What Lies Behind The Archbishop’s Demand For State Run Foodbanks Is Every Bit As Nasty As Iain Duncan Smith

archbishop-welby

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby. Dressed like a tit as usual.

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby will launch a report in parliament this week which calls on the government to fund the growing network of foodbanks – many of which are coincidentally run by churches. This is his toxic solution to the growing hunger crisis which has emerged after the string of vindictive and bungled welfare reforms implemented by Iain Duncan Smith.

It is shameful that so many people are now dependent on foodbanks just to be able to feed their children, but to enshrine this charity within the social security system would be a disaster.  What poor people need is more money, not more foodbanks.  This is just common  sense.  But you won’t hear calls for an end to vicious cuts to social security from the clowns behind Welby’s report.

One of the authors of the report is Frank Field.  This vile piece of shit was asked to think the unthinkable on welfare reform back in 1997 before being sacked a year later for talking such incomprehensible drivel that even Tony Blair called his ideas “unfathomable”.  Sadly this did not shut him up and he has been  whinging from the sidelines ever since.

Shortly after the current government weren’t elected Field accepted a job with them as a Poverty Tsar, whatever the fuck that means.  He also sits on the advisory board of the right-wing Centre for Social Justice who first proposed many of the coalition’s welfare reforms.  In 2009 he said that the most important task for the dying Labour administration was “to build up a system of workfare” and called for stricter benefit sanctions.  In 2011 he was still at it and demanded more sanctions on the Tory Work Programme to tackle “recidivist, workless claimants” who he claims are “barely able to read or write”.

Now the bastard has got what he wanted – with approaching one million benefit claims sanctioned in the last year – he wants to further undermine social security by entrenching emergency food supplies within the system.  Field has gone on, and fucking on, for years about ending what he calls means tested welfare.  This means benefit payments given to people because they have no money.  Instead he has devised an elaborate semi-privatised insurance based model that no-one but him seems to understand.  You can see why he is so pally with fellow messianic crank Iain Duncan Smith.

Field’s plans would mean an end to social security for vast swathes of the population who are unable to find work.  He knows that to achieve this then something needs to be done to stop bodies piling up in the street.  His vision no doubt is queues of the undeserving poor lining up at state run foodbanks to be handed out of date food thrown out by supermarkets.  This will be suitable punishment for their fecklessness.

And he has found a useful fucking idiot in the Church of England to do his dirty work for him.  A man whose incisive understanding of poverty was no doubt first gained in the torrid dormitories of Eton where he was educated.  An Archbishop who has presided over a redundant church which has had nothing meaningful to say about the breath-taking greed of the rampant rich which is defining the modern era.

The sad truth is, that with some notable exceptions, the response from prominent Christians to Iain Duncan Smith’s relentless war on the poor has often been contemptible.  When disabled campaigners gathered in the grounds of Westminster Abbey in outrage at the abolition of the Independent Living Fund, the reaction from the Dean of Westminster was to stand back whilst police violently assaulted, kettled and abused the protesters.  The Salvation Army have been praised by the DWP for holding the ‘line on workfare’ when other more decent charities have pulled out in horror at the suffering caused by the sanctions which underpin the regime.  Archbishop of York John Sentamu pretends to oppose workfare, but is still president of the YMCA, another government funded defender of forced work and benefit sanctions.  Whilst those on the lowest incomes have seen their lives destroyed by this Goverment, the response from many of Jesus’ most important little helpers has been hypocrisy, cowardice and even naked profiteering.

It comes as no surprise that it should be the Mail of Sunday who have given space to Archbishop Welby to air his views.  They must be pissing themselves.  This is how the welfare state is lost.  By the liberal arm of the establishment hijacking the argument away from us and presenting their watered down demands as the compassionate solution.  Yet there is no compassion in the insecurity and desperation of people without enough money to feed themselves and forced to rely on the state for food parcels.

By all means support your local foodbank this Christmas.  Kids can’t be left to go hungry because of a point of principle or long term political aim.  We are not bastards like them.  But state funded foodbanks as part of the social security system are a line that must not be crossed.  Don’t buy into this fake fucking concern from zealots like Frank Field who helped to create the current sitaution.  And let’s leave Welby to slink away back to doing what he does best.  Like lying to small children that they will be tortured for eternity if they don’t pretend to love a non-existent man in the sky.

