Why George Osborne’s Workfare Plans Won’t Work

ids-sadGeorge Osborne’s mass workfare scheme is so unworkable that even Iain Duncan Smith winced when it was announced during the Tory Party Conference yesterday.

Osborne claims that 200,000 people will be forced into either full time workfare or massively increased conditionality – such as having to attend Jobcentres everyday.  This will apply to people leaving the Work Programme, the two year scheme which is already costing tax payers a fortune and failing miserably.

Already Osborne’s sums don’t add up.  People are currently returning to Jobcentres after leaving the Work Programme at a rate of around 50,000 a month.  If all of these people are sent on Osborne’s new scheme – as he promised they will be – then that will be 600,000 in the first year alone.  One third of these are expected to be sent on full time workfare.

As even bungling Iain Duncan Smith knows, this is completely unworkable.  The reason IDS knows this is because he just tried it.

The Community Action Programme (CAP) was a workfare scheme which was piloted in 2011/12 for long term unemployed people.  It was claimed that the programme would go live in Summer 2013 to catch the tens of thousands of people currently leaving the Work Programme without a job.

In mis-directed revenge for the failure of welfare-to-work companies to help people find work , those who were still unemployed at the end of the  Work Programme were to be sent on six months workfare for a community organisation.  This is exactly the same thing that Osborne proposed yesterday.

The Community Action Programme even enjoyed a brief moment of fame as one of the schemes that was hauled through the courts and ultimately found to be illegal.  Curiously, when Iain Duncan Smith rewrote history to make several previously unlawful workfare programmes legal, he did not include the Community Action Programme in the revised back-dated legislation.

One reason for this was presumed to be due to an evaluation of the pilot scheme  which revealed the Community Action Programme to be a disaster.  A DWP report found it had no impact on whether anyone was more likely to get a job, although this is hardly uncommon for one of Iain Duncan Smith’s crazy schemes.  More importantly, it brought home some stark realities to the out of touch mandarins at the DWP.  According to the report, it was unsurprisingly difficult for welfare-to-work companies to find placements for some long term unemployed people who are described as being ‘particularly challenging’.  This included people who were homeless, had current drink or drug problems or such serious criminal records that in the words of the report they represented a ‘risk to placement providers’.

As things turned out the welfare-to-work companies who ran the scheme were only able to find 63 per cent of CAP participants a work placement.  One  reason for this was that many charities pulled out of the scheme after fierce campaigning from Boycott Workfare and other groups exposed the exploitative nature of forced unpaid work.  Another is that most charities do not have the capacity or skills to employ chaotic individuals dubbed the ‘hardest to help’.

That doesn’t mean everyone who is long term unemployed is ‘challenging’, has ‘behavioural disorders’ or faces ‘significant barriers to employment’.  In fact the opposite is true, most long term unemployed people live in areas of sky high unemployment where there are simply no jobs and that is the biggest barrier to work by far.  But there is no denying that a certain percentage of the ‘hardest to help’ are hard to help  for a reason.  That reason may be that they sleep in a shop doorway, or are the first ones queuing up waiting for the off-licence to open as the physical symptoms of alcohol withdrawal start to play havoc with their nervous system.  It may be that they have been given a dual-diagnosis – meaning they have a mental health condition and a substance use problem.  In a very small number of cases it may be that they have a long and violent history of offending.

It is this group of long-term unemployed people that George Osborne thinks he can fix, on the cheap, with his workfare fiasco.  Osborne genuinely seems to believe that Jobcentre staff or welfare-to-work companies can solve these desperate social problems where doctors, social workers, mental health professionals and probation officers have failed.  Iain Duncan Smith used to think these problems would be solved by the magical Work Programme.  But where that two year scheme has been little more than an expensive waste of time, Osborne’ wants us to believe his six month workfare fantasy will mean an end to crime, addiction, homelessness and unemployment amongst this group of claimants.  And if that doesn’t work he’s going to stop all of their benefits.  That’ll teach them.  And us.

