Observation On Minister Hits Out At “False” Work Scheme Campaign To Do This Any Justices I have Included The Article Below:
The employment minister has claimed a small number of activists are trying to “destabilise” firms involved in a controversial work experience scheme.
The scheme allows unemployed youngsters to do unpaid work for up to two months without losing benefits but has been criticised by some as “slave labour”.
Chris Grayling said firms were “jumpy” because of a “false campaign” he blamed on the Socialist Workers’ Party.
But Right to Work protesters said it was a “broad-based” campaign.
The scheme, aimed at 16- to 24-year-olds on jobseeker’s allowance (JSA), allows them to do unpaid work experience with a company for up to eight weeks – without losing their benefit and potentially with some expenses paid.
But if jobseekers choose to take part and then fail to turn up without good reason after the first week, their benefits could be docked for a period. This has led critics to question whether the placements are really “voluntary”.
Of the 34,200 people who took part in the scheme between its launch in January 2011 and November that year – the government says 200 had their benefits docked.
Various firms have expressed concerns about government-backed work placement schemes in the past week, amid claims that they exploit people on benefits.
On Thursday Ken McMeikan, chief executive of the bakery chain Greggs, told BBC Two’s Newsnight programme he and other business leaders would meet the government next week to discuss the scheme.
He said: “If after a week or more you decide as an individual that it’s not working for you and you leave the scheme, we don’t believe at Greggs that the benefits should be taken away.”
But he added it was a “small minority of people” of people criticising the scheme and most youngsters who had been through it “like it and they want us to continue offering it”.
Mr Grayling told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that joining the scheme was “entirely voluntary” and many of those who took part went on to get jobs with the firms.
Work experience programme
- Voluntary scheme for 16- to 24-year-olds unemployed for more than three months, but less than nine
- Participants have an unpaid placement for two to eight weeks, working 25 to 30 hours a week
- They continue to receive jobseeker’s allowance and may receive a contribution to travel or childcare costs
- Anyone who cuts a placement short after more than a week may have their benefits stopped for two weeks
- Government says 51% of participants in first three months of scheme were off benefits within 13 weeks
“All of the evidence we can see is that this does better than simply leaving people on JSA, it actually helps more young people get into work.”
He said “jumpy” companies were coming under pressure from an internet campaign which he claimed was being run by the Socialist Workers’ Party.
“The High Street retail sector is going through a tough time at the moment, if you’re running a company and you’re getting streams of emails attacking you, it’s very unsettling. It’s a false campaign.
“I don’t accept that the scale of the campaign is very large, it’s a small number of activists who are deliberately targeting these companies and trying to destabilise them.”
Jobseekers who dropped out of the scheme “without good reason” would be investigated – and in some cases face the same sanction they would for not turning up to sign on at the job centre, he said.
And he argued that the only compulsory scheme they operated was a short-term scheme, “mandatory work activity”, used when Jobcentre Plus advisers felt someone’s job search has “gone off the rails” – which was work carried out on “community-benefiting projects”.
Like lots of socialists, people think what the government is doing with the workfare scheme is pretty outrageous”
End Quote Michael Bradley Right to Work campaign
Waterstones, Maplin, Matalan, Tesco andArgosare among firms to have expressed concerns about government-backed work placement schemes in recent days.
On Friday Poundland said it was withdrawing from participation in another scheme – the government’s work programme – which is aimed at people who have been unemployed for more than a year. Claimants who refuse to take part in recommended work experience can face benefit sanctions.
Sainsbury’s, meanwhile, said the small number of stores that took part in the work experience scheme following local approaches had since ceased participation, as it was not company policy.
Michael Bradley of the Right to Work campaign said he was “proud to be a socialist” but it was a “broad based” campaign backed by six trade unions and chaired by Labour MP John McDonnell.
He told BBC Radio 4’s World at One: “Like lots of socialists, people think what the government is doing with the workfare scheme is pretty outrageous – that’s why people are going onto the streets and protesting about it.”
And Socialist Workers’ Party national secretary Charlie Kimber said: “Grayling should know that the campaign against forcing the unemployed to work for nothing is supported by very large numbers of people, not just the SWP.”
Kirsty McHugh, of the Employment Related Services Association, which represents “welfare to work” companies, said if benefit rules were stopping companies wanting to provide placements the government should look at them again.
