How The Policy Exchange Manufactured Public Support For Workfare

Osborne-mrbeanGeorge Osborne is pulling rank on Iain Duncan Smith and is expected to announce yet another pie in the sky mass workfare scheme this morning.  Whilst at the time of writing the current plans for forced labour are not fully clear, it is likely they will be based on two recent reports from hard right think tanks promoting unpaid work.

The first came from the Tax Payer’s Alliance (TPA) and was the kind of swivel-eyed nonsense that might be expected from a bunch of Jeremy Clarkson wannabes with too much time on their hands.  The second, from the Policy Exchange, was more nuanced, even going so far as to attack the TPA’s  workfare plans as prohibitively expensive – an embarrassing assessment of a report written by a group who pretend their main focus is on saving the tax payer money.

The arguments for the Policy Exchange’s plan – which is six months workfare for some, but not all claimants – are easily demolished, mostly by the fact that this was recently tried and failed dismally.  It is the survey on which the Policy Exchange’s report is based however that grabbed the headlines and is likely to be used justify Osborne’s plans.

“Everyone should be made to work for their benefits except mothers with young children” thundered the blurb for the report on the Policy Exchange website.  Only 22% of people say disabled people should be exempt the think-tank proclaimed.

In a truly astonishing performance, the Policy Exchange then proceeded to distance themselves from the braying mob and attempted to portray themselves as the reasonable ones.  “Did you see our public polling on this, frightening” said Policy Exchange Head of Economics Matthew Oakley on twitter, his fake liberal facade dripping with concern at the savagery of the general public.  The Policy Exchange themselves do not support workfare for sick and disabled people they re-assured us, despite the fact that sick and disabled people can already be forced to work without pay on the Work Programme they love so much.

Instead the Policy Exchange only propose six months unpaid work for some groups of mainstream unemployed claimants.  Aren’t they just Santa’s fucking little helpers.

Yet the general public’s opinions on workfare have been grossly distorted by the nature of the questions asked in this survey – of which there were only two according to Oakley who has promised to publish the full details of the poll later this week.

The first question asked whether people thought “The government should require people who are unemployed for 12 months or more to do community work in return for their state benefits.”

The truth is that only just over half agreed at 56%.  But the public were not asked if this workfare should be full time.  In fact it does not even specify that the work should be unpaid – previous workfare schemes have come with a top up payment to benefits attached.  Whilst those engrossed in welfare policy might assume workfare to mean 30 hours a week, every week, without pay, there’s no reason a survey respondent would think that.  They might think yes, they should volunteer in an old people’s home for an afternoon a week, or do a couple of days a month helping out in the local park, for reasonable expenses.  This 56% in no way gives a mandate for full time unpaid workfare, especially as the other options given to respondents were a version of Labour’s phony job guarantee scheme or maintaining the status quo, which almost no-one ever wants when it comes to Government policy.

The second question is even more dubious.  The Policy Exchange are attempting to use the answers to this question to claim that only 22% of the public support disabled people being exempt from workfare.  That incidentally is disabled people “who are capable of working” – another devious phrase as who is and isn’t capable of working is clearly open to debate as the Atos scandal has shown.  The obvious inference from this figure is that 78% of the public support workfare for disabled people.  Yet in question 1 only 56% of people support workfare for anyone at all.  There must be something  going on to explain this bizarre discrepancy.

Question 2 asks respondents to imagine that compulsory workfare exists and then questions who should be exempt.  Now a disabled person completing this survey may think well if I have to do workfare then why shouldn’t a lone parent, and vice versa.  That doesn’t mean they support workfare, it means they support equality, of a sort.

There is no option available for those who think that everyone should be exempt from workfare, although it is possible to answer that every group of claimants should undertake unpaid work.  And so in yet another dirty trick, the Policy Exchange are pretending that just because someone ticks a box saying single mothers with children should be exempt from compulsory workfare in this imaginary world, that means they support it for everyone else in the real world.  But that isn’t what they were asked.

Had the Policy Exchange been honest then they would have only asked those 56% of people who agreed with workfare who they felt should be exempt from unpaid work.  But that would not have given the results they wanted or justified the accompanying staged shock horror at the results of the survey.

It is even possible that the entire poll is bogus, although this is almost certainly down to sheer incompetence rather than any attempt to further hijack the poll.  One of the options given in Question 1 is:  “The government should maintain the status quo, whereby those who are employed for 12 months or more continue to be paid state benefits while they search for work.”

This is the only option available for those who oppose both Tory and Labour  workfare other than ‘don’t know’ or ‘none of these’.  And due to what appears to be a typo, this option suggests people should be given unemployment benefits even after being in work for 12 months.  Matthew Oakley says he doesn’t know whether this error, which appears in the report, also appears in the poll.  He said he will check with yougov.  And then he went quiet on the subject.  He’s on twitter @PXEconomics if you fancy asking him about it.

The Policy Exchange report is available at:

A statement on Osborne’s workfare plans from Boycott Workfare can be found at:

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

191 responses to “How The Policy Exchange Manufactured Public Support For Workfare

  1. This is slightly off topic but has anyone on here read anything more fucking outrageous –

  2. Pingback: How The Policy Exchange Manufactured Public Sup...

  3. I am afraid that bent use of statistics is endemic. I live in Cornwall and yesterday, on the local version of The Sunday Politics, the BBC itself was bending statistics to breaking point to big up the Bedroom Tax. Basically the reporter said something along the lines of such-and-such a Council, social landlord to 4,000 council tenants, only saw two underoccupying families downsize to smaller properties last year, whereas this year, after the Bedroom Tax had been brought in eighteen families has already downsized freeing up housing for other families AN INCREASE OF 800% over and above last year.

    This is true but using a percentage like this in this way is bent in my opinion since eighteen downsizers out of four thousand tenants actually represents ony 100 x 18/4000 = 0.45%, i.e., less than half of one percent, of the total housing stock which became available because of the Bedroom Tax!

    And this from the BBC itself!

    Very bad and very dishonest journalism of the worst kind.

