Is This Chris Grayling’s Biggest Lie Yet?

Employment Minister Chris Grayling told a string of breathtaking lies last Monday when he appeared before the Work and Pensions Committee.  The Committee asked a number of questions about the Atos shambles, Work Experience and other current DWP schemes.  Looking increasingly shifty-eyed the Minister bluffed and blustered his way through right up until almost the last question,when he was asked:

“Chair:  Can I ask about another possible area for confusion, at least for me? Say you are in the Work Programme and are in one of the black boxes; is it possible that some of those black boxes contain mandatory work experience and that is where some of the media confusion is coming from?”

The black box is DWP jargon which means that Work Programme providers such as A4e are able to mandate claimants to almost any activity if they think it will help them find work.  This can include workfare.

Grayling’s response was astonishing:

“Chris Grayling:  There is no evidence to suggest that has happened, and indeed all of our Work Programme providers said to us, “What would be the point of forcing somebody to go and work for one of our commercial partners, because if we did we would lose the opportunity to send other people in the future?” What we have done since the Work Experience row is sat down with our Work Programme providers and agreed with them that they will pursue exactly the same strategy as us nationally for the Work Experience scheme. They have the power to mandate but they will only mandate to community benefit projects. All participation in Work Experience with commercial organisations will be done on a voluntary basis in the Work Programme as well as through Jobcentre Plus. So we have exactly the same rules applied across the board and we are making sure all the guidance is in line with that.”

Note he says no evidence.  Not I haven’t seen any evidence.  Not even I am unaware of any evidence.  The Minister is adamant.  Which seems a little strange when you consider this Freedom of Information response.  The DWP were asked which organisations were involved in providing mandatory work placements under the Work Programme in the South East.  The document reveals that claimants had been mandated to work at Holiday Inn, ASDA and Poundland amongst others.  This document was removed from the DWP’s website during the workfare row and the DWP are now refusing to answer FOI requests relating to the Work Prgramme.

It doesn’t end there.  Up until recently the DWP’s Work Programme Provider Guidance stated:

“Where you are providing support for JSA participants, which is work experience you must mandate participants to this activity. This is to avoid the National Minimum Wage Regulations, which will apply if JSA participants are not mandated.”

When this paragraph was pointed out, after Grayling had lied in the Telegraph that no-one was mandated to work for a big company, it promptly disappeared from the the guidance notes.  Perhaps this is what Grayling meant when he said that guidance had been updated to bring it into line with the new rules that up until last Monday hadn’t even been announced.  It’s far more likely however, that just like the disappearing freedom of information response, this was a bodged attempt to cover up for Grayling’s lies.

The DWP even contradict Grayling’s claims that he sat down with the providers and decided: “They have the power to mandate but they will only mandate to community benefit projects. All participation in Work Experience with commercial organisations will be done on a voluntary basis in the Work Programme as well as through Jobcentre Plus.

A Freedom of Information response received just over a week before the Committee meeting stated explicitly that: “Jobcentre Plus is not routinely informed of participant’s activities, which may include work experience placements, by the Work Programme provider.”  The DWP had been asked specifically how many people had been mandated to workfare  for private companies.  If Grayling had been telling the truth they would surely have said no-one.  Even if Grayling had only been fibbing a bit, they would have said that no-one will be anymore.  But they said they didn’t know.

So Chris Grayling lied to the Committee when he said there was no evidence of people mandated to workfare on Work Programme.  He lied when he said that all work experience for private companies would be voluntary, when in fact until recently the guidance said it must be mandated, and he quite possibly lied again about his cosy little chat with Work Programme providers.

Furthermore, documents have been altered, or removed from the public view, in an attempt to cover up these lies.  Lying to  Select Committee can be punished by a fine or imprisonment, although this power has not been used since the 19th Century.  It still remains a serious charge however, and Grayling should, at the very least, be forced to resign.

It is now impossible to know whether people are mandated to private companies under the Work programme.  The DWP said they were, now they say they don’t know.  Chirs Grayling says they weren’t, and still aren’t.  Someone, whether under Grayling’s orders or not, is rewriting and hiding documents to make it appear this is the case.

Not even a Commons Select Committee can get to the truth about what the DWP are really up to.  Secretary of State Iain Duncan Smith, who is ultimately in charge, should also consider his position.  He has been just as economical with the truth.

It remains to be seen what action, if any, will be taken.  It is likely they will do everything they can to sweep this under the carpet as well.  Should that happen, then we now have clear evidence that this Government will lie to the press, to the public and even to Commons Select Committees about their activities and we can no longer trust a single word they say.

If Ministers can lie with impunity to the public and Parliament alike, then we have entered a different league in British politics.  The House of Commons becomes little more than a talking shop whilst the Government carries out their real intentions under a cloak of secrecy.  And that, however you stretch the word, is not democracy.

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26 responses to “Is This Chris Grayling’s Biggest Lie Yet?