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Is Boris Johnson’s Workfare Scheme The Biggest Benefit Shambles So Far?

sanction-sabs‘It was a bit strange, I had to go to a job interview the next day so they said either you cancel it, or you will be sanctioned.’
(Claimant, non-start, North London)

The DWP have repeatedly claimed that benefit sanctions are a last resort aimed at those who fail to stick to the ever more draconian rules.  Yet a damning evaluation of a workfare scheme aimed at young people in London reveals that those who had their benefit claims stopped or sanctioned for refusing to take part were more likely to find jobs than those who completed the programme.

The laboriously named Day One Support for Young People (DOSfYP) Trailblazer was cooked up by then Employment Minister Chris Grayling and London Mayor Boris Johnson as revenge for the 2011 riots.  This nasty attempt at collective punishment means that young people in many London boroughs can be sent on workfare for 13 weeks from their first day of claiming unemployment benefits.

A recently published evaluation of the Traiblazer reveals that the scheme has been an utter shambles from start to finish.  Almost half of young people sent on the programme signed off or faced sanctions rather then undertaking unpaid work with many claiming they would rather spend their time looking for a job instead.

They seem to have made the right decision.  Only around a quarter of young people who completed the scheme had found jobs by the time the evaluation was carried out compared to half of those who refused workfare.

The Trailblazer was supposed to be aimed at those aged between 18 and 25 who had little or no work experience.  The evaluation found however that 25% of people referred to the scheme reported over six months prior work history.  Some of these young people were scathing about the so-called help being inflicted on them:

“‘It didn’t help me [the placement] it didn’t give me any more experience than I already had and it just used up my time during the week when I could have been looking for work that I actually wanted to do.’
(Claimant, completer, South London)

The programme was run by the upcoming Atos replacement Maximus in north London and the Careers Development Group (CDG) in the south of the city.  These companies were supposed to provide ten hours a week ‘provider led jobsearch’ but the report finds they barely bothered.  Just over half of young people questioned said they didn’t receive any of these kind of job search sessions at all.

In encouraging news for those opposed to workfare schemes, the private sector providers reported that placements were hard to source with charities concerned about “press coverage and public perception” should they become involved with forced work. As usual the majority of placements were in charity shops.  The rushed nature of the referral process meant young people were expected to attend an interview with the provider the day after their intitial claim and start workfare the day after that.  This led to chaos with some young people turning up to their workfare placement only to be mistaken for customers with no-one knowing who they were.

Jobcentre staff also criticised the scheme, saying they were not given adequate time to explain the details of the placements in a short meeting in which they also had to process a benefit claim.  According to some of the participants they were misled by Jobcentres who implied they were being sent on a training course rather than full time workfare.  Some claimants reported being threatened with benefit sanctions due to being unable to attend an appointment the next day because they had a job interview.  Other claimants who did attend their next day appointments with the private sector providers were sent away because paperwork had not arrived.

The evaluation reveals that the vast majority of young people sent on the scheme were living in the family home which may have lessened the impact of benefits being stopped.  The report notes however that those living independently “would complete the Trailblazer regardless of whether they believed it was worthwhile and were consequently unengaged throughout the placement.”

A third of those who refused to attend forced work were sanctioned, whilst others just abandoned their benefits claim completely.  56% of those who did start dropped out before their time on the placement was completed.  Almost a third of them were sanctioned as well.  Despite this those who left early were significantly more likely to be in work at the time the evaluation was carried out – around five to seven months after the placements ended.

It is clear from this report that the young people who rejected this scheme were not workshy.  Instead they simply had a better idea of how to find work than the bungling fucking idiots in charge of the DWP.  They were even prepared to give up their benefits rather than face being ‘helped’ by the Jobcentre.  If young people’s future were not being casually destroyed by schemes like these it would be laughable. But there is nothing funny about this appalling treatment of those entering the jobs market for the first time.