    • Well, is is said that there are lies, damn lies and statistics… Numbers are useful, but they are facts, and as the late, great historian E.H. Carr quoted, ‘a fact is like a sack; it doesn’t stand up until you put something in it’.

  4. I’m not sure that deliberately hurting benefit claimants will be a vote winner for any of the political parties any more. Everybody I know is more interested in starting to feel better about their own lives and their own future than revelling in some even unluckier poor bastard’s ever worsening misery.

  5. Pingback: Hate on the Dole: George Osborne to Make Unemployed “pick up littter.” | Tendance Coatesy

  6. ” …. difficult at times when you desired change that never came ………… our social welfare system is so much more than just charity because we do not say to the rich people: please give something to the poor – instead we ….
    say people , help yourself! ………..

    George Osborne September 2013?


    Adolf Hitler in undated speech

    what’s the difference between the two?

  7. Another Fine Mess

    Who’s going to fill a gap on their CV with:
    October’13 – March’14 Forced Community Work – (Litter Picking).

    Who’ed employ them now. Just like the Waste Programme, this will be the end of many peoples working career.

  8. Pingback: How The Policy Exchange Manufactured Public Support For Workfare | Launchpad: By and for mental health service users

  9. The incompetence of Matthew Oakley should see him on litter picking duty.
    Did anyone see more blatant lies from the Daily Fail on Tom pride
    Bookmarks Toolbar
    This is not what I copied from Tom Pride but it is what has come up as usual whenever I try to copy articles. I will try again.

  10. Newspaper uses false photo in Kenya shopping mall article. Tom pride site.

    • Isn't 24hr news great

      The rush to be first:

      Steal pictures from twitter and forget to basic fact-check.

      Page 17 of today’s Daily Mail:

      The main picture in this ‘exclusive’ is already mentioned in the above link, but the bottom right picture is this:

      Pictures still here:

      Similar to photos of state violence in Egypt being shared as photos from Venezuela and then a (Spanish) newspaper published.

  11. The National Minimum Wage:

    Almost everyone who legally works in the UK must get a minimum level of pay. This is called the national minimum wage. You can be paid more than the national minimum wage but you must not be paid less.

  12. Unpaid work is used as a sentence by the courts and imposed on those who break the law.
    Is George Osbournes announcement really saying that being unemployed is the same as a criminal offence?

  13. Tony burn

    Only criminals themselves could intimate such a thing.

  14. ps intimate should be initiate.

  15. Osborne has targeted the young for workfare and the older claimants unemployed for over two years. He didn’t say when workfare would start. On the BBC after Osbornes speech a labour MP was asked what labour would do and she said that they would give those claimants six months paid work on the minimum wage. She still said sanctions for those who turn it down. So the choice at the next election is get paid for six months of litter picking or do it for benefits.

  16. Interestingly enough, the daily wails article on this is mostly negative and raises all the same points as are usually argued here… such as..

    If these are jobs they should be paid as such.
    If they are paid at benefit levels then the hours should be curtailed to that required under min wage.
    If these jobs displace an original full paid job then the number unemployed will increase, that street sweeer will loose his job then be paid benefits to do the same job. (although its likely that the gov would frig the figures by having anyone doing “jobs for benefits” as not counting towards the un-employment figures.
    That this puts benefit claimants on a par with community sentences, a situation they would not like to see themselves in should they become unemployed themselves.

    Concidering people who read the DM are predominantly “right leaning” thats quite a damning indictment of the policy by the papers own readers.

  17. £6.19p for:

    37hrs = £232.12p
    39hrs = £241.41p
    40hrs = £247.60p

    These are the legal amounts of money you have to be paid by UK Employment Law (before Tax & Nat Ins) when working. Someone might want to inform George ‘I’m a Bastard’ Osborne and Ian ‘Seig Heil’ Smith.

    • agreed – one thing that stumps me is if you factor in HB and CTax benefit on top of the £71 it gets quite close to that, depending on the amount of each.
      say a rent of £500/month, claimed in full.
      rent – £115.40
      dole £ 71.00
      CTben £ 12.00
      equals£198.00 ish.
      i know that they have been cutting rent and ctax ben, but it’s getting up near to a minimum wage.
      just made me think… hmmm.

  18. When the unemployed are treated like criminals, won’t it make sense for them to behave like criminals?

    • I have never committed a crime in my life, but, I would commit a crime such as shoplifting as I would feel I earned my punishment. But, I would not work for nothing as that is punishment on the innocent. I would die first.


        If I were unemployed and given this I WOULD commit a crime even though, like you, I have been a law-abiding citizen all my life as well. Someone needs to tell these totally insane ‘Nasty Party’ cretins/evil bastards that giving what amounts to a community service order to someone who has been law-abiding is utterly dispicable and you may well encourage such a person to commit crimes where none have been committed previously.

  19. Obi wan kenobi

    We are not going to work now unless they pay us a LIVING WAGE say cleaners for the council, so forget the minimum wage it was set too low in the first place.

  20. Whilst on a new Labour “New Deal” course (I’d stupidly volunteered to go on this despite not being strictly eligible – i.e. not having been unemployed for a year) a group of young claimants were dragooned outside of the office building where we were incarcerated (er, sorry, based) and were commanded by an overbearing supervisor to pick up litter from around the site. To their credit the lads to a man point-blank refused to comply, and the supervisor, sensing rebellion in the air, quickly backed down.

    Of course, back then you couldn’t be sanctioned for such “insubordination” so I wouldn’t advise a repeat of their brave stand today.

  21. The only thing the Government might (and I say might) be able to enforce is the daily Jobcentre attendance, however this will cause it’s own set of unique problems,

    Jobcentres are already overrun with claimants having to attend fortnightly signing’s, and coupled with this the weekly attendance for the ‘New Tough Regime’ for Ex-Work Programme returners, then add on top of that daily attendance for everyone – No chance!

    For one thing the Health and Safety Law states a building can only have so many people in it at one time.

