Coalition government stop must scapegoating unemployed people

photo (1)Another home goal for the coalition as they cannot come up with original ideas, if I was a teacher and was going to mark them for originally I would start by marking them out of 10 then I would take 5 points off them for not think though their policy then deduct a further 5 points for taking this idea from Labour who introduced it in the first place, so the total score will be a big fat zero.

This is on the grounds of It is common sense to inform the Job Centre Plus of any change of circumstances which a Marjory of people who will do it automatically. Granted there are very few who do abuse the system but in the long run they get caught out in the end compared to the number of MPs and Lords who abuse their expense system.

photo (2)So the coalition need not give us no lectures in this area of concern already both the coalition and press continues scaremongering tactics to blame it all on migrants their only crime is to look for a better life in other countries to support their families(children) to have a decent education and a better start in life.

No one plans to be on benefits for a life time. What you need to seek from the government is what are they are doing for the future of our children when they leave school, collages, and university to help them full time employment and not using zero hour contracts to employment to their chosen field of work.

photo (3)Then there are the forgotten lot the over 30s who have fallen on hard times and lost only source of income and now have depend on benefits but instead of looking for long term solutions they(coalition) rather concentrate on the short term solutions instead as it is more cheaper to do which equals to zero hour contracts and cheap labor.

I have to say that I will take no lessons from both present and previous governments as each had the opportunity to help stimulate the economy by investing in more jobs from both sectors(public and private). Some may argue that it’s not the government’s job to create jobs but for the private sector to do so. We say it’s the government to help create the jobs to help stimulate the economy.

photo (5)What a cheek Benefit claimants are being warned to disclose changes in circumstances as part of a campaign aimed at cutting the £1.6bn-a-year cost of overpayments.

Hey all its not surprising that some councils are using unemployed people to take up task such as work for your benefits here is an example scores of UK councils have benefited from more than half a million hours of unpaid labour through government back-to-work schemes, a series of freedom of information requests has found.

The FOI requests filed by the group Boycott Workfare, which campaigns against workfare schemes, found 62% of the 271 councils that responded had used unpaid workers on government schemes during the past two years.

photoBoycott Workfare, which says unpaid schemes such as work experience and mandatory work activity (MWA) exploit tens of thousands of unemployed people, found Newport council had used 112 people, mainly in its street cleaning and rubbish collection department for about four weeks at a time.

Scarborough council has used 120 people through the MWA scheme since 2011. Seventy one people completed the placements, all in the parks department.

Bexley borough council in London has taken more than 100 unpaid placements, including 71 through the mayor of London’s unpaid work scheme, which is funded by the European social fund. One person was offered full-time employment and 15 an apprenticeship.

crisis-loans-big-18430-0The council said most of these placements were in library services, where 35 paid jobs were lost after services were merged with neighbouring Bromley in 2012.

Of the reported 1,929 placements, only one in 14 led to jobs according to Boycott Workfare, though this figure did not include apprenticeship placements.

Northumberland county council said it had put 44 people into unpaid work in its council services during the past two years.

LivingWage_CMYK“These work placements are intended to be positive experiences, not punitive and must be of community value and not replace anyone’s job,” the council said.

Boycott Workfare said half of council placements were part of the voluntary work experience scheme. But nearly 300 placements were on MWA, where the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) can compel people to work without pay for a month or have their benefit cut for up to three years.

A further 300 people were sent to work for councils through the Work Programme, with placements lasting up to 26 weeks.

Since February 2012 the DWP has resisted a series of rulings from the information commissioner that it should make public the locations of people sent on government employment schemes, saying the data was commercially sensitive and a public outcry could damage the schemes’ operation. A high court hearing on the matter is expected to take place in the spring.

Boycott Workfare said it was “disturbing to find so many councils putting local people at risk of destitution by using schemes that threaten people with up to three years’ benefit stoppages.

“Workfare doesn’t help people find work and councils aren’t offering people jobs at the end of their placement. Instead local authorities are clearly using workfare in an attempt to plug the gaps left by government cuts to public services.”

photo12The group said a six-month employment scheme due to start this year would extend this trend of unpaid work in councils and charities.

“Unless it is stopped, it will mean both more devastating welfare sanctions and fewer paid jobs for everyone,” it said.

A spokesperson for Bexley council denied it was exploiting residents. “The placements were not used to substitute for paid members of staff. There is absolutely no connection between the reduction in posts within the library service,” the council said.

It said the 35 lost jobs were within the “shared back-office service that Bexley operates with Bromley council” and not within “the frontline library service” where the placements took place.

385294_195107567306966_1850351962_nThe DWP said: “Most of these placements are undertaken voluntarily and work experience is successful in helping people off benefits and into work.

“Mandatory placements give jobseekers in need of more help the vital workplace skills and experience – especially if they’ve never worked before – to find work,” the department said.

“Claimants are expected to complete placements which are of benefit to the community, including helping charities. It is only right that people claiming jobseeker’s allowance take part in programmes to improve their skills.”

Claimants in six pilot areas will be warned they could face a fine of up to £2,000 for not disclosing they have found a job or moved in with a partner.

The six-week campaign will use adverts, posters, social media and letters.

Welfare reform minister Lord Freud said the aim was to stop fraud and overpayment “before they even happen”.

He said: “It is only a small minority who commit fraud.

“We are keen to make sure that claimants know that even small overpayments can really add up over time, so they must get in contact with us and let us know about changes in circumstances straightaway.”

At £1.6bn, overpayments of benefits because of an error by claimants was higher last year than the £1.2bn cost of deliberate benefit fraud.

