Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Posts Tagged ‘Community Action Programme

Pauperland and the Inquiry into Hunger in Britain.

On the eve of the release of the All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Hunger in Britain this should be essential reading:


Pauperland. Poverty and the Poor in Britain. Jeremy Seabrook. Hurst & Company.

Pauperland is the story of how “the laws of commerce” became the “laws of God” and of those who have suffered along the way.

Th book is a history of attitudes towards the poor, both employed and unemployed. Seabrook tells us those in authority who consider that poverty is caused by the “wilful perversity of poor”. Making them bear responsibility for their misbehaviour, and reforming them, from the Workhouse to Mandatory Work Activity and the Community Action Programme is a long and harrowing tale. One thread runs through it: the ‘idle’ need to be reformed for their own good – by force, hunger, or, more recently by ‘sanctions’.

Perhaps the best way to discuss this fine book is to give a few extracts from its history of how poverty and unemployment have been treated.

1547, the Regency Council, “In the light of complaints against idleness and vagabonderie it is therefore enacted that if any man or woman able to work should refuse to labour and live idly for three days, that he, or she, should be branded with a red-hot iron on the breast with the letter V, and should be adjudged the slaves for three years of any person who should inform of the said idler.” (Page 45) The law was repealed three years later.

The original Workhouses, 18th century, “In the eighteenth century, the poor were to be managed by the contractor at so much per head, or maintained for a lump sum agreed at the outset.” “Everything that could be was contracted out, – physicians for medical services, carpenters for making coffins; the conveyance of vagrants to their place of settlement, pauper shifts and shrouds, shoes and stockings” “Conditions in the workhouse presented ‘scenes of filthiness of and confusion;’. They were ‘receptacles of misery, ‘mansions of putridity’. Men and woman, young and old, sick and healthy shared a miserable existence, some sleeping on straw on brick floors, others three or four in a bed” (Page 67)

After the Poor Law Amendment Act, 1834. “The Andover workhouse scandal occurred in 1847, when the inmates were discovered to have been eating rotten meat from the bones they were supposed to be rendering for glue.” (Page 102)

Public Assistance in the 1930s – Unemployment Benefit (created after the 1st World War, now had to deal with those out of work because of the slump). Apart from the ‘Means test’ that gave payment only to those who could prove their destitution penny by penny and make them sell anything judged unnecessary, there was this,

“An employee of the Public Assistance Committee would take up position in the balcony of cinemas in Bolton or South Shields, to observe who was idling money and time away, watching The Garden of Allah or Poor Little Rich Girl when they ought to have been pounding the streets in search of an outlet for their unwanted labour, informants were reputed to stand all night outside certain houses to make sure no undeclared lodger or relative was sleeping there. People picking coal fallen from railway wagons were charged with theft, and even those gathering fuel in the woods were considered to be conducting a profitable business.” (Page 134)

National Assistance Act of 1948. This began with the sentence, “The poor law shall cease to exist” a promise of deliverance to millions who had lived in the shadow of workhouse, means test, pawn shop and private moneylenders.” (Page 35)

“A national health service, secure income for the elderly, support to the sick and employed, represented a security unheard of in the history of industrial capitalism. And for a people liberated from ancient scourges of want and hunger, Britain was ready for a prosperity that promised – and indeed, has delivered (in more ways than one) – the earth.” (Page 149)


“With the rehabilitation of the free market in the early 1980s, complaints of red tape, government interference, high taxes, the stifling of enterprise and the crushing of initiative, the time was ripe for an assault on the welfare state, as invented by do-gooders to make people supine and demanding. And the principal object of wrath was, once more, the poor; not the impotent poor (although even these are now considered nay government proper targets for surgical strikes on welfare. The able-bodied poor, the army of shirkers and losers who take the piss and have a laugh at the taxpayer’s expense.”(Page 150)

“So the hunt is on for the cheat and the thief, the raider of public bounty, and the vigilant are invited to call a confidential helpline. Resentment and hatred are staples of the rhetoric; the world if full not of family, friends and neighbours, but of junkies and alkies, peds and pervs, beasts and monsters, loonies and weirdos, con-artists and crooks, rapists and muggers, a rapacious humanity out to take advantage of the thin charity and grudging compassion of our miserly wealth.” (Page 150)

The attack on the poor – in the form of welfare – has reached a paroxysm. Politicians, journalists, ideologues, polemicists, some members of the clergy, taxpayers’ organisations, commerce and business unite in condemnation of those who drain the public purse to no positive effect; a project made easier by mobilising majorities against those who have nothing.(Page 151)

My father came from the slums of Glasgow. His early years (one of a large family) were spent in great poverty. That is, his dad, returning from fighting the Great War, was unemployed for a very long time before finally getting work in the Post Office (his saviour). My mum was born in the East End in a ‘labour aristocracy’ family of printers – not at all poor but with its evidence straight in front of her.

They were fucking proud of the Welfare State for reasons which Seabrook only too clearly illustrates.

There are countless families like us.

There are millions of people like us.

We have to stand up together to the bullies, the ‘welfare reformers’, the Iain Duncan Smiths, the workfare exploiters, poverty pimps and the rabble of chancers from the ‘welfare to work’ industry.