  22. Can’t we just go and burn westminster down?

    • Yeah good idea, that building has too many people in for my liking. When are we going to get people running this country that are seeking power not for powers sake, but first and foremost for the benefit of ALL of it’s citizens.
      The middle and upper class are like vultures putting in their shopping list of benefits and tax cuts at the expense of single parents and the unemployed’s benefit withdrawals, but there again the middle classes always did look after themselves, fighting for salaries and pay rises for their own overpriced white collar jobs while their working class equals get cuts or a conditional rise tied to production and more sweat.

    • Lob in a bunch of grenades & a left-over nuke from the cold war, that should do the job nicely. The centre of London will be uninhabitable for 10,000 years but that’s a small price to pay.

  23. Here’s a nice story to cheer eveone up.

    From the archive, 27 March 1963: Unemployed try to storm parliament.

  24. “As most of us know, their profits are also not just taken from the pocket of the state, but are also inflated by prison labor, which they use to produce merchandise to be sold for pennies on the dollar. Not to mention often cutting costs in regard to quality (more inmates per cell, lower quality food, lower quality personnel/guards) to increase profits.”

    • “Mike Hall September 30, 2013 at 11:59 pm #

      Christ, you poor UK dwellers, cruelty & ignorance by economic policy is personified in Osborne’s speech today.

      What a piece of warmed up Thatcherite Tory shit.

      As if the Gulag treatment of the jobless wasn’t bad enough, the budget surplus plan will all but ensure that the ranks of long term unemployed will continue to swell. I expect many will simply give up & live rough on the streets.

      A simple Sectoral Balance analysis (a la MMT) will show why. Government can only move into surplus by taking financial assets from the non-Government sector. It’s unlikely exports will change much, so guess who’s left? And being Tories, guess which group will be coughing up the most? Looks like the rich are set to get richer & poor poorer to a whole new level.

      Are the Tories planning a whole new privatised industry of orchestrated mental & physical torture on the poor? I suppose if people turn to crime in desperation they’ll end up in the privatised prisons (like the US), so it’ll be a win-win either way.

      And guess which twats, as if by some evil Pavlovian manipulation, parroted the same moronic drivel that the government’s goal must be ‘balance’ or ‘surplus’ ?

      Channel 4 News’ Jon (economic ignorant dickhead) Snow interviewing Labour’s shadow Treasury spokesman Chris Imacluelesswankertoo.

      Sorry for the colourful language, but this crap is just getting too surreal.”

  25. If you have to visit a Jobcentre every day to sign and can only get bus fares or other transport costs paid for days other than your signing day surely you won’t get your travel costs to and from the Jobcentre reimbursed if you’re put on the “Help into Work” daily signing regime will you?

    How can anybody on Jobseeker’s Allowance living several miles from the nearest Jobcentre be able to afford to pay to visit it off their own bat from benefits? It cost me £3.54 retun bus fare to go from my home to the Jobcentre and back? I can’t afford to pay £17.70 per week out of my dole to sign on a daily basis!

    • Stagecoach run a weekly permit for unlimited bus rides in the town, but the pass has risen to £15 per week or so i’m told, so not much difference.

  26. Iain Duncan Smith

    My dear friends.

    We only wish to ensure that none of you are left behind and ensure that you all have a chance to enjoy the prosperity generated from economic recovery in a fair manner. We promise not to abandon you or leave you on the scrap heap and to spare no pains to find you gainful employment. It is our moral and indeed our Christian duty to do everything possible to provide the incentives and means for you to find and benefit from paying work and be redeemed as a hard-working citizen and valued element in our reborn and hard-working new Jerusalem. Billions have already been lavished on the Work Programme, Universal Credit, Universal Jobmatch and similar and now we launch the Help into Work programme as a means to springboard the long-term unemployed back into activity and save them from atrophy and despondency.

    We are working for you.

    God bless you all!

    • What would you think if I sang out of tune?

      Dearest Iain,

      Heartfelt thanks for all your help.

      As a sign of my gratitude I’d like to reciprocate by burying a monkey wrench in your skull.

      All my love

  27. IDS

    The only way we will profit from litter picking work programmes is if we pick up a winning lottery ticket or the odd million pound note.

    • something survived...

      IDS should pilot test this scheme. With himself as the litter picker. Using only his mouth to pick up dog shit.

  28. Things have just got a lot worse: The Guardian’s website is reporting that IDS is planning to make it even tougher (is that possible?) for the sick and disabled to claim benefits, and that the Tories are pledging to abolish the Human Rights Act.

    Be afraid… be very afraid!

  29. If you’re unemployed, being made to work for free, and making use of the ever growing number of food banks, then you may as well go shoplifting.
    You’ll have far better food to eat, far more of it, and if you get caught you’ll only end up picking litter anyway.
    You may even feel happier doing it, as you’re being punished for something you’ve done wrong, and not just because you’re out of work.

  30. @IDS


    now GTFO

  31. I am off JSA because of depression and anxiety and suicidal thoughts.. am on medication for it but i have reached the point of saying fuck this.. for 2 years i did everything they asked at a4e, and more, i was told i was the highest applier on my advisers caseload.. if not the office.. then i am told volunteer work is worthless as its not a paid.. this was the last resort and i phoned the doctor and i broke down in the office, and he immediately signed me off.. and arranged counselling.. now this it makes me seriously wonder why do i carry on.. If i do decide its either me vanishing off to the woods, or taking out as many of those evil bastards as i can.. before they take me down.. suicide by cop..this is the state they have pushed me. and it scares me that i have to feel this way,

    • Eric Greenwood

      Make sure your counsellor is one of them you take down, because they are capitalizing on the misery being brought on the sick and unemployed, but seriously I wouldn’t give them the satisfaction of killing myself, you would only save them money on paying the ones you knocked off.
      So long as middle class jobs are safe that’s all tory and new labour are interested in their voting public.

    • Eric Greenwood, hold on in there.This ‘unelected’ government will be out of office SOONER than they think!!!

    • overburdenddonkey

      i’m searching for words or concepts, to describe in a nut shell, these pex clowns, and those that use their highly dubious “statistical” outcomes to support and present as a policy/policies to the voter, as if any of it is realistic…does the sun orbit the earth, is the moon made of cheese, is the earth flat…these are the levels of stupidity, the govt that weren’t elected are displaying…this is why their ideas are beyond comprehension,coz they are plain stupid, yet for some odd reason many take them seriously, might as well ping shit at the moon, for all the good their ideas do..