You can read the report at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/378308/rr888-day-one-support-for-young-people-trailblzer.pdf

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Don’t Give Money To Beggars At Christmas Say Bastards Who Run Homelessness Charities

Nasty posters like these have become a regular feature in some cities in over the Christmas period.

Nasty posters like these have become a regular feature in some cities in over the Christmas period.

Homelessness charities in two cities have decided to spread some Christmas love by urging people not to give money to homeless beggars in the cold Winter months.

A campaign spearheaded by Liverpool Council, with the backing of some local charities and the police, warns that “Your Kindness Could Kill” because many homeless people spend all their money on drugs or alcohol.  Elsewhere in Bath the message is more explicit, warning that the city has a reputation for being “easy to beg in” which could harm the town “socially and economically”.

These nasty campaigns began in 2003 when several London charities including Thamesreach and St Mungos teamed up with Tory Westminster Council to produce posters warning that beggars spend all their money drugs.  The message from the charities was clear, give the money to us instead.  Those whopping charity Chief Executive salaries won’t pay themselves.

There was a time when homelessness charities fought against this kind of lazy stereo-typing of homeless people who often face verbal and even physical abuse on the streets.  They might even have argued that addiction is an illness and not one that will be cured by making life even harder for those affected.  These days however they are squarely behind the ludicrous notion that the very worst thing you can do for someone in poverty is give them what they need – which is some money.

No-one’s life is going to be saved by a hot mug of soup or a quid from a passer by.  But it might just mean that person has a mildly less shit day because of the kindness of strangers.  And that applies whatever they spend the money on, which is as likely to be hostel service charges as drugs or alcohol.  Benefit sanctions and brutal social security cuts mean that more people than ever are likely to be begging for food or to put the heating on this Christmas.  They are just collateral damage however in this moral campaign to hide homelessness away and stop shoppers being bothered.

If these campaigns are successful and less money is given to beggars over the Christmas period then all that will mean is that those who were begging for food will go hungry and people with substance dependencies will have to beg for longer.  Or turn to other far more dangerous ways of making money, such as sex work or crime.  Nobody is going to suddenly come off heroin because of a few bad days begging.  Addiction doesn’t work that way, as these charities are well aware.

The sad truth is that Killing With Kindness campaigns have little to do with getting people off the streets and more to do with fundraising over the lucrative festive period.  Homelessness organisations, in particular the Big Issue who back the Bath campaign, are in direct competition for funds with people begging on the street.  They know that some people don’t trust charities and would rather give direct help.  They are using these campaigns to try and guilt trip the public into changing their behaviour in the nastiest way possible by pretending that if you give some money to a beggar it will kill them.

It’s never even occurred to the Ned Flanders wannabes running homeless charities that some people don’t care if beggars spend their money on drink or drugs.  Few people are heartless enough to begrudge a homeless person a drink at Christmas, even if they are a fucking alcoholic.  It’s not like those in charge of these charities are planning on opening up emergency detox centres on Christmas Eve. They’ll be too busy getting pissed along with everyone else.

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Snouts In The Trough: Tell The Vile Welfare-To-Work Sector What You Think At #ERSA14

snoutsToday is the annual conference of the Employment Related Services Association (ERSA), the trade body established to lie on behalf of the vile welfare-to-work sector.  They will be tweeting on the hastag #ERSA14 so join in and let them know what you think of their shoddy workfare schemes and brutal benefit sanctions.

Delegates are meeting at a luxury London hotel with tickets for the event costing up toa whopping $450 and a slap up meal promised this evening.  Companies like A4e and G4S will be joined by Employment Minister Esther McVey and her Labour counterpart Stephen Timms to discuss how to fleece even more money from the tax payer by pretending that unemployment is caused by unemployed people.

Boycott Workfare have called an online action to hold these parasites to account for their role in the UK’s biggest and nastiest benefit fraud.  Hundreds of millions of pounds  are handed over to this industry every year to harass and bully unemployed and disabled people by forcing them to attend workfare and bogus training schemes.  Claimants are more likely to face benefit sanctions on these programmes than they are likely to find a job.  Sometime those sanctions have tragic results, with a growing number of suicides linked to the current regime.