We need more, much more, than:

  • A new publicly funded body, Feeding Britain, involving eight Cabinet Ministers, to work towards a ‘hunger free Britain’.
  • Bigger food banks, called Food Banks Plus, to distribute more free food and advise people how to claim benefits and make ends meet.
  • A rise in the minimum wage and the provision free school meals during school holidays for children from poor families.
  • New measures to make it harder to strip people of benefits for breaking welfare rules – including soccer style ‘yellow cards’ instead of instant bans.
  • Action to make supermarkets give more food to the poor.

We need a properly funded Welfare state.

We need a decent level benefits as a right not Food Banks.

We should be able to stand with our backs up straight: not bent over asking for Charity or being instructed by our ‘betters’.

There are millions and millions like us.

This is a video that beautifully shows how we should act.

Workfare workers are employees of the Crown?

A new blow for the Government with its Work Programme, Community Action Programme, Mandatory Work Activity and Work Experience schemes as it has been suggested that the jobseekers being placed on mandatory placements through statutory legislation are in effect Crown employees.

Regardless of being assigned to the premises of an company (we prefer not to say employer in such context) or the street:-

  • there is no employment contract expressly written, verbal or implied between the worker and the company;
  • no payment in cash or in kind from said company;
  • jobseekers on the employment programme schemes are statistically employed; and
  • such appointment is exercised through statutory instrument (of an Act of Parliament)

Thus these workfare workers are employees of the Crown, an employee of the State and a public sector worker (regardless if you are operating in a private sector environment) – this is what workfare is all about, working for your benefits.

So, when you are about to start a 6 month stint at Poundland or Tescos stacking shelves with threats to your benefits, make sure you:-

  • Register with UNISON (public sector trade union) for around 81p per week
  • Serve notice on the workfare general (the company you are based at) to alert them of your union membership status
  • Remain active within the union in particular about your working conditions

Community Action Programme: Provider Guidelines for Work-For-Nothing.

Community Action Programme (Workfare).

Government Guidelines for Providers (Extracts and Comments).

From here.

“This scheme  is for “very long-term JSA claimants who  may reach the end of the Work Programme from 2013.”

Note: There are 750,000 long-term unemployed. This figure is not expected to go down by 2013.

The government’s approach, already in place, and adopted by Work Programme providers,  is summed up in the Guardian today,

“The subtext is that external economic factors can never be the cause of someone’s unemployment: the problem must somehow lie with the individual.”

Those long-term unemployed who have gone through thee Work Programme will now have to face up to this further effort to make them solve ‘their’ problems.

“10.  Participation is mandatory and a claimant’s benefits may be stopped if they fail to start or complete the programme. ”   

Those who will have to participate  include,

3.  The majority of these claimants will have been unemployed for a substantial amount of time, and having received support through both Jobcentre Plus and contracted provision, should display similar characteristics to those we expect of claimants still out of work at the of the WP.
4.  The claimant group set out above will include a range of claimants with circumstances that need be taken into account in designing CAP  support. These will include:
•  claimants with caring responsibilities, including lone parents
•  disabled claimants or those with health conditions
•  claimants who are over 50 years old
•  claimants serving a community sentence which could involve
Community Payback
•  socially excluded claimants, including ex-offenders, offenders,homeless claimants, and claimants with a drug or alcoholdependency problem.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Andrew Coates

February 1, 2012 at 12:07 pm

Work for Your Benefit scheme to be axed… finally!

Since the Community Action Programme has been formulated, they are now going to scrap the Work for Your Benefit regulations via a new proposed regulation: The Jobseeker’s Allowance (Jobseeking and Work for Your Benefit) (Amendment and Revocation) Regulations 2012.

 Revocation of the Jobseeker’s Allowance (Work for Your Benefit Pilot Scheme) Regulations 2010

4. The Jobseeker’s Allowance (Work for Your Benefit Pilot Scheme) Regulations 2010(7) are revoked.

We recently reported how the Conservatives had left the scheme dormantRead the rest of this entry »

Workfare – Community Action Programme – Alan B’stard Writes.

This is a guest post by renowned political commentator Alan B’stard.

“The Unemployed are to be sentenced to work! For a tenth of the minimum wage!

About time too! What do I pay my taxes for – or at least did once some years ago before I registered Alan B’stard & Co. as  a Charity with our HQ in Monaco.

All those dole blaggers swarming around Govan and Manchester, guzzling tins of Tennent’s, and snorting lines of Charlie!

The hideous Viky Pollard person, shown on a BBC documentary, with her ten brats, who can barely speak the Queen’s English!

Enough is enough.

My good friend, Deputy Dawg, from the Tea Party, Houndstown USA says: get them to work on the ‘ol chain-gang!

We have plenty of Community Service here at Goldsborough Hall.

In fact we’re rather short of grouse and pheasant beaters at this time of year – the last lot are skulking in some drab ‘hospital’ with ‘injuries’ (wait till ATOS gets ’em!).

We need a few nannies and masseurs as well.

B’stard Babies (Registered Social Entrepreneurs) is a certified provider of high-quality training and voluntary employment.

We’ll soon get these sturdy beggars  using some elbow grease!

Here’s where we’re applying to solve the staff shortage and do our bit to help:

Community Action Programme (CAP) Provider Guidance Here. 

Now, piss off you lot!”

Written by Andrew Coates

November 10, 2011 at 11:20 am