    • Eric, I really sympathise with you as I am exactly in the same situation. I was told A4e would help me get a job, give training, gain certificates. Nothing happened, advisers didn’t turn up – I had two voluntary places I’d found out about of my own accord – one at a hospital and one with the police force. Was told I had to go by their own placements. I broke down also with my GP. Eric, stay strong, fight this evil government, please don’t let them win. Please get in touch with me if you want.

      • @sue mcdonald pls read my post about A4E influence over DWP its worrying that a company found guilty of fraud has so much influence on govt policy..then again this is a fraudulent govt anyway..

        • Computer went haywire when I tried to get into your post – sorry bobchewie but, agree, companies like A4e (just one of many) are committing crime. Think it’s called “white collar crime” which is more prevalent than the criminal crime the media reports on.

          • @sue mcdonald ME TOO..even on smartphone weird..its more than white colar crime its the degree of influence they have on DWP..and corp funded thinktanks like policy exchange

            • Influence maybe from outer space methinks – government living in “looking glass” world. Corporate crime like Big Pharma restricting drugs for ill people as they won’t make a profit – scapegoats as in “Herald of Free Enterprise”, Big Tobacco, can’t gain enough profit here so go to tiny communities in the Himalayees (sorry, can’t spell that) where they have freedom to put more addictive chemicals in tobacco and so, gain profit. Could go on and on …

  32. All the patronising , power trip parasites on the a BBC radio talk show today, who have got to get theses young people out of bed in the morning; because they don’t know what to do with themselves if there’s no work in a dead end minimum wage job, in a poverty immigration based unskilled economy . These stupid toady, patronising power trip bondman overseers toadying up with the government just don’t have the intelligence / critical thinking ability to realize that it won’t be long before its them and their families in the slave market too .

    Theses scum authoritarians, our masters who actually refer to themselves as being in power have to go!

    • I listened to the 5live ‘discussion’. Rachel Burden is a snide cow. That 23 year old lad just got knocked throughout the entire show, no doubt doing wonders for his self worth. This, it seems, is how we treat kids/young adults; and we wonder why they have problems. Disgraceful.

      Just the usual array of deluded fools who think that, despite paying taxes/NI, it’s a virtue not to claim anything at all from the state. Perhaps they think the statte is going to give them a massive rebate.

      The last guy who spoke was most interesting: he was a JC advisor who painted a very stark picture of total chaos at the end. No doubt he’ll be ignored.

  33. This idea that we can attend a jobcentre daily instead of doing litter picking is probably going to be up to an advisor in the jobcentre I guess. Otherwise most of us would choose going to the jobcentre daily and they wouldn’t be able to cope. How about taking a christmas job for a few weeks and signing back on so we remain less than two years unemployed. They might send us back to the work programme then for another two years.

    • have to sign-off for 3 months i think.

      • you_just_can't_win

        I am/was on Work Programme. I have a job until the end of the year (3 months) and then a further 3 months work in Taiwan. I have been informed that when I return to the UK if I make a claim for JSA then I will automatically be referred back to Work Programme because it is a two year contract. So therefore wonder if I would still be classed long term unemployed. The whole thing stinks.

        • You won’t be referred back to it, you are still on it. Doesn’t matter what you do in that period, you are still signed with them. Of course if you aren’t claiming then there’s not much they can do to you (except hassle you for an outcome).

      • Can I ask – why 3 months ? Is one no longer long term unemployed after that time?

        • you_just-can't_win

          Because that is what I have been offered. Plus it’s six months, not three. You see, when I was at school 3+3 equalled SIX! So pray tell, how is one considered long term unemployed after six months employment? Prior to that 13 months unemployed and prior to that, 27 years EMPLOYED!

          • What would one be classified as if one signed off for 6 months and did no work, survived on charity etc then signed back on again?

            I’m confused– how long does one have to be not claiming benefits to not be classified as long term unemployed or do you have to work: and why is it their business what you do with your time if your not claiming anything ?

          • At initial meeting with ‘advisor’ (or whatever they call themselves) at WP, it was explained that they/(he) would be “getting to know [me] very well”, (er, … ok) across the 2 years – and that we’d be “together, in regular contact” all that time (creepy). As a novice on WP, I said “Or, until I find work, whichever is the sooner” and he reiterated/clarified, “No – for whole of 2 years” [unless i give up the ghost during that time]. And he’d be there to help resolve any ‘issues’ in any potential new workplace… (again – thanks but no thanks). Conversation now seems all the more surreal, as he’s not (so far) asked/learned any more about me – at least partly due still coming to terms with allegedly “unique” decision to not tick his box letting him and/or “3rd parties” hassle me/dictate what I should be doing & where/how I should do it – apart from attending fortnightly to check I’m still alive.

    • Wonder how people will be able to afford the travel expenses to go to job centres every day as well as expenses with looking for work!

    • something survived...

      Yes and what if you can’t spend all day every day at a jobcentre because you need to look after your kids, attend regular medical treatment, go to college, pay your bills at the bank, shop, clean, cook, wash clothes? Or visit family or friends? Or have other commitments? or need to go to the council or another department to sort out your benefits? Or are going jobseeking, to a jobs fair, or to a job interview?

      • Doesn’t matter jcp interviews are more important than
        1 job interview
        2 going to funerals
        3 having an operation
        4 dying of serious illness
        5 buying food ( starving will do you good
        6 having any kind of life outside the job centre

        Come on you know the rules. You know it makes sense..its Tory policy so its all plain common sense..

  34. Labour under Tony Blair wanted our of the Human Rights Act, when it was realised that it conferred rights on people in the UK that the government didn’t want us to have. Though Blair tinkered around with the wording, in order to change the semantics a bit, we are still subjects, and not ‘citizens’. So basically most of us fundamentally occupy a similar constitutional position as did most of the population in medieval time – we are serfs, villeins or whatever moniker you wish to use. Only when we take the reins of power ourselves, abolishing monarchy and government will be be truly free and citizens.

