Emma Harrison, chair of poverty pimps A4e received a banker busting £9 million dividend this year on the back of her company’s shoddy back to work schemes.
A4e provide workfare and job search schemes for the Government which are notorious for being badly resourced and delivering poor results. It’s hardly surprisingly when rogue trader Harrison is trousering most of the cash. Inmates at A4e schemes have complained of lack of even basic IT facilities to enable them to look for work online, poor quality or non-existent training and people forced to sit around in A4e’s offices for 30 hours a week on mandatory workfare schemes because A4e can’t find them anything to do. It now appears that every penny saved siphoning off cash intended to help people into work is going straight into the upkeep of Emma’s Derbyshire mansion.
On the recent Pathways to Work scheme A4e only succeeded in placing a derisory 9% of people into work – a percentage that well may have got jobs anyway, and perhaps sooner, had they not been subject to A4e’s interference.
This hasn’t stopped A4e being given five of the major contracts to carry out the much vaunted work programme schemes, sending unemployed people to work in supermarkets for no pay. It’s not just Harrison enjoying a benefits bonanza, the likes of Tesco and ASDA are now discovering they can get workers for free, at the tax payers expense.
The tories claim that the new payments by results model will ensure that companies like A4e will only get big pay outs if they succeed in finding people long term work. This is bogus. It is in A4e’s interest to deliver the cheapest possible service at the highest possible price. That’s how business works. Why bother sending someone on a literacy course when you can give a highly skilled and newly unemployed person a bit of shonky advice on their CV then claim a big cash pay out if they find work. As they do now A4e will claim credit for someone’s success in finding work despite her company whilst ignoring those who are hardest to help. It’s good business.
(Anyone on A4e’s schemes who finds work should remember this. You don’t need to tell the Jobcentre or A4e the name of your employer when you sign off. You can just fuck off, leaving A4e scrambling around trying to find out where you’re working so they can claim a fat pay-cheque. Chances are they won’t track you down.)
Should A4e fail to find enough people long term jobs then contracts can always be renegotiated, especially as these were agreed before unemployment started to rocket. Iain Duncan Smith has been so vocal about his obsession with forcing unemployed and sick people into unpaid work that Harrison and the other providers have him over a barrel. And should the whole thing come crashing down, as it very likely will, well then there’ll be another scheme and no doubt A4e will be awarded to run that as well. Past failure is no barrier to future success when it comes to winning workfare contracts.
Emma’s dividend dwarfs the million pound bonus finally turned down by RBS loan shark Stephen Hester. Almost every penny of her company’s profit has come from providing Government contracts to harass sick and unemployed people. Contracts they have regularly dismally underperformed at. This is money that could be spent on schools and hospitals at a time of desperate need. Instead it will go to providing Harrison a life of unimagined luxury at our expense. It is people like Harrison who are ripping off the benefits system, to the tune of millions, whilst disabled people or single parents are pilloried in the press. You couldn’t make it up.
Above pic from: http://a4ephotogallery.blogspot.com/