  1. imbecile and he’s payed how much?

  2. I have a feeling that Hans Christian Andersen would gasp in awe at Mr Grayling’s imagination.

  3. if he lies to Parly and/or comittees, is that not a crime?

  4. Largely speechless. And yes, you are right, democracy is dying before our eyes…

  5. And have any Workfare companies paid £250,000 for dinner?

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  7. Arbeitsscheu_UK

    So if you were a #workfare prime or sub contractor would you place any trust in them, or believe a single word Grayling or the DWP say? This is a double edged sword; it cuts both ways

  8. Grayling is a pathological liar,but Dindins Cameron and psychotic IDS are not too far behind.

  9. If this passes without reprimand – we have no hope of his resignation – then no obligation to tell the truth to Parliament remains.

    Lying with impunity thus becomes the accepted norm for our elected representatives.

    Lying, in public and on the record, in front of their equals – lying to unimportant little people and the Great Unwashed is no matter of concern to an MP – but lying to their peers… Real people, people who matter, surely there is some sense of affront?

    Perhaps not.

    I will mention, in parting, that an MP is considered to be under Oath in speaking to the House and in the recorded proceedings of a Parliamentary Committee. To lie in contradiction of an oath is to be perjured.

    Have you ever wondered what an oath actually is, and why perjury actually matters?

    Perjury is more than a criminal offence, a failure to follow rules set down in law: it is a moral failing and, perhaps, the deepest moral failing of all. Perjury is an assertion by an individual, made in public, that nothing binds them by force of conscience: there is nothing holy, nothing to be ‘sworn’ upon, no principle that cannot be disregarded, no moral line to cross, no ‘ truth’ save that which be said to suit their purposes, and nothing within or without that the perjurer regards as a higher aspiration than his or her personal gain.

    Do not engage in conversation with such people: what might a perjurer report to others, for gain or for malice, in ‘repeating’ what you may or may not have said?

    Do not enter into compacts and contracts with such people: a perjurer has no given word, no signature and no assurance of good faith – if he is not bound by solemn word and given oath, mere ink is nothing to him. A ‘contract’ is, at best, a set of written conditions that he will subvert while following the terms ‘to the letter’; and, at worst, something that he will repudiate and disregard as soon as he has gained your property and can profitably walk away.

    Do not shake hands with such people: a perjurer gives no assurance that he is unarmed in offering his right hand, for his words and deeds are of the left hand and by definition sinister.

    I look forward to Grayling explaining his words, reconciling them – and himself – to the facts, setting our unworthy doubts to rest, and reassuring us all that he is fully entitled to be called ‘Right Honourable’. It is best that he does so quickly, for his fellow-Parliamentarians will take offence that I, and others, are no longer using the customary honorifics of his office.

    Alternatively, they might feel cheapened and degraded if we use such honours – fully and floridly – to the dishonourable and deceitful, just as we apply such titles unto them. There are insults, and implied insults, and we can use them freely on individuals who do not feel insulted by the accusation that they are liars, directly or by their willing association with such individuals.

  10. “Chris Grayling: I certainly recognise the Flexible New Deal figures. It is on record that the Flexible New Deal cost £770 million and 450,000 people took part in it, of whom 50,000 achieved a six-month job outcome. That is a cost across the whole programme of about £15,000 per six-month job outcome. It is certainly the case that we have sought to do a better deal for the taxpayer than under the Work Programme than Flexible New Deal did.”

    “22 Nov 2010 : (Hansard)
    Chris Grayling: I will publish the full details of the contractual arrangements for the Work programme in a few days’ time, but I can tell the right hon. Gentleman that we will not be paying up front as the flexible new deal did. Last year, the flexible new deal paid providers £500 million for 16,000 starts. That is £30,000 per job start, and in my opinion it was an inefficient use of public money. Even as the programme becomes more mature, the previous service fee arrangements would still mean a huge up-front cost. We will do things differently: we will pay providers when they succeed, and not before they have done so.”

    I find it difficult to reconcile those two views of FND. Of course, had he told the committee the cost of FND was £30,000 per job start, then the low cost of the Work Programme would have left them questioning its viability.

  11. Arbeitsscheu_UK

    “The essential English leadership secret does not depend on particular intelligence. Rather, it depends on a remarkably stupid thick-headedness. The English follow the principle that when one lies, one should lie big, and stick to it. They keep up their lies, even at the risk of looking ridiculous.”
    Joseph Goebbels 1941

    Was Goebbels predicting Graylings use of porkies, or is Grayling a disciple of Goebbles other than the obvious links with his ideology? Which came first the chicken or the egg?

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  22. Is there any doubts still.linger that we live in a democrac y have been truly lut to rest by Goebels Grayling’s fairytales.
    Clearly the country has been handed to.the corporations and the unemployed reduced to mere serfdom to work for the feudalist corporations

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