£300 million pounds is to be spent on this nonsense, most of which is likely to end up in the pockets of the fraud ridden welfare-to-work sector.  Whilst some of the most exploitative charities, like @salvationarmyuk and @YMCA_England will be only too happy to force vulnerable claimants to work for free, decent and moral organisations are likely to shun the scheme.  Anti-workfare campaigners are almost certain to begin a campaign naming and shaming those involved.  Charities happy to exploit the unemployed in this way will pay for it, one way or another.

That £300 million could fund scrapping both the bedroom tax and the benefit cap, along with halting the closure of the Independent Living Fund for the most seriously disabled people and there would still be money to spare.  Money that could be spent on projects for the hardest to help that genuinely do help and that people do not have to be bullied by benefit sanctions into attending.  It could pay to provide a home for everyone who needs one who currently beds down for the night on the pavement, or be used to reverse some of the most vicious cuts to mental health services and the NHS.

Instead this money is being squandered on a crowd-pleasing shambles – something to appease the UKIP bound swivel-eyed right of the Tory Party.  Osborne will be pleased with himself for stealing the limelight and humiliating Iain Duncan Smith in the process by announcing a new flagship DWP policy.  But it may yet turn out to be one of the most expensive rounds of applause in history as the social consequences of this nasty little move will be felt for decades.

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

91 responses to “Why George Osborne’s Workfare Plans Won’t Work

  1. 2Mr Duncan Smith said those capable of doing so but unwilling to “commit to their obligations” would be forced to undergo a period of intensified “expert supervision”.
    Under the new pilot programme, a selected group will be expected to spend 35 hours a week at job centres, he said, to “simulate the working day”.

    Ha ha there’s no work so they simulate it ! Pretend work -what next ?
    What a load of nonsense , since when are people going to tolerate being treated like naughty children — put on detention . Grow up Duncan Smith !

    • Reminds me of the Bill Hicks joke –

      “Hicks, why aren’t you working?”
      “Because there’s no work, boss.”
      “Well, you pretend like you’re working.”
      “Why don’t you pretend I’m working? You get paid more than me. You fantasize.”

      • something survived...

        Can we simulate the working life of footballers’ wives or company CEO’s?

        And if you aren’t trying hard enough? “Sorry, this simulation is unrealistic; I think I could get more into character if I received the appropriate pay!”

    • overburdenddonkey

      work simulation, they’ll have all lined up singing the yintang song next.. 🙂

    • And those attending will be presumably receive pretend wage packets.

  2. The most interesting thing about the announcement was not the impracticality – but that George Osbourne and the Treasury Announced it, rather than the imbecilic clique of George Iain Duncan Smith, Esther McVey and/or Mr David Freud.

    • Gavin MacMillan

      “George Osborne’s mass workfare scheme is so unworkable that even Iain Duncan Smith winced when it was announced…”. Nah, the reason he winced was because it wasn’t him up there announcing it!

  3. If spending more time at he JC+ is all that’s needed, why have we just spent billions on the Work Programme? Duncan-Smith’s narrative is entirely incoherent yet he’s never questioned – why? The media’s no good to us and the political system’s no good to us either.

    • Right! Actually they are going to spend millions using the ‘unemployed’ to build enormous Job Centres on brownfield sites all over the country. They will have to do this before the 2 million ‘unemployed’ will all be able to get in and spend 35 hours in front of computer screens or reading newspaper ads or being ‘trained’ by the ever so clever and smart people recruited with yet more public money to do the training. They won’t be called Job Centres anymore though – they will be called Her Majesty’s Prisons …..

      • The Drug & Alcohol dependents are actually supposed to be covered by Disability Benefits (IB & ESA) so why is everyone confusing them with the long term WELL unemployed? Why are people with MS, Parkinson’s, arthritis, limb-loss, chronic depression, as well as alcoholism etc. etc., being told they are fit for work, and if not will end up on this next-ratchet-level up of officially enacted abuse? The long-term sick & disabled are the main targets for this programme, having been thrown off Incapacity benefit, or the 12 month ESA WRAG, and are still too ill or disabled for work, forced onto JSA. They have no right to appeal (well, if you can afford legal assistance and to have no income for the duration of the appeal).

