Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Archive for the ‘Unemployment’ Category

The Budget and Claimants.

Unite Community campaign for a fairer social security system for all

The Budget was yesterday.

How does it affect claimants?

Here is the Official View:

Here is the Resolution Foundation’s view.

“The reduction in the taper rate in Universal Credit will bring an additional 400,000 families into the benefits system next year. Around 75 per cent of the 4.4 million households on Universal Credit will be worse off as a result of decisions to take away the £20 per week uplift despite the Chancellor’s new Universal Credit measures in the Budget.”

The Boris Budget (from the Summary)

Resolution Foundation analysis of Autumn Budget and Spending Review 2021

From the full report: The Boris Budget

For some, this change will be significant: a family with two adults in work (one working full-time with earnings at the 25th wage percentile and one working part-time on the National Living Wage for 20 hours a week), who have two children, will gain £42 a week from these Budget day changes, more than offsetting the £20 per week reduction made to the benefit earlier this month. But, overall, these changes will be overshadowed by last month’s £6 billion cut to entitlement: three-quarters of families on UC will lose more from he £20 cut than they gain from the Budget changes. Even if we also take into account the impact of the faster-than-average-earnings increase to the National Living Wage, the fifth of households will still be an average of £280 a year worse off overall.

Here is the real Tory view of claimants:

Then there is this:

It seems equally obvious to mention that if gas and other prices are going up what about increasing benefit levels from their present misery rates?

Next year we will begin paying Council Tax, which even at the reduced rate of Council Tax Relief can be an extra burden, and far from minimal in many areas.

Our contributors remain concerned about the way ‘schemes’ for the unemployed, outlined in ‘Plan for Jobs’ operate. Here is one Restart. Plan for Jobs: skills, employment and support programmes for jobseekers

At the 2020 Spending Review, the chancellor allocated £2.9 billion for the new Restart Scheme, which will give Universal Credit claimants who have been out of work for between 12 to 18 months enhanced support to find jobs. The Restart Scheme will break down employment barriers that could be holding them back from finding work. Providers will work with employers, local government and other partners to deliver tailored support for individuals.

Referrals will be made over a 3-year period and the Restart Scheme will benefit more than 1 million Universal Credit claimants who are expected to look for and be available for work but have no sustained earnings. The scheme will provide up to 12 months of tailored support for each participant. Early access can be considered on a case by case basis where conversations with a work coach suggest this is the most appropriate route for the individual.

It has been quite some time since the media was interested in what is happening on these ‘schemes’ but our contributors are already reporting serious difficulties with them.

Written by Andrew Coates

October 28, 2021 at 8:46 am

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries,”Nobody” to be Pushed into Poverty by Slashing Universal Credit.

Universal Credit cut will not drag a single person into poverty.”

With the rise in the cost of gas and the expected increase in food prices most people on low incomes and benefits are worried. Slashing Universal Credit will not help, to say the least.

Hearing about this from people I wondered if this will help everybody, “Support with essential costs. You can contact your local council to see if they can give you any extra help from a hardship fund, including food or essential things like clothes. Check your local council on GOV.UK.”

Just guessing, but apart from those in dire straits and, above all, families, it is hard to see that applying to our contributors.

I imagine this may well offer something, judging from the queue of homeless people outside the nearby 7th Day Adventist Church on a Sunday waiting for food distribution:

Food bank vouchers. If you can’t afford the food you can ask for a referral from Citizens Advice or an organisation that’s already supporting you – for example, a charity, school or children’s centre – for a food bank voucher.

The Government itself says that everybody will be helped by getting work, with some push up from various schemes, like the “life-time skills guarantee.”

One Minister who could do with skills training in how to communicate with ordinary people has had her say on the Universal Credit cut.

Tory Nadine Dorries claims Universal Credit cut won’t push ANYONE into poverty.

Mirror.

 Tory minister has been accused of not living in the real world after she claimed the Universal Credit cut will not drag a single person into poverty.

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries boasted “nobody” will be driven below the poverty line when a £20-a-week Covid uplift in place since March 2020 is withdrawn from this week.

That is despite think tanks putting the worst-case estimate at around 500,000 to 800,000 people.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) has said the cut risks moving 500,000 people including 200,000 children below the poverty line.

While the Legatum Institute think tank, led by Tory UC architect Baroness Stroud, says the change will hit 840,000 Brits who are currently just above the poverty line – including 290,000 children.

But ministers have no official figure for how many people will be thrown into poverty because they’ve refused to do a formal impact assessment.

And questioned by left-wing journalist Owen Jones at the Tory conference, Ms Dorries said: “Nobody. Nobody is.

Because what we’re doing, what we’re doing is giving people a step out.