As part of the advertising campaign, posters will be put up asking: “Claiming benefits? Got a new job? Make sure you tell us. We’re checking benefit claims.”

The letters to claimants will also highlight the importance of notifying the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) of a change in circumstances – and highlight the risk of a fine or criminal prosecution.

The pilot locations in England are Southwark and Hounslow in London, Blackburn, Blackpool and Epping Forest. The pilot is also going to run in Cardiff.

Sources at the DWP describe the new campaign – which also includes posters encouraging people to report suspected benefit fraud – as a “softer” approach.

The results of the pilot scheme, and the different methods used to promote the need to notify changes in circumstances, will help decide on the form of a national anti-fraud campaign.

Labour said the government must “get a grip of rising levels of fraud and error on their watch”.

“Families facing a cost-of-living crisis will be astonished that levels of benefit fraud and error are going up under Iain Duncan Smith, with £700m overpaid a year due to official error,” said shadow work and pensions spokesman Chris Bryant.

Even a year ago the phrase “working poor” was not widely used. There have always been historically low-paid workers, both employed and self-employed, such as hospital porters, cleaners, sales reps and unskilled factory workers.

While “luxuries” such as home ownership or an annual foreign holiday may have been out of reach for people like this, in was also true that being in work used to pay more than being unemployed.

Work meant bills were paid and there was enough money for the odd meal out, a night in the pub, a basic week’s holiday for the family, household items could be replaced when broken or new items needed and perhaps a few pounds a week could be squirrelled away in a Christmas savings club.

These were the kind of people lauded by John Major and the Tories back in the early 1990s as people doing their best to get by.

Then we were “low-paid workers.” Now we are the army that is rising relentlessly under this coalition – the working poor.

What does it mean to be working poor? Different people will have different views.

For some it will mean that after paying bills there is virtually nothing left over each month any more.

Others will inform you that being working poor means you can no longer afford treats for the children – they can’t have clothes like their classmates or extra-curricular activities like cinema visits.

At the bottom of the scale, some working poor will tell you of their visits to food banks because after they’ve paid their bills there is no money left for food.

This is exacerbated if you have children but do not meet the criteria to receive free school meals.

Being working poor can make people feel resentful of the unemployed. Despite being a socialist, I sometimes feel like this. But I know it is the government tricking me. It’s the old maxim of setting us against each other in our struggles.

Who is more worthy of help? Poor v working poor, old v young, sick v disabled, British-born v immigrant?

We have had this policy of divide and rule rammed down our throats for nearly four years of the coalition.

I admit that when I am frantically trying to pay the rent, utility and transport bills, feed the family and pay for school lunches I have envied the unemployed who have had their rent paid and free school lunches.

But then I immediately think of the bedroom tax on the shoulders of council tenants and the desperation of those who are forced to visit food banks and my politics of envy disintegrates.

We are all equally worthy of government support in austere times. I want to make sure that message is heard loud and clear.

The outlook for 2014 is fearful. People on low pay are already struggling to pay the bills – how long until they cannot cover them at all? Like a gerbil going faster and faster, round and round on its toy wheel, so we, the working poor, are trying harder just to stand still.

The language being spewed from Department of Work and Pensions is that of more sanctions, more hardship, more rules – first for the unemployed and then it will be the turn of the working poor.

While Major and a few back-bench Tories have urged David Cameron to be more humane, Iain Duncan Smith and the DWP seem set on demonising the low-paid.

Under universal credit the mantra seems to be “if you are low paid, you must get a better job or take on a second job.”

If you are self-employed but earn under £11k a year you will be given a few months to increase your earnings.

If you do not, you will be stripped of self-employment, switched to jobseeker’s allowance and forced to seek employment.

Working is not enough. You must gain employment that lifts you entirely out of the tax credit system and thus out of being working poor.

This is the fairyland Duncan Smith exists in. The idea that there are jobs available for all low-paid workers to take them out of being low paid is farcical to anyone who has a brain. Only IDS believes this mantra.

So what can the working poor look forward to in 2014? Relatively little.

Once the DWP under the stewardship of IDS has made the lives of the unemployed unbearable and food bank use the norm for anyone on benefit, it will be our turn next.

The message will be that we should be doing more work for more money.

Ed Miliband has stated that if Labour gains power in 2015 he will set up a board to look in detail at how universal credit is implemented.

We can only hope that demonising the working poor is not on the agenda and that Duncan Smith’s draconian measures will be scrapped.

The low-paid should either continue to be supported in the form of tax credits or, better still, Miliband should bring in a living wage for workers.

This army of working poor is getting bigger daily and is feeling more ostracised than ever before.

I know of Tory-voting low-paid workers who really believed the mantra of “hard-working people doing the right thing.” They believed they were in that club of “strivers.” Now they feel desperate, unable to pay their bills and feed their families. Some have to care for sick or disabled family members on top of their work too.

Thankfully many of them have seen the light and won’t be voting Tory in 2015. But they need to know there is a Labour Party which will protect them.

Let’s have some firm policies on poverty.

I will be telling the Labour Party what I expect from it to gain my vote. My decision will be based on what will they do for the long term unemployment, cost of living standards, economy and housing. My vote is very precious and I WONT be voting for the Conservatives or Libdems. I hope the rest of the working poor army will do the same by voting Labour in all the elections in 2014 for European and Local elections and then in 2015 for local and general elections.

3 responses to “Coalition government stop must scapegoating unemployed people

  1. Pingback: G4S fraud corporation gets British taxpayers’ money again | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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