    I’m sure that all the main political parties would love to rescind the Human Rights Act, but it would be a spectacular own goal, and tremendously bad PR.

    The lack of anything resembling strong and principled opposition in the mainstream has gone to the Tories head, and now they think they are invincible. And yet there are still far too many people hoping and praying, or just to blindly stupid hoping that Ed Milliband will win the next election and all will be well. Labour are at best a reformist party, and are too worried about their support from ‘Middle England’. Even if there was a political party that claimed to represent the interests of working people I would not vote for them. as I know that as soon as they formed a government they would become my enemy..

    I live in Wales, which is, and has been for most of the past 100 years, a Labour stronghold. It is said that if Labour put up a donkey as a candidate in the Valleys, people would vote for it. Sadly, that is true, and we now have a devolved Labour administration in Wales largely made up of donkeys. (Who have proved to be very happy to implement Tory policies).

    I personally hope that Scotland votes yes in next year’s referendum, as that would show that at least the citizens of Scotland have some backbone, and faith in their own ability to govern themselves. Independence for Scotland doesn’t go anywhere near far enough, but at least it would be a start in the demolition of this rotting plague ridden carcass called the United Kingdom.

    Sadly, an independent Scotland, and even an independent Wales wouldn’t change the fact that England would remain resolutely Tory, as Labour has never had an overall majority in England, and has relied on votes from Wales and Scotland in order to form a government – though neither Wales or Scotland has received full benefit for that support, any more than Labour voting areas of England have received the full benefits of their support either – all is geared for the needs of the South East of England That is a problem that the English people must tackle themselves, and I can only wish them well in that endeavour and hope that progressive elements will forge international links towards that end.


      That isn’t true. Labour can’t get into office without substantial support here in England for the simple fact is the vast majority of parliamentary seats are here due to the bigger population.

      I hope Scotland doesn’t become independent but this evil rubbish looks very much to be a snide Tory plan to push the Scots over the edge and make them vote for ‘independence’. I very much hope the Scots don’t fall for it.

  35. How about telling job centre staff and ids to f off.

    • haha it’s coming to that point. I remember this guy I was on a New Deal course with went into the jobcentre to complain about the course and ended up being arrested after throwing a chair through the window out onto the street! i guess that’s why the jobcentre has at least 3 security guards on at any one time… preparation for things to come.

  36. What would the 3 do if 50 people were to kick off, I wonder?

  37. Update on “Hovis Bakers” thread.

  38. Whenever I sign on, I am always conscious of how close I am to the advisor and how far away the security guards are. Such close contact!!!

    • something survived...

      At ours the adviser acts like you are hardly there (not bothering themselves to show up on time) and the security guards are standing right behind your back!

  39. Pingback: Osborne’s big plan: falsify unemployment figures under the Workfare banner | Vox Political

  40. Poor. Old. Tired. Horse

    On pages 8-9 of the Policy Exchange report entitled “Work Fair?” the author refers to something he calls the “Community Activity Programme”. He states:

    “Community Activity Programme: a six-month programme of unpaid community work, targeted at very long-term unemployed people who have not found employment through the Work Programme and may have lost the habits of working routine. This was piloted from April 2013.”

    In this paragraph the phrase “Community Activity Programme” is a hyperlink which takes you to the Community Action Programme (CAP) Provider Guidance page on the DWP website. It’s clear, then, that the author is referring to the CAP.

    Again, on page 10 of the report, the author says:

    “More recently, a six month ‘Community Action Programme’ (CAP) was rolled out for some of the first cohort of claimants leaving the Work Programme without finding a job.”

    However, as Johnny Void noted in May of this year, the Community Action Programme does not exist. A limited trial of the CAP was carried out, but this trial ended in 2012. It has not been “piloted from April 2013”, nor has it been “rolled out from some of the first cohort of claimants leaving the Work Programme without finding a job.”

  41. @ALL It was said on twitter that tories banned or blocked BBC from filming or broadcasting the manchester protest..100,000 were on streets protesting about cuts..
    i managed to ‘cam’ the bambuser live broadcast of the event..

  42. Fuck the BBC; the government’s propaganda arm

  43. I would like to know why the benefits agency are treating me with absolute disdain after I failed the Tribunal appeal just over two weeks ago. I am 61 in 4 weeks, have no chance of getting paid work, have been told – on one hand – I have to apply for JSA, then get a letter saying I have been accepted for ESA. Going through hell trying to sort things out and absolutely refuse to work for nothing even if it kills me (mean that). DHSS have messed up telling me different things, my GP is aghast when I can’t give them the info needed to send off a medical certificate. Would like to state that I have worked really hard but fell into hard times and would love a full time job but am now petrified of losing everything.

  44. i will repost this comment i posted before which suggests that A4E the crooked ‘work prg providers’ who have been caught out again with fraud..
    how they seem to run the DWP

    this is the bio of a steve mason who worked for A4E and was pretty much forming the whole welfare reform policy as the cluelss trories had no idea what to do and so let A4E pretty much set it all up..
    this is his bio..

    •”Contributed to Professor Malcolm Harrington’s first two reviews of the WCA, including working directly with Professor Harrington.”

    yep that right A4E was intrumental in ATOS WCA ..clever eh?

    and how about this one??

    “quotes from steve mason (ex A4E) “Contributed to work of Lord David Freud regarding welfare reform (he claimed to have got many of his ideas from A4e and specifically named Mark Lovell [A4e Executive Chairman] and myself for our contributions)”

  45. it was reported in the Metro how claimants should become WOMBLES with litter collecting..

  46. Sorry, don’t quite understand these posts – are you saying A4e set up WCA? If so, what knowledge or experience did these “unknown” people have?

  47. @sue mcdonald they dont have experience its all based on opinion and glorious self interest

    • Nothing wrong with opinion but have to use analysis to work out the best strategy for the welfare of all of us …

  48. @all who funds policy exchange?

    The “free market thinktanks” and their secret funders are a threat to democracy.

    Nadine Dorries won’t answer it. Lord Lawson won’t answer it. Michael Gove won’t answer it. But it’s a simple question, and if they don’t know it’s because they don’t want to. Where does the money come from? All are connected to groups whose purpose is to change the direction of public life. None will reveal who funds them.