        There will be a number of empty local prisons after the Titan prison programme is rolled out. The DWP is already recruiting “health advisors” to work in these new residential training centres (RTC). The conditions of these new workhouses are will be punitive – that was the tone of this announcement “getting tough” – and meant as a deterrent to anyone daring to still be claiming benefit after 2 years. Even the very ill.

        IDS & DWP thugs don’t care about the cost. They expect us not only to live without benefits, but to pay for their WEEK LONG celebration of the fact that they have inflicted poverty, destitution and homelessness on millions. I hear they cancelled the party – it wasn’t needed once we all understood how they actually viewed their abominable hate crimes against the poor. Cause for celebration? remove benefits from under 25’s?

        Are they really asking for rioting so they can introduce martial law, because that’s almost always the military despot dictators route to power.

        • Florence, seen at the work programme this week, leaflets, left casually lying around doing nothing, promoting ‘Health Advisors’. (Available now at local job shops/one stop shops etc., I think it said). On every page there were descriptions of someone with a specific illness/health problem who had been made to sound more or less hopeless (without any hope). Then – a few words about the ‘health advisor’ & their miraculous input, and another quote from same person saying-: [After help from the Health Advisor] “My asthma has now completely gone!”. And “I feel so much better now – I’m doing so much more – I’ve even ditched my bus pass!”. So it was ‘all in their mind’ or a bit of exercise/fresh air will do the trick…

          (You’ve described IDS exactly – he is a thug. An expensive suit-wearing, large house dwelling thug, who gets others to do his dirty work and fails badly at trying to seem either intelligent or caring).

  4. Workfare, another unworkable initiative from those (at DWP) who do not know how these schemes work productively. Make sure you treat participants with contempt & dis-respect. Absolute incompetence

  5. Will the DWP generals, the modern equivalent of the SS, be policing the ghetto’s or do they anticipate enough suicides to allow ATOS health care professionals to finish what they started?

    It will be like Schindler’s List!
    BILL GUNNYEON of the DWP taking potshots at the victims he has created, whilst sipping fine wine and abusing the spouses…………………


    …….and perhaps a black triangle symbol to the arm?

    ………after all, it’s in everyone’s interest to know who they are spitting at and mocking……………….

    ,,,,,,,,,,after all, it’s their fault that jobs paying real wages are not available, nothing to do with the totally inept shower of shit who stain the screen of my t.v. each night, spouting drivel to the mothball brigade…………..

  7. The lads at the fire department will laugh their socks off as the jobcentres are transformed to ash piles……………..

  8. No mention of taxing the TRILLIONS that go into the off-shore accounts of many a Tory at the Tory Party Conference yesterday!!!.

  9. “If Osborne intimated that IDS was thick, what does that make him?

  10. overburdenddonkey

    just imagine the alarm, when van loads of people turn up, leap out wearing florescent jackets, donning pointy sticks, and various other work implements, “come to litter pick sir/ma’am”, honest!..”no, we’re not doing community sentence, but earning our benefits, by doing community, ‘erm service”..”i mean, do we look like we are being punished?”….of course people currently employed on min wage to do this type of work, won’t be put out of work by this, will they, nor will the unions stand for it either, would they..and of course putting more people out of work will create, more jobs, well it does in tory la la land..

  11. Perhaps the real targets of Osborne’s malicious workfare scheme are not the unemployed (long-term or otherwise) but the employed. What a disincentive to standing up for your rights in the workplace, joining a union or participating in industrial action when the consequences could be redundancy/sacking from Britain’s hire-and-fire bosses and finding yourself joining the ranks of the DWP’s new slave class.

    A cowed, subservient workforce has always been capitalism’s wet dream; Osborne and his Tory millionaire chums are hellbent on achieving this goal no matter how much misery and suffering this entails for its victims.