“By lifetime skills guarantee, by all the money being invested in the…” – she then walked away with an aide.

****

Some people think that Nadine Dorries is one of Boris Johnson’s famously unfunny jokes and probably only exists as a hologram borrowed from GB News…

But the scheme is a very real.

Bootcamps for Skills:

“An estimated 11 million adults now have the opportunity to gain a new qualification for free, designed to help them to gain in-demand skills and secure great jobs.

Almost 400 qualifications are available to take from today (1 April) – backed by £95 million in government funding in 2021/22 – as part of the government’s Lifetime Skills Guarantee.

The qualifications on offer range from engineering to social care to conservation and are available to any adult who has not already achieved a qualification at Level 3 (equivalent to A-levels).

The roll out marks a major milestone in the delivery of the landmark Lifetime Skills Guarantee – announced by the Prime Minister in September 2020. The Guarantee aims to transform the skills system so everyone, no matter where they live or their background, can gain the skills they need to progress in work at any stage of their lives. It will also ensure employers have access to the skilled workforce they need, and more people are trained for the skills gaps that exist now, and in the future.

Adults who take up the free courses have the potential to boost career prospects, wages and help fill skills gaps, while supporting the economy and building back better.

For example, with a Diploma in Engineering Technology adults can progress to roles in Maintenance or Manufacturing Engineering. A Level 3 Diploma in Electrical Installation or a qualification in Adult Care can also provide a gateway to sectors offering rewarding careers and where there are multiple job opportunities.

So more unemployed people can take full advantage of these courses, the government will pilot an extension to the length of time they can receive Universal Credit while undertaking work-focused study.

They will now be able to train full time for up to 12 weeks, or up to 16 weeks on a full time skills bootcamp in England, while receiving Universal Credit to support their living costs This will allow access to more training options and provide a better chance of finding work, while continuing to receive the support they need.”

Let us know if you have experience of this “bootcamp”.

Written by Andrew Coates

October 9, 2021 at 9:35 am

Rishi Sunak: New (and Old) Schemes and Measures for the Unemployed.

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Agenda for the Out-of-Work.

The news this Morning.

“In a speech at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester on Monday, Mr Sunak will promise new funding to help people leaving the scheme and support for over-50s looking for work, while his ‘kickstart’ scheme will also be extended.”

Metro: Rishi Sunak to announce £500,000,000 extension to ‘plan for jobs’

“Chancellor Rishi Sunak has not ruled out unemployment rising now the furlough scheme has ended, but told Sky News the government is “throwing the kitchen sink” at helping people find new roles and learn new skills. “

“In a speech at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester today, Mr Sunak will outline fresh funding for schemes designed to increase the chances of employment for those looking for work.

Sky gives some sketchy details ahead of of today’s speech.

Within the chancellor’s new £500m package of support is an extension of the Kickstart scheme – which provides funding to create new jobs for 16 to 24-year-olds at risk of long-term unemployment – until the end of March.

Mr Sunak is also extending a Job Entry Targeted Support (JETS) scheme – for those who have been unemployed for more than three months – by another year; and he is extending a Youth Offer of guaranteed support for all young people on Universal Credit until the end of 2025.

In addition, the chancellor is extending the £3,000 incentive for firms to take on apprentices until the end of January; he will expand support from work coaches for those on Universal Credit; and he will prioritise those who have left furlough and are looking for work on Universal Credit through the Job Finding Support service u

Within the chancellor’s new £500m package of support is an extension of the Kickstart scheme – which provides funding to create new jobs for 16 to 24-year-olds at risk of long-term unemployment – until the end of March.

Mr Sunak is also extending a Job Entry Targeted Support (JETS) scheme – for those who have been unemployed for more than three months – by another year; and he is extending a Youth Offer of guaranteed support for all young people on Universal Credit until the end of 2025.

In addition, the chancellor is extending the £3,000 incentive for firms to take on apprentices until the end of January; he will expand support from work coaches for those on Universal Credit; and he will prioritise those who have left furlough and are looking for work on Universal Credit through the Job Finding Support service until the end of December.

(Job Finding Support

Job Finding Support (JFS) is part of the government’s Plan for Jobs initiative. Job Finding Support offers tailored one-to-one support to help you back into work. It’s aimed at people who have been unemployed for up to 13 weeks, and it will help you develop the skills and confidence to find and secure new employment. Your work coach will be able to advise whether JFS is right for you and if you are eligible.

If you take part you will be offered at least 4 hours of one-to-one online support focused on what will help you find work, and at least one online group session. You will receive advice and practical support to help with your job search. This could include, but is not limited to:

  • help to identify your transferable skills
  • advice about growth industries and jobs
  • job matching to suitable vacancies and advice/links to suitable employers
  • a mock interview with feedback and guidance )

And….

