Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Posts Tagged ‘Ipswich Unemployed Action

Only 31,030 People Claiming Universal Credit, as IDS Launches Rival to the Desolation of Smaug.

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Universal Credit ‘Work Coach’. 

As the eagle-eyed posters on Ipswich Unemployed Action have noted, there are flaws a-plenty in Universal Credit.

Some have suggested that the Desolation of Smaug will look like happy days if the Tories manage to cling to power and implement all their schemes – from forced labour for the young unemployed, to permanent surveillance and sanctioning for the older out-of-work. We would like to thank our contributors for their posts. This stands out though, published today, Wednesday the 18th of February, by Welfare Weekly. 

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has discretely released dismal Universal Credit statistics on the same day as the latest unemployment figures are announced.

The figures reveal that there were just 31,030 people on Universal Credit by 8th January 2015.

This represents an increase of 17 per cent on the caseload compared to December 2014, but is still far short of the 1million (plus) originally promised by the Work and Pensions Secretary, Iain Duncan Smith MP.

The Jobcentre Plus office with the largest caseload was Oldham with 2,640 Universal Credit claimants, followed by Wigan with 1,930.

Of the people on the caseload in January 2015, 32 per cent were in employment and 68 per cent were not in employment.

47 per cent of the Universal Credit caseload in January 2015 has been on the new benefit for less than three months, this compares to 52 per cent in December 2014, 55 per cent in November 2014 and 60 per cent in October 2014.

There are more males on the Universal Credit caseload than females (70 per cent compared to 30 per cent).

Males aged 20-24 make up 24 per cent of the total Universal Credit caseload

TUC Demo: People’s Assembly Against Workfare.

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The TUC is holding a march on Saturday.

Supporters of Ipswich Unemployed Action, and DPAC, will be on coaches from our county, to back the demonstration.

Many of us will be there be as part of the People’s Assembly Against Austerity – Suffolk People’s Assembly.

National TUC Demonstration | 18 October 2014

 

Assemble: 11 am, Victoria Embankment, London
March to Hyde Park

The People’s Assembly Against Austerity will be mobilising in support of this mass demonstration called by the TUC. This will be the third demonstration this summer, following our No More Austerity demo on 21 June, which saw 50,000 people take to the streets, and the co-ordinated strike action on July 10, with over 1 million public sector workers on strike (watch the footage from Trafalgar Square here).

Some key reasons for getting involved:

  • Poverty Pay – 1 in 5 people in Britain now earn less than the living wage, and for the first time ever we have more people in work below the poverty line than the number of people unemployed!
  • The Cost of Living Crisis – We are told that we have recovered from the cost of living crisis, but ordinary people are still £40 a week worse off on average than they were 5 years ago. Furthermore, if bankers hadn’t crashed the economy and wages growth had stayed on track, workers would have £100 a week more in their pay packets!
  • Rising Inequality – In 1998, Chief Executives received 45 times the average pay. Now they receive 185 times the average pay. Put in other terms, they make more in a day and a half than what most people earn in 12 months!

There has been controversy over the TUC’s stand on workfare.

This is the People’s Assembly policy (which I moved) on Workfare, passed at the PA National meeting on March the 15th 2014.

  • Conference notes the continuing use of compulsory unpaid work (“Workfare”) and the plans to extend them by use of Community Work Placements from April 2014.Conference believes that Workfare:-
  • Does not address the underlying causes of unemployment.
  • It does not reduce unemployment.
  • It enables employers to take advantage of unpaid labour while cutting pay and employment opportunities for others.
  • Penalises and stigmatises unemployed people and Should not exist. A
  • ll workers be paid the going rate and on the same terms and conditions as other workers.

Conference resolves that: All public bodies, contractors to public bodies, voluntary organisations and charities, as well as all private employers should refuse to accept Workfare placements arranged by Jobcentre Plus or the Work Programme providers.