  12. Trevor above is probably right. The use of compulsory workfare means companies can and will (as has been proven) release properly paid and protected workers in order to get cheap labour.

    I don’t understand where the £300 million cost comes from though. The current workfare programme costs around £1 Billion a year as I understand it. Now that is just to attend an office sit at a pc and pretend to look for work. Minimum supervision minimum paperwork.

    A scheme that forces people to work is going to need both a rigorous checking system and a rigorous supervision system along with a much larger admin system.
    One assumes all these jobless will be dotted around different places meaning many more supervisors, transport to and from litter picking / community centres, extra fares for attending jobcentre every day, extra paperwork , extra jobcentre staff more security ?? . Then the jobs they replace will result in more unemployment meaning more benefit payments and less tax revenues ???? it just goes on and on.

    Of course the cynical could say this is a way to use the unemployed to make income for the government by providing cheap labour to industry just for the cost of the benefits, government pays unemployed, companies pay government plus say 10% nice little earner all round.

    Private companies get paid to supervise the programmes pass the workers to their mates or even in House ie. G4S Capita and such and get a nice return either way….. lovely jubbly as another iconic street corner spiv would say.

    • Gavin MacMillan

      Except companies won’t pay government 10% – though they might give substantial donations to the Tory party and choice, individual Tory MP’s. And of course when the time comes to hang up the ministerial limo and get thyself down to the job-centre to look for a new gig, well feck my old wellies but the revolving door will magically rotate, and there’ll be a nice directorship or three to make sure that not too much time is actually spent at the job-centre rubbing shoulders with the great unwashed!

      • Ex politicians don’t go to the job centre, they end up falling asleep in the house of lords until they snuff it.

    • ~ & the even-more-cynical could say it is also a way of creating another layer of ‘otherness’. A very visible/clearly signalled way of herding the unemployed/sick/disabled together in a group that’s ‘not like us’ (herded about/wearing a ‘special uniform’/carrying out menial tasks/not worthy of being paid). So that in the (working) public’s mind must have done *something* wrong to deserve such treatment …). Also as a warning (“I don’t want to become/end up like that – I’d better work as hard as demanded of me for as little money & not complain.”)

  13. Pingback: The Public Humiliation Of Iain Duncan Smith | the void

  14. and these idiots are running our country? more like ruining…..

  15. Landless Peasant

    Hahaha what a load of utter BOLLOCKS! The Tories must be getting really desperate in their efforts to impress/placate the rabid Right-wing Daily Mail reading SCUM. Completely unworkable fucking BULLSHIT.

  16. Also no thought has been had on the rural communities, where the job centre is miles away and there are no buses….who can afford a car on JSA/ESA? There are no local jobs on UJM, or even just on a google search, 90 mins in a car takes in Cardiff, but only if you can get the miles to the bus or train station. Just one small issue within a overwhelmingly ridiculous pile of issues.

  17. Countdown to Job Centre staff going on strike to protest about the sudden flood of extra work their already overstrained offices have to cope with begins in 10… 9… 8…

    Countdown to various Charities having to re-find and re-edit their ‘thank you, but we decline to participate in your work fare programme’ letters in response to the DWP and various work programme companies. begins in 10… 9… 8…

    • something survived...