ERSA will be tweeting themselves from @ersa_news and you can find more contact details on Boycott Workfare’s website.  Please spread the word.  Children will go hungry and people will lose their homes because of these bastards this Christmas.  Let’s crash their back-slapping conference paid for with our money and make sure the public knows exactly what these companies are up to.

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It’s Time To Take Our Cities Back From Property Developing Parasites Like Westbrook’s Mark Donnor

new-eraMark Donner probably barely batted an eyelid as he casually threatened 93 families on the New Era Estate in Hackney with eviction in the run up to Christmas.

It’s unlikely that Donner, who it was revealed this week lives in a £4 million pound mansion, has ever had to worry about paying the rent.  He has led a life dripping with privilege from his days at the exclusive private Leys School in Cambridge right up until his current role as Managing Principal of the shadowy property investment firm Westbrook Partners.  At the weekend Donnor spends his life racing classic sports cars, a world away from his tenants who are currently facing the stark terror of upcoming homelessness.

When Donnor’s company bought the New Era Estate they immediately hiked rents on the properties which had remained affordable housing for decades.  Then they announced they planned to almost quadruple rents in some cases, a move which they knew all too well would make almost all of the current tenants homeless.  But Mark Donnor didn’t care about.  Despite his vast wealth he wants more money.  Our money.

Because people like Donnor don’t create anything of value.  His company couldn’t even be bothered to maintain many of the properties that they rented out in New York.  Every penny they get comes from us, the people who actually live in the cities they are happily ransacking in the name of greed.  They are nothing more than leeches, sucking the money and the life out of communities to maintain their own gilded existence.  According to The Guardian, one of Westbrook’s first moves after buying the New Era properties was to transfer ownership of the estate offshore.  This means they can dodge the corporation tax they might have had to pay on the vast profits they hope to make.  These parasites do not even want to make a contribution to the society that has allowed them to live such a pampered lifestyle at the expense of everyone else. Ebenezer Scrooge would fucking blush at the antics of these sharks.

The latest news is that Westbrook have said they will not evict the tenants before the end of the year, as if this means they no longer have the morals of sewer rats.  They were presumably just fucking with the New Era families when this possibility was raised little over a week ago.  What a jolly jape it must be to be a property investor in London.

An increasing number of people are saying to Westbrook you will not evict these tenants at all.  Dozens of people have pledged to peacefully but physically resist any eviction attempt by the company and more are signing up every day.   You can join the growing list at: http://ipledgetodefendneweraestate.wordpress.com/2014/11/21/we-the-undersigned-pledge-to-defend-new-era-estate-and-its-tenants-from-evictions-using-non-violent-resistance/

The New Era tenants are also holding a protest march on Monday 1st December which will gather outside Westbrook’s plush Mayfair offices and march to Downing Street to hand in a petition signed by over 250,000 people.  Meet at Berkeley Square, W1 at 12.30pm to join them, and please help spread the word by sharing the facebook event.

Class War have also announced a protest outside Westbrook Partners on the 13th December at noon.  The re-energised working class action group have recently had a major success and forced the new owners of the notorious ‘poor doors’ building in East London to the negotiating table.  Whilst that battle is not yet over, it shows what can be achieved by getting out on the streets and in their faces.

The people like Donnor trying to steal our cities are nasty pieces of work.  They will not give in without a fight.  But all they care about is money.  They will already be adding up the costs of these protests and any potential resistence to their planned evictions.  Let’s make sure it costs them dearly, not just for the New Era families, but to send a message to every other vulture out there that we are taking our city back and will not give up our homes without the fight of our lives.

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Jobcentre Busy-Bodies To Outrank Healthcare Professionals In Treatment For Addictions

Iain_Duncan_Smith_pissedJobcentre busy-bodies could soon have the power to force people in treatment for drug or alcohol problems to take up full time ‘work related activity’ if they are unable to beat their addictions quickly enough.

The DWP has published guidance on the support (stop laughing) that will be offered to people claiming Universal Credit who have a dependency on drugs or alcohol.  Claimants will be given six months to undergo what the Jobcentre calls ‘structured treatment’ during which period they may not be required to look or prepare for work.  After this has elapsed however it will be a very diferent story.