  • All supporters of the People’s Assembly should take steps to establish whether or not Workfare placements are being used by organisations they are involved in and take steps to end such placements.
  • There should be an independent investigation into the Welfare-to-Work industry.Benefit claimants should receive a decent level of benefits, proper training and the best opportunities, without compulsion, to look for paid employment.
  • The People’s Assembly should campaign against Workfare.”

Passed unanimously.

Universal Credit – Benefits to Loans

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Word has reached Ipswich Unemployed Action from The Void that Iain Duncan Smith plans to convert 40% of benefit claims into loans as a result from increasing draconian benefit sanctions. Benefit Claimants will be divided into The Deserving Poor and The Undeserving Poor – most of this will be delegated to the private sector to decide within their remit who should be able to claim benefits and who should be forced into a hardship payment loan of up to £6000 or more.

The Deserving Poor

If you are deemed worthy of benefits – perhaps newly unemployed from redundancy or never had a benefit claim before; you will still have to meet an almost endless (and continuously growing) list of conditions, but you will be able to claim benefits.

The Undeserving Poor

If you are deemed to be, lets say “undeserving” of benefits at the DWP or private providers’ (such as on the Work Programme) discretion, by not meeting the list of conditions, then you will be sanctioned up to 3 years. Hardship payments will be replaced with loans – we assume they will be interest free, but we await details – thus converting welfare into loans.

The likelihood of rolling sanctions is rife – 3 year sanctions (paid as a loan) and  recouped in the following 3 years from benefits to pay the outstanding debt.

Some readers might be thinking “6 years?! Who is going to be unemployed that long?” – financial hardship wont force someone into securing work, it alienates people from society, and if it doesn’t kill someone through suicide, its certainly not going to get someone a job.

Welfare to Loans

Ipswich Unemployed Action believes up to 40% of claimants might be subject to these (repayable, obviously) loans at some stage. These will be targeted on long-term (6 months+) unemployed persons especially, but new claimants wont be immune.

We feel that any higher percentage couldn’t be sustained as this is unlawful.

Its probable that longer term the loans could be delegated to Tory banking chums in the latter years of the next parliamentary term if the Tories win the next General Election.

Hardship Payments Welfare Reform

This news reached us from The Void, originally by refuted. Both are heavyweights in championing welfare rights.

On Back to Work Courses.

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There must be many people, if not all of us, who read Ipswich Unemployed Action, who’ve done (and have had to have done) courses on helping you back to work.

Despite having finished the Work Programme I just did a Course (half a day) on Effective Job Searching.

The back-to-work industry is focused on getting people’s CVs right.

This is useful and you can’t complain.

There’s also the guidelines on how to apply for jobs, use the Net, keep records, set goals, and prepare for interviews.

So far so good.

Though having done a handful I can’t say that I’ve learnt more by having to do to more and more and more of them.

One thing I have noticed is that as the welfare-to-work industry gets more desperate about their pitiful record in the Work Programme the more intense the pressure on claimants has become.

It used to be that we should present ourselves respectable and take a serious attitude towards getting a job.

At the worse it was if we should be like agricultural labourers in the 19th century.

They had ‘fairs’ where the assorted shepherds, milkmaids, cordwainers, cowmen, and ploughmen, not to mention domestic servants, would assemble in their best clothes and clogs, covered with ribbons, and smiling, all looking for the kindly farmers and gentry who would employ them.

Now it’s our CV’s that are bedecked with finery.

Yet I notice that we are expected to do more.

We have to make nuisance calls, and generally pester people saying ‘Give us a job please.”

Those giving the courses (I am not signaling out any individual, but if the cap fits…), seem have got harder as well.

Inspiring tales (true or not) of those who’ve found work are only a step away from saying that those who have not got any are to blame themselves.

The idea that the high streets are increasingly derelict (post-Xmas), that machinery, from automatic check-outs to robotics, are making the long-term  need for human employment less likely, never gets mentioned.

Instead it’s get up and go! Be like me!

Live off the out-of-work the UK’s Unemployment Industry.

And, I hate, really hate, an audience being called “you guys”.

It’s like that tick in the shops, “Sorry to keep you waiting.”

I am not a ‘guy’, blood.