Let’s begin with the Socialist Workers Party(SWP) as much I do not support their policies and ideologies they have the right to be heard. Chris Grayling one must have balance in your counter arguments you begin to remind me of pandering to the right of your party in regards to student polices but even student politics does a better job than you do as a Cabinet minister.
Many will note that in recent days there has been various coalition senior cabinet members defending their so-called records of youth unemployment and their dreaded work for benefits. Recently voters have seen various news reports on Youth Unemployment and what form of action that they will take to get employers young apprenticeship into work to gain experience.
Most young apprentice gets well below the national minimum wage. Oops the cat is out of the bag now. More recently there was an article which featured that an unemployed person(s) were offered a placements in Pound Land and Tesco. It just took one person to decide to take what is called positive action against the Department of Works and Pension (DWP) via court.
The coalition government has cancelled 12 projects totaling £2bn agreed to by the previous Labour government since the start of 2010.
These include an £80m loan to Sheffield Forgemasters and new programmes for the young unemployed, Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander told MPs.
Mr Alexander said the cuts were necessary to tackle the budget deficit and would be done in a “fair” way.
Let’s not forget that in November 2011 Nick Clegg announce £1bn of new funding on Friday to help prevent another lost generation of young jobless people. The money, to be spent over three years, will provide opportunities including job subsidies, apprenticeships and work experience placements to 500,000 unemployed people.
The scheme will be administered by private-sector providers via the government’s work programme, and any young person taken on will have to complete the placement or be refused benefits. Anyone rejecting a subsidised job offer will be required to undertake four weeks’ mandatory work activity.
Each subsidy is worth half the current youth national minimum wage and will last for six months. It will be available to all young people who have been on jobseeker’s allowance for nine months. All employers will be expected to pay at least the minimum wage. The subsidy will more than cover the cost of an employer’s national insurance.
I acknowledge that there may be some bad apples who will abuse the system but that is very few compared to the many who want to work but are being penalised by Central Government with the withdrawal of the Future for Funds project introduce by a Labour Government.
Since the formation of this coalition many have witnessed the withdrawal of some of the most radical reforms introduced by Labour that worked in supporting people who are unemployment which encouraged them to go back into work.
What a laugh, I have to say as much I do not follow their politics or their ideologies one cannot help to think has the coalition got it wrong to introduce work scheme that would only work for cheap labour in return to ensure that they get a decent meal. Get real Chris Grayling and to try to turn the debate around to say that some so-called SWP activists are scaring big and small business off from taking up this wonderful scheme.
“How many rivers do the high level of unemployment has to cross to get their bread and butter with some jam on it or marmalade back to work”.
Now I have read and heard it all when you have a bad hair day just blame it on computer hackers for hacking into his email account from anti Government activist in his response to Supermarket giant Tesco this week offered to pay people on the scheme and asked ministers to remove the threat of benefit sanctions against those not completing their work experience.
Retail giant Poundland has reportedly withdrawn from the scheme after voicing similar concerns about its mandatory element.
Mr Grayling defended the scheme today, saying that half of those who joined it after the launch 11 weeks ago had now found a job, often with companies which offered them work experience.
He also claimed that firms reportedly pulling out of the programme, including supermarket giant Sainsbury’s, had never formally been involved in the government initiative because they ran their own scheme.
Ah this beginning to sound like a tune I remember growing up as as a wee lad “You’re running away but you can’trun away from your shadow as you must have done something wrong”
Nick Clegg’s well-trailed Youth Contract stunt is little more than an expensive sideshow designed to give the impression of tackling youth unemployment.
It is a tragedy that the government is devoting £126 million for this charade when it could actually have done something concrete to help an abandoned generation.
As ever, this coalition of conservatives from the Tory and Liberal Democrat parties is more concerned with diverting public funds to business than with creating long-term worthwhile jobs and training for teenagers.
Adept as ever at stating the bleeding obvious, the Deputy Prime Minister notes that “sitting at home with nothing to do when you’re so young can knock the stuffing out of you for years.”
That being so, he ought to explain why the coalition government has conspired to deny young people help and support by slashing the education maintenance allowance and forcing local authorities to suspend youth services by denying them adequate national funding.
At a time when unemployment is on the rise, cutting already flimsy benefits to 16 and 17-year-olds that enabled them to continue studying is a complete slap in the face.
It tells them that, in ministers’ eyes, they don’t matter. There are no jobs for them and the government doesn’t care whether they study or not.