      Today I spoke to a charity and they were visited the other day with no notice. The visitor was a man from the Prisons Service. He said a woman who worked there ‘signed a piece of paper’ so this meant that ex-prisoners would be sent to that (other) branch shop to work. The lady reporting this today, told him (prisons man) his paper was worthless, as the lady that allegedly signed it no longer works for the charity! Prisons man apparently then told her, that’s irrelevant. Somebody has signed something, so you will be sent volunteers and you must take them all, you can’t object to them or stop them coming. She had then pointed out that very young kids use the shop, as there are little kids clothes/toys on sale there. The prisons guy said they (charity) are banned under the Human rights act from finding out what crimes the person did, if they are violent or mentally ill, how long they served, if they are a paedophile.
      She (lady in charity shop) went on to talk about a man sent (not from prisons, but a ‘volunteer’ apparently) to work in her branch of the shop. He was an ex-prisoner by the way, but actually that wasn’t what she objected to. More the fact that he was acutely mentally ill most of the time he was there, was violent, abusive, an alcoholic, drug addict. He came to work drunk and on drugs, drank alcohol and smoked inside the shop, and took drugs in front of staff and public. After he’d smashed up the charity shop they finally made him leave.
      The man at the charity shop here, talking to her, later told me (his colleague drove to her shop) that he’d had a ‘volunteer’ here. This volunteer was a neonazi in the EDL and worshipped the SS. When he found SS books and regalia in donations he pulled it out of the bin saying ‘I need this’, and also said a picture elsewhere of gay men being hanged in modern Iran, was great as ‘All queers should be hung’. At this point the charity shop guy fired him.

  18. In my opinion, this all adds up to warfare against the least fortunate. Atos cutting money to the sick and disabled, JSA cliamants being cut off for weeks or months at a time, salve labor being legalized.
    Those on workfare are little more than prisoners of war in their own country being forced to do work. And the rest are just getting starved out. This is a siege being staged against us by those who are meant to serve us. And all in the name of austerity… which is just a pretty way of saying “lets screw over the economy so working people cant afford to eat either”
    After all, government has gotten very big and very powerful. And it GETS WHAT IT WANTS. so.. if the results they are getting are 1000-2000 deaths per year as a direct result of all these cuts then how can it be they want any different?? And if they were sincerely trying to fix the country, why ignore their own experts who warn them these measures will make things worse?
    And if these results are not what they desire, why continue pursuing this course when it is clear it is not working?? well, its because it IS working. It’s punishing and even killing the poor sick and disabled.

    If they really wanted to fix anything, then why not cut M.P’s wages and expenses allowances, and how about dropping fewer bombs on other countries?? why not quit the E.U to save the 53 million per day that membership costs? plus legalize cannabis to take the money from criminals and put it where it belongs: the treasury.
    Why pick on those who have the least? how will that save the most money? And what about the MASSIVE amounts lost every year to commercial tax avoidance??
    If a LOT of money has to be saved, save it from where LOTS of money is going. Anything else is like trying to save on the 1,500 per month family spending by buying cheaper milk…………..
    That just wont work…….

  19. Where do I begin? I was once hungry for success, now I am just hungry!!!.
    Six years or so of ‘work programmes’ with the odd commission here and there.Wasted talent, maybe? Or maybe, wasting my ‘bright mind’ (maybe) on being dragged down into the gutter for a lack of employment opportunities. You decide. I am too tired and weary x

  20. Wouldn’t it be better to spread the £300 million between the 63.7 million people in this county instead of wasting it on no more then 2.5 million people? It doesn’t take a genius to figure that all that money could change the face of this country and cure it of its problems.

    • Not too sure of that…. 300,000,000 between 67,300,000 is only a couple of quid or so each. If we cut military spending, quit the E.U, and stopped enabling tax avoidance for big business THEN we would have enough to raise the living standards of all……….

      • something survived...

        Or between the 200,000 they want put on this scheme it comes to 1500 quid per jobseeker.

        • Guess thats how much they have budgeted per person to punish joblessness. would be better spent putting each one through a college course or something. But guess thats too logical for our government of numpties.

  21. Some of the hardest to help are also violent. I could almost pity the Jobcentre person who gets his jaw broken or gets stabbed when he pushes around the wrong person.

    • Maybe we should all learn from them… maybe then we might get crapped on a bit less. Also would make job center staff think twice before abandoning their moral principles by forcing people into poverty, just to protect the DWP

    • Eric Greenwood (4727)

      I would have said the same.., but not anymore.. anyone who works for teh dwp deserves everything they get, BY not doing anything they are implicitly agreeing whats being done, Unions not doing anything to protect their workers due to these things are giving implied agreement to it.

  22. On the