    When she attempted to restrict abortion counselling, Nadine Dorries MP was supported by a group called Right to Know. When other MPs asked her who funds it, she claimed she didn’t know(1,2). Lord Lawson is chairman of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, which casts doubt on climate science. It demands “openness and transparency” from scientists(3). Yet he refuses to say who pays, on the grounds that the donors “do not wish to be publicly engaged in controversy.”(4) Michael Gove was chairman of Policy Exchange, an influential conservative thinktank. When I asked who funded Policy Exchange when he ran it, his office told me “he doesn’t have that information and he won’t be able to help you.”(5)

    We know that to understand politics and the peddling of influence we must follow the money. So it’s remarkable that the question of who funds the thinktanks has so seldom been asked.

    • Today on back of a cereal packet (used to be send off for a plastic toy):-

      1,000’s of children going without breakfast & an appeal to provide x1 ‘extra’ breakfast for each time someone ‘likes’ the packet / company or similar … they support breakfast clubs already (apparently) but are sad that large numbers in UK don’t get to eat anything before school. Say they’re happy to provide some of these much-needed breakfasts – in exchange for the extra publicity.

      Nothing strange or untoward about acknowledging that people can’t (in large numbers) afford to feed their children breakfast – on the back of a cereal box …

  49. @sue macdonald you are missing the point A4E influence is ONLY about lining their own pocket nothing more

    • Yeah, A4e didn’t give a damn,but, stupidly, I was told by JSP they would deliver jobs, give training, gain certificates. So called “teachers” couldn’t control what happened. How great how that woman is now a multi-millionnaire!

  50. And i am getting sick of this happening a lot lately

    This webpage is not available

    The connection to was interrupted.

  51. It’s from 2010, lots still relevant and gives a good background, very readable (free online/pdf download too):

    “This double issue of the Corporate Watch Newsletter takes a look at this relatively new ‘unemployment business’; its protagonists, ideological, political and economic premises and how it is being utilised by the New Labour government to dismantle what’s left of the welfare state”

    Corporate Watch, Issue 45/46 – ‘The Unemployment Business’ issue

  52. Pingback: How The Policy Exchange Manufactured Public Sup...

  53. Doesn’t matter how loopy these ideas are, they will be put through come April unless something drastic is done.

    Still no general strike from the TUC. How much more fucking evidence do they need these tory filth are taking the piss?

    How are jobcentres going to cope with daily claimant visits? Who will subsidise expensive bus costs? What is the ‘intensive help’ being proposed for people with mental health problems and other difficulties? Where is the work going to come for these unpaid skivvies to do? I don’t recall seeing lots of people turn up locally to clear the litter and wipe the backsides of the elderly? There are people paid to do such things. What do they think?

  54. What is the fuss all about? We’ve been here before. In the mid noughties I was put on the New Deal which included a 13 week period of workfare called the “Intensive Activity Period”. The company I was “placed” with was so pleased with me that the manager above me asked me to get an “extension” so that they could continue to have me working for them for nothing promising me a full-time job at the end of it. On her recommendation I requested this and after staying with the company for SIX MONTHS, unpaid, I left and signed back onto Jobseeker’s Allowance when the promise of full-time employment boiled down to nothing. Oh Boy! Was that a dispiriting experience. All the more so when I heard later that promises of gainful employment were often made by that company to workfare staff, presumably in order to encourage them to work very hard for long periods hoping to impress the bosses in order to get a position.

    History is just repeating itself.

    All the political parties hate the unemployed and need to be seen to be nasty to them in order to gain favour with the great unwashed. It’s all bollocks and won’t work but what can you do?

    Incidentally, what’s all this stuff about the unemployed cooking dinners for the elderly? Shouldn’t properly trained chefs, cooks, and kitchen staff, with hygiene certificates and what not be paid to do something as important as that? If I was an OAP I wouldn’t be happy having my lunch prepared by some young boy or girl, with no experience or skill, driven to try to undertake such an activity under threat of destitution! Shit!

  55. Edward Lawrence

    If I am unlucky enough to end up on the Help Into Work scheme I’ll pick the daily signing option. I live about an hour’s walk away from the Jobcentre and, if they ever get IADs installed, will simply walk there (1 hour), sign on and spend an hour or so using the IAD for Jobsearch (1 or 2 hours), and then walk home (1 hour). So at least I’ll have 3 or 4 hours a day taken care of if they enforce the absolutely daft and impossible 35 hour a week jobseeking shit associated with Universal Credit and save my internet bandwith for better purposes (via a PAYG dongle).

    Currently I am at a complete bloody loss as how to do all of the activities demanded from unemployed people these days. You can do these things for a few days, or weeks, but as time goes on, trying to keep all of these balls in the air at the same time becomes harder and harder and harder. Eventually you simply run out of employers and employment agencies to write to, email, telephone, or visit and so on. I just cannot see how anybody can keep up with such impossible demands for months or even years.

    Sometimes I think the country has gone fucking mad!

    • Landless Peasant

      The country has indeed gone mad. I too would opt for daily signing rather than unpaid slave labour. The question is, how are the Jobcentres going to cope with such an influx of people every day? It’s yet more unworkable bollocks from the Tory gobshites.

      • Eve more so since idiot George smith has now announced that the long term unemployed will be made to attend the job centre for “training” 9 till 5 for 5 days a week.
        They’ll have to use warehouses to accommodate the hundreds of thousands of long term unemployed.
        This gets more surreal by the minute.
        Due to start April 2014 I gather.

  56. Work for your dole – jolly good idea, and about bloody time too!

    • Stop paying tax then; but you’re a jolly good slave like the rest of us.
      Do you really think your see a reduction in the protection money you pay to these scum gangsters . Do you not realize the whole system is set up to stoke the obscene wealth of the 1%, and it’s only a question of time before they take more and more and more until its you with nothing – fool

    • Hear, hear.

    • How about creating enough jobs to go around Old Tory and maybe the ‘dole’ wouldn’t be needed?