The guidance warns that any further treatment will only be taken into account in a Claimant Comitment if Jobcentre advisors agree this if the best way for a claimant to achieve their ‘employment goals’.  This truly chilling move means that the newly named ‘work coaches’ will be able to demand someone attends workfare raher than continue with treatment for their condition.  Jobcentre staff have no adequate training to make these decisions but they will now have more power over patients than the medical professionals treating them.  It is not hard to imagine some jumped up sanction happy Jobcenre twat deciding someone who has relapsed needs a short sharp shock of forced work which they will possibly fail to attend and end up being sanctioned for.

Of course the Jobcentre cannot actually stop anyone attending treatment.  But if a counselling or support sessions happens to clash with what they’ve decided you should do that day then you may face benefits being stopped for choosing getting better over ‘work related activity’.

The good news is that Iain Duncan Smith’s plan to force people into treatment seems to have been quietly abandoned, at least officially.  The document states that: “You will not be forced by your work coach into receiving treatment.”

It does not say what will happen if you refuse treatment.  It all sounds a bit like so-called voluntary unpaid work schemes.  There is a danger that if someone doesn’t agree to go into treatment then they may end up being sent on workfare instead.

Whilst some people with dependencies can lead functional lives the stark fact is that the most chaotic drug and alcohol users are not fit for work.  And they won’t get fit for work within six months.  Some people have to wait that long to get into rehab.  Whilst the pampered rich may be able to check into a plush private clinic and then go back to their warm homes and affluent lifestyles, the poorest face long waiting lists, shit housing, and now, the likelihood of benefit sanctions.

If there were any grown ups at the DWP then they would understand that addiction is a serious and complex health problem which cannot always simply be fixed in six months.  An adequate social security system needs to accept this and not drive people into the ground if they are unable to work.  Employers are hardly rushing out to hire people with current drug and alcohol problems anyway.  There are two million people without these problems desperately looking for work after all.

But a realistic approach to how society handles addiction would not get Iain Duncan Smith any pats on the head from the Daily Mail.  So instead the Government is adopting policies based on lazy tabloid stereotypes which will do more harm than good.  And cost more money in the long run.  It’s enough to drive you to fucking drink.

You can read the guidance at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/universal-credit-support-if-you-are-dependent-on-drugs-or-alcohol

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Whilst The Rich Get Richer The Poor Freeze: No More Deaths From Fuel Poverty

nomoredeathsfromfuelpoverty-980x778

Every Winter, in one of the richest countries in the world, people die because they can’t afford to put the heating on.  Yet still fuel prices soar with the poorest expected to pay the most through thieving pre-payment meters.

Every last penny made in profit by the big energy companies is paid in blood.  They know if they put prices up then people will die –  often older people or those with serious health conditions.  They put prices up anyway.  As Fuel Poverty Action say on their website:

“In 2012/2013 10,000 people died from fuel poverty, including thousands of people in London, and we are likely to learn that thousands more died last winter. At the same time the Big Six energy companies made £3.7bn in profit – this is equal to £370,000 profit for every person who died.

Much of that profit comes from pensioners, people living on meagre benefits or those earning paltry wages.  After landlords have had their slice of the UK’s social security budget, much of the rest ends up in the pockets of energy companies.  Yet it is benefit claimants themselves who are called scroungers, not the vultures rinsng them from all sides. with soaring rent, bills and food prices.  Staying alive in the UK – not being happy – just being alive, is becoming a daily struggle for those on the lowest incomes.  The fat cat rich scoff at this, or pretend it isn’t happening.  But nobody can deny the mounting body count.  This wonderful fucking free market we are all supposed to worship is killing people.  We have to stop that, because they won’t.  They are getting richer and don’t care.

A day of action against fuel poverty is taking place this Friday 28th November.
Meet at 11.30am outside the Institute of Directors, 116 Pall Mall before marching to Energy UK Regents Street (facebook page).  A Pensioner’s Block is meeting at 11am at the main entrance of Charing Cross station, join the facebook event here.

Please help spread the word, more info at: http://www.fuelpovertyaction.org.uk/uncategorized/join-the-day-of-action-against-winter-deaths-on-28th-november/

Follow @FuelPovAction on twitter for latest updates.

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