Latest figures reveal that the number of so-called Neets – not in education, employment or training – aged 16 to 24 has reached 1,163,000, almost 20 per cent of that age range.
Yet Clegg’s master plan is not envisaged, even at best, to help more than 55,000 of them, however briefly.
The bosses’ organisation CBI let the cat out of the bag by disclosing that the Youth Contract stunt, which invites employers to bid for contracts worth up to £2,200 to engage young people, was its own idea.
Its employment and skills policy director Neil Carberry directs the usual bosses’ righthander at schools, blaming them for inadequate careers and study advice and failure to develop links with local business.
This is a variation on the now traditional conservative penchant for blaming the unemployed for not having a job rather than a clapped-out system that turns its back on the need to find employment for every citizen to ensure self-respect and self-reliance.
Government economic policies are driving up unemployment and denying finance to youth services that provide support to the young jobless.
Yet Clegg has the temerity to waffle on about how “incredibly important” it is, “at that very vital moment in someone’s life, when they are in their teens, that they don’t lose the ambition and the hope and the optimism about working.”
Does he really believe that the slim prospect of being part of this employer-support scheme will enthuse youngsters denied the right to work or study? Youngsters are not stupid.
Just like older people they can see the political direction of this government, which is committed to slashing spending on public services, salaries, pensions and benefits.
Young people’s hopes and ambitions of getting quality training and employment depend on a substantial change of political direction where the interests of working people take precedence over big business profits.
This requires an end to the cuts agenda and increased taxation on corporate profits, the super-rich and inherited wealth, combined with public ownership of essential assets such as the financial sector, the energy utilities and public transport.
Yet here we have David Cameron berating critics of big business greed for their “snobbery” is on a par with Rab C Nesbitt turning his nose up at people for being uncouth.
Shadow business secretary ChukaUmunna is more charitable in describing the Prime Minister as “totally confused and inconsistent.” “Two-faced shameless apologist for City profiteers” might be more accurate.
The only thing in Cameron’s favour is that he feels unable to continue the pretence of commitment to the oxymoron of “moral capitalism” and prefers to nail his colours openly to the mast of unbridled greed.
His statement forms part of a co-ordinated campaign by the City and its political representatives to polish capitalism’s tarnished reputation.
The conservative coalition felt the need for a short time to echo the widespread anger of people suffering cuts in their living standards and seeing those responsible for economic crisis still pocketing huge bonuses.
But this was never going to be more than a temporary phenomenon. The Tory-led government is a creature of big business and its backers will not tolerate sustained criticism of their prime activity – making profits.
That’s why Chancellor George Osborne – another beneficiary of inherited wealth, having walked into a £30 million trust fund when he was 21 – declared that the Con-Dem coalition government is “relentlessly pro-business.” Of course it is. That’s where ministers’ collective and individual interests lie.
That’s why Cameron feels no compunction about misrepresenting capitalism’s motivation, claiming that business is the best way to “smash poverty.”
Poverty can only be “smashed” if poor people’s incomes are increased, preferably by the unemployed finding jobs but also by a higher state pension and improved benefits for those too old or otherwise unable to work.
The government is failing on all fronts, dumping tens of thousands more people on the jobs scrap heap and freezing or reducing the real value of pensions and other benefits.
Cameron’s claim that “snobbish attitudes” deny business any inherent moral worth and prefer it to stay out of “social concerns” masks his government’s determination to allow the private sector to milk our public services through so-called partnership that facilitates private companies’ involvement in services previously supplied by the state.
Private-sector penetration of the NHS, welfare to work, police services, the Civil Service and local authority responsibilities is justified on the false premise that private is better.
Nothing gives the lie to this assertion more effectively than the record ofBritain’s private banks, which Cameron is keen to rehabilitate as responsible wealth creators. Yet the state-owned RBS bank still operates under capitalist rules rather a public-sector ethos.
That’s why a tiny proportion of market traders are paid huge bonuses while 28,000 bank staff, such as cashiers and call centre operators, receive nothing and most others get 1 or 2 per cent.
RBS is like a scale model of capitalism, with the top 1 per cent benefiting most, while whinging incessantly about how hard done by they are, and the vast majority carrying the can for the deeds of others.
Exorbitant bonuses for the few are what catches the public eye, but these are merely a symptom of the basic problem, which is capitalism itself.
Capitalism will not reform itself. It needs firm political action to use a combination of taxation and public ownership to reverse the balance of wealth and power.