        Mate, you can’t expect a Tory to understand such a simple economic concept as the demand and supply of labour! Remember, they have a Chancellor of the Exchequer that has NO formal qualifications in economics at all (I have got a modest GCSE in the subject).

        Do get up to speed old chap, don’t ever forget that in Tory world the unemployed create unemployment!

      • How long is it since signing on ‘the dole’ was renamed UB/IS/JSA? Was the earlier name meant literally to denote money ‘doled out’ in extremis? It’s a bit late in the day to wonder this & what’s in a name, but being on the dole used to not be in and of itself the heinous crime it’s since become – apart from there being some separation between those who’d never needed to do it (pre redundancy, say) & those who found themselves doing it/some stigma but it now seems as nothing (?). Students signed on (I did) in between years/between summer jobs … & there were regular references in popular culture – “Love on the dole” (film/book?); UB40 (‘Red, red whine’) – it was an accepted part of life – not usually viewed as a long-term likelihood by many (pre-thatcher?).

        R4 now reporting a “9-5” attending at job centre requirement. I imagine IDS et al to be having a great week & having lots of long lunches/business meetings to pat themselves/each other on the back that no one seems to be revolting (even though they think we are).

  57. Ian ‘Work For Your Dole’ Smith is speaking live at the CC 2013 today 11:45am, coverage on the BBC Parliament Channel, no doubt it will also be on Sky News and BBC News channels.

    If you ever wanted to shout like a lunatic or throw shit at your TV – 11:45am today is the time!

  58. Duncan Smith spells out details of mandatory ‘Help to Work’ scheme.

    Failures to attend the centres without good reason will lead to sanctions, Duncan Smith will tell delegates. The schemes, which should be running by next autumn, will test the approach ahead of a national rollout. No pilot areas have yet been confirmed.

  59. George Osbournes vision of the unemployed ‘litter picking’ our way out of recession has a hidden agenda.
    It’s a cost free method of preparing the streets to make them a nicer place to live for all the people his bedroom tax is going to make homeless.
    Litter picking is really carrying our own cross so to speak.

  60. October 1, 2013 at 10:10 am

    The Tory dirty tricks department are at it again, supported by the right wing media machine.
    Miliband’s fathers name has been blackened by an article appearing in the “toilet tissue”, Daily Mail.
    The story seeks to make out that Ralph Miliband, Ed and Davids father, was a man who hated Britain…………..

    Cameron, when asked about the story on a radio interview, said he knew nothing of it……

    Strange, how the angelic smile hides the festering contempt for a person who is a better communicator than oneself.

    Camoron is frightened to death with the thought of going head to head with Miliband on televised debate.
    Rather than being embarrassed by the eloquence of his foe, dirty David preference was to throw shit and hope it sticks……….

    Sadly, the electorate are not blinded by the attempts of the, in pocket gutter press to smear the name of a dead person, someone who cannot fight back.

    The electorate see the government for what they are, Etonian Nazis, jackboot clicking thugs who are murdering people at an alarming rate whilst pretending to look away……….

    Supported by their twisted generals in the guise of the DWP, the most prolific killing machine on this planet……

    • Does it really make any difference? It’s surely a despicable thing to write a disapraging article about a dead person who cannot respond, particularly when that dead person was one of the truly radical thinkers. Of course, the aim of the article will be to attack the present generation of Milibands, who are a much more justifiable target given their active support for Tory policies and ideas, whether by default, or through a refusal to vigourously oppose the Tories increasingly fascist regime and agenda.

  61. IDS 25 minutes late for his conference speech – let’s sanction the twat!

  62. “US income inequality at record high”

    “Hungarian homeless law bans sleeping rough”

  63. So, we can look foreward to being sent to ‘centres’ not Jobcentres, from 9:00am till 5:00pm Monday to Friday before we start the 2 year Work Programme and after we finish the Work Programme until we find a job.

    I think you’ll find these ‘Centres’ are run by the usless Private Providers such as Ingeus, Serco, G4S etc.

  64. “Thirty hours a week for six months of community work such as making
    meals for the elderly, cleaning up litter and graffiti or charity work”.

    Making meals for the elderly, cleaning up litter and graffiti, charity work, are all standard work classifications and have a going rate for the job. If therefore the Department of Work and Pensions is going to provide this work for designated people are they not entitled to be paid the going rate for the work that they are doing. Are they not entitled to have the new designation of employed by the Department of Work and Pensions.

    Further a large number of people are already doing such work for local authorities. If the new people doing this work are not being paid the going rate for the job will not their jobs be undercut, and will not local authorities seek to have this work done for them free (actually paid for by the Department of Work and Pensions at a lower rate, ie the jobseekers allowance).

    It would clearly be untenable for local authorities to have a section of their workforce being undercut by the Department of Work and Pensions, so that if the DWP do indeed provide this work for designated people they will HAVE to give them proper employment status and
    PAY THE GOING RATE FOR THE JOBS that they are doing.

  65. New National Minimum Wage as of today is £6.31p an hour.

    • After all that has gone on, and is going on!, it should be clear by now that they have plans to abolish the minimum wage!. It is now only a matter of time, not “IF” but “WHEN”…

  66. Liam Byrn just been on daily politics on BBC saying IDS’s new litter picking policy doesn’t go far enough, he would stop benefits for those who did not take a job offered after 2 years unemployed.

    • You would get a bit of pocket money though, something like 25 x £6.31 = £157.75 per week. I suppose you’d have to pay your own transport costs and other costs out of the princely sum. The jobs are supposed to be in the private sector, which is really odd. Jobs doing good work to benefit the community make sense but why should the Labour Party pay private profit making employers to give jobs to the unemployed rather than take them on in the conventional manner? In fact I think it will be even dafter than this. Not only will Labour pay the wages of forced staff for private employers but actually pay the employers themselves a fee for actually making use of forced labour in the first place: so private employers get free labour which has no rights and gets paid by the government for making use of it!

      The Labour Party should rename itself the Wank Party.


      The clue is in the name.

