The Tax Payer’s Alliance (TPA) squirmed their way onto the ever willing BBC today to gain airtime for their harrumphing report demanding workfare for everyone backed by homelessness and child starvation.
The report, written by an Oxbridge clown with no knowledge of the welfare system, demands that everyone who has been on benefits over one year - including the sickness and disability benefit Employment Support Allowance - should be forced into workfare forever or face having housing benefits and child benefits stopped.
Like so many of these benefit bashing diatribes from chinless nobodies trying to make a name in politics, it begins by describing a welfare system that only exists in the writer of the report’s head. So there is no workfare currently, or barely any according to the Tax Payers Alliance, benefit sanctions are hardly used and are too short, and jobs are falling out of the sky for long term unemployed, sick or disabled people.
In truth the Labour Force Survey suggests over 100,000 people are currently on some form of workfare, and around a million benefit sanctions – which can now last up to three years – are expected to be handed out this year. Not wanting to let the truth get in the way of a swivel-eyed rant however, author of the report Chris Philp (pictured) then goes on to suggest how wonderful mass workfare has been when tried overseas and how it should be introduced for all claimants, seemingly at any cost to the tax payers they claim to represent.
In truth the only time workfare has made an impact anywhere has been when the economy is booming. All his evidence shows is that unemployment falls when the economy is strong. When it starts to nose dive, workfare stops working, which is why almost all workfare schemes in other countries have been abandoned. The DWP themselves did an assessment of workfare schemes overseas and even they came to the conclusion they are a waste of fucking time. That didn’t stop them ploughing ahead with workfare in the UK, which far from barely existing as dickhead claims, is actually used on the Work Programme, the Mandatory Work Activity scheme, Sector Based Work Academies and the Work Experience programme. DWP evidence on all these schemes shows they have had no impact on whether anyone eventually finds a job.
The cost of forcing everyone onto mass workfare is glossed over in the report, unexpectedly for an organisation that claims to be about saving the tax payer money. Apart from a few figures they pulled from their arses, there is no mention of how fares, supervision, management and recruitment costs will be met. Greedy welfare-to-work sharks, like Tax Payers Alliance funders Avanta, are currently raking in £400 for every person they send on just a months workfare, around one and a half the cost of that person’s Jobseekers Allowance – which of course would also still have to be paid.
In truth this report is pie in the sky garbage from a bosses organisation who want to increase competition for jobs so they can force down wages and make a few quid for their mates in the welfare-to-work sector on the side. Even if just those on Jobseekers Allowance for over two years were forced onto the scheme, that would represent half a million unpaid workers entering the workforce. The charitable sector has no need of half a million full time volunteers who would cost a fortune to recruit and manage. The TPA’s idea that people should sweep the streets or do ‘community service’ instead is equally clueless, particularly as they pretend that they don’t want workfare to replace real jobs. The cost of these proposals would be astronomical, and just like the current workfare schemes, and Tony Blair’s New Deal before them, sourcing enough work placements for everyone would be impossible.
In fact the Tories originally planned rolling six month periods of workfare for everyone leaving the Work Programme, an idea quietly abandoned after pilot projects were unable to find enough placements.
But even this isn’t enough for the Tax Payer’s Alliance. They want this lunacy extended to everyone on out of work benefits – up to five million people. And anyone who refuses, or is unable to attend workfare, will lose their homes. If they got their way you wouldn’t be able to walk down the street for fucking street cleaners, weaving their way in and out of the sleeping bags of homeless children as a message to everyone else what will become of you if you can’t find a job in Tesco.
So whilst the Tax Payer’s Alliance can be safely ignored as the out of touch buffoons they are, what is of concern is that a bunch of right wing extremists are now being presented as normal people by the BBC and other media. The Tax Payers Alliance are a bunch of libertarian fruitcakes who make UKIP look rational. Many of them are veterans of the Freedom Association, an organisation famous in the 70s and 80s for blacklisting Trade Unionists and supporting the racist apartheid regime in South Africa. These are the types of right wing pricks who used to get expelled from the Tory Party as extremists, even in the Thatcher years. Now they are back, rebranded as an organisation that claims to speak for the tax payer yet with the odious and out of touch extreme right wing agenda never far from the surface.
They may have reigned in the racism, in public at least, but they still represent the grasping rich who want to privatise everything until they own it all. A bunch of Apprentice wannabes and not nice but dim toffs, they are a mouthpiece for the bankers and businessmen who dragged the country into this neo-liberal hell. Cameron may be happy to have pricks like this working away in the background for him, but the rest of us should treat them with the derision and contempt they invite and deserve.
The report, which isn’t worth reading, can be found at: http://www.taxpayersalliance.com/workforthedole.pdf
Read the response from Boycott Workfare (which is worth reading) at: http://www.boycottworkfare.org/?p=2947
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