The package will also include a new offer for those aged over 50, with better access to information and guidance on planning for later life for those in work, and more intensive, tailored support for those who have lost their jobs.

Thérèse Coffey has got the message.

She has plans for those on disability benefits.

…she wants to focus on “what people can do, rather than the benefit system being driven currently by what you cannot do”.

Ms Coffey’s comments appear to mark a new push towards pushing people who claim disability or sickness payments towards work.

She said far more people than she expected are in the ‘support group’ – where work is not necessary – of Employment and Support Allowance, which for many is part of Universal Credit.

She also warned more young people than she expected were claiming Personal Independence Payment (PIP) – which is paid regardless of whether people work – due to mental health issues.

Written by Andrew Coates

October 4, 2021 at 7:57 am

Food Banks Braced for Universal Credit Cut.

Trussell Trust records 'busiest' period across its food banks nationwide |  Salisbury Journal

Food Banks Gear Up for Universal Credit Cut.

The news reports keep rolling out.

On Sunday, as this Blog has already mentioned, every Sunday there is this, just around the corner,

Several churches in the South England Conference are operating as ADRA community hubs during the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis. They are providing food, provisions and assistance in their area under ADRA’s, I AM Urban initiative.

Food for the homeless (packed lunch).

Available for collection every Sunday 12pm – 1pm.

(Seventh Day Adventist Church).

There is always a small crowd.

Now there is this news.

Ipswich food banks reopen and struggle to get supplies before benefit cut and furlough end.

Ipswich Star.

Ipswich food banks have reopened a shop and are struggling to get supplies ahead of the cut to Universal Credit and the end of furlough in October. 

In addition to these “big” changes, Gareth Brenland from foodbank and homelessness charity the Bus Shelter Ipswich says at the end of next month families will have children at home without free school meals. 

Mr Brenland said: “I’m concerned. 

“That cut to Universal Credit affects me and is £80 a month. It will have a big impact on me. 

“Last month we did 49 food parcels but I’m expecting 100s. 

Graham Denny, founder and administrator of the BASIC Life Charity, who runs Ipswich and Felixstowe charity stores where you can get all your shopping for £2, is preparing for the big change. 

“We’ve taken lots of provisions from Suffolk County Council,” Mr Denny said. “We’re quite aware of the challenges that are coming and how difficult that is going to be and I think we’re ready for that.”

Our Hard Right Tory MP, who spends most of his time railing against ‘Woke’ and ‘Cultural Marxism’ said this (the first time he has expressed on opinion on these fringe issues).

Mr Hunt said he did tell Mr Sunak he thinks the uplift should be permanent but pointed out the chancellor will have to make “difficult” decisions in light of the over £400 billion borrowed during the pandemic. 

Around 5,790 people in Ipswich were on out-of-work benefits as of mid-July, down 145 from 5,935 in mid-June.

He added he sympathises with his constituents who are facing these challenges but said he knows from talking to Ipswich business they need staff and have lots of vacancies.  

Here is the MP for the Constituency next to Ipswich,

Written by Andrew Coates

September 12, 2021 at 7:28 am

Johnson – Universal Credit Claimants Should Rely On Their Own ‘Efforts’ Not Welfare.

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There’s been a flurry of stories about the Universal Credit cut today:

But this stands out.

Boris Johnson Says Universal Credit Claimants Should Rely On Their Own ‘Efforts’ Not Welfare.

“Boris Johnson has defended planned cuts to Universal Credit by suggesting claimants should rely on their own “efforts” rather than accept “welfare”.

The prime minister shrugged off a growing Tory rebellion over the removal of the £1,000-a-year top-up to the benefit, which was introduced to cushion the impact of the Covid pandemic on low-income families.

Everyone on Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit will see the uplift axed on October 6 and a new report warned that households in more than 50 Tory marginals won in 2019 would be among those hardest hit.”

The man who looks like adopting the Bertie Wooster strategy before the Beak of ‘sout denial’ continues

But Johnson made a robust defence of the benefit cut plans, declaring that it was better for people to get more money by working harder than by relying on income that came from other taxpayers.

“My strong preference is for people to see their wages rise through their efforts rather than through taxation of other people put into their pay packets, rather than welfare,” he said.

He added: “The key focus for this government is on making sure that we come out of Covid strongly, with a jobs-led recovery, and I’m very pleased to see the way the unemployment numbers, the unemployment rate has been falling, employment has been rising, but also wages have been rising.”

However, critics point out that many of Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit are actually in work, but are on low wages.

Meanwhile our all-heart Minister is here:

Written by Andrew Coates

August 26, 2021 at 5:09 pm