    • They’re all trying to out-IDS one another …

  67. Apparently some select “Jobseekers” will be spending five days a week, 9.00 am to 5.00 pm, at a Jobcentre looking for work. Surely this must prove to the powers that be that a 35 hour a week Jobsearch is impossible? What the merry fuck will Jobcentres be able to find for “Jobseekers” to do for 35 hours a week! Still, I’d rather do that and have a few cups of coffee and a chat than pick up litter on an unpaid basis. But considering how reduced Jobcentres are as far as staff and spare room goes how the heck can any of this shite really be possible to arrange on a countrywide basis?

    • IDS is saying 9-5 at an ‘attendance’ centre (not too far away from wherever people live – so no need for travel costs to be paid – presumably he’s going to argue everyone can/should be able to walk/float there).

      • overburdenddonkey

        attendance centre, sounds like jail to me! they’ll be one placed conveniently, at the corner of every street…and double up as a detention centres, for bad jobseekers.. what they gonna do next wear red noses, and clown outfits…

  68. overburdenddonkey

    just looking for perspective and thinking out loud, being congruent with the crazy philosophy, “work is good for your health”, a message constantly rammed down our throats, being sick and disabled, i feel this message very acutely, although i also know this message is/will be, used across the board, as a justification to bully all unemployed/underemployed people to pointlessly, search for work that is simply not there, keeping people on “workready”, tender hooks desperately hoping for it’s arrival, so that one could actually do, what most desperately want/need to do, work, and get a decent wage…
    it would not surprise me in the least, if the govt that weren’t elected, announced that they intend to abolish retirement, think of all the unnecessary suffering this would prevent…i guess in fact they are abolishing state pension retirement by stealth…imagine @ 69 or even older, still having to do, sanction/conditionality slavery, to “earn”, benefits…the mind boggles when “not working enough”, could this also become “not working/earning enough”?…who on earth is going to have a big enough private pension pot to retire at a reasonable age, well guess then!…people are living longer they claim. i say this depends on where one looks!
    however scottish greens have called for an end to the back biting politicking, surrounding bedroom tax, and for all parties to work together to create a national no eviction policy…

    • The Tories have this attitude like in their world everything is normal and proper as if they speak for the whole country and anyone who doesn’t think or act like them is
      Odd or dangerous.
      ” we dont want that sort of thing here” like they are some sort of paragons of virtue when in actual fact most have some pathological twisted interest to hide

    • overburdenddonkey

      no eviction should also include no to collection agencies, = total bedroom tax arrears, right off..
      guess which country is 13th, on the list of the best country to grow old in..

  69. Try to figure out which jobcentres are fitted with overhead air conditioning systems.
    Does the zyklon B gas have a distinct aroma, or not?

    • IDS did say that his policies have already been implemented in Germany, I don’t supposed that surprises anyone Angela Merkel and Myra Hindley tend to have the same ring to it.

  70. “Yes Minister” Thanks to Youtube.

  71. Osborne's septum

  72. more crap from policy exchange

    • Poor. Old. Tired. Horse

      Huh. A pseudo-academic ‘thinktank’ producing dishonest and tendentious ‘research’.

      • I’ve not seen it yet is it as bad as I think ? Pseudo psycho babble eye charts and pie charts to justify there huge fee

        • Poor. Old. Tired. Horse

          It’s not all bad. At 0:31:27 Mehdi Hasan, Political Director of the Huffington Post, provides a reality check. And at 0:59:33, during the Q&A session, he says to Matthew Oakely:

          “…I do think that a lot of the polling is driven by some of the stuff about strivers and scroungers and shirkers….”

          Policy Exchange’s reports rely heavily on public polls which they commission, and which contain very leading questions.

          Even John Redwood says that he would not formulate policy based on polling, as people can be misinformed.

  73. This going to create a lot of work extra staff to cope with all that extra work & all those job centre pluses that have no public toilets,for that reason alone i think these daft plans will go down the toilet,just think of all those weak bladders,the government will have to give them drugs to constipate them so they do not need the toilet for days at a time

  74. I have written a letter which I intend to email to any potential placement providers in my area who may feel tempted to exploit the unemployed via the chancellor’s Help to Work scheme, so-called. I will know exactly who to contact when he announces more details in his autumn budget forecast. Please feel free to copy and paste.

    In the meantime, I have emailed a copy to Chris Philip. He’s the gentleman, and I use that term loosely, who wrote the Work For The Dole report, which is now government policy. The contact page on this self-satisfied cunt’s website says please feel free to get in touch. So that’s what I’ve done.


    Call: 07996 56 55 54

    Dear Sir/Madam

    I understand that you intend to exploit the unemployed and use them as a source of free labour via the government’s so-called Help to Work scheme. I strongly urge you to reconsider your decision to take part in this scheme. Allow me to explain.

    On the day that Chancellor George Osborne announced the details of his ludicrously named Help to Work scheme, I was attending the Work Programme. I overheard one jobseeker say that if he was forced to take part in this scheme, he would carry out a series of carefully calculated acts of vandalism and sabotage that would end up costing the placement provider thousands of pounds. And furthermore, he made it absolutely clear it would happen in circumstances in which he would escape prosecution.

    Other jobseekers who were listening murmured and nodded their heads in agreement. Let me make it clear I do not condone this kind of behaviour, which I can only describe as reckless and irresponsible. Not to mention illegal as well. However, people who are going to be forced into taking part in this scheme under threat of having their Jobseekers’ Allowance stopped if they refuse will almost certainly harbour a great deal of anger and resentment. Quite how this anger and resentment will manifest itself remains to be seen.

    People don’t want Help to Work; they want work. Paid work!

    Yours sincerely

    jj joop

  75. Now the government’s ploy of trying to blame the poor and disabled for their plights is coming off the rails and they are getting more and more desperate. Let’s keep pushing them in more and more defensive measures till they finally crack.

  76. Pingback: Think tank influence – what do you think? | NYPFJBB

  77. I think Mark Twain was the one who put it best when he said, “There are three kinds of lies in this world: lies, damned lies, and statistics.”

    • I think the denier disinfo brigade are getting sicker now they are demanding coroners reports on benefit related deaths. I really think they get off on all this guys I really do..

  78. Pingback: Working for their benefits | Cubik's Rube

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