boy,
And seem’d that life laborious to enjoy:
To town came quiet Peter with his fish,
And had of all a civil word and wish.
He left his trade upon the sabbath-day,
And took young Peter in his hand to pray:
But soon the stubborn boy from care broke loose,
At first refused, then added his abuse:
His father’s love he scorn’d, his power defied,
But being drunk, wept sorely when he died.

I did this poem for ‘O’ level English literature…..

Written by Andrew Coates

May 18, 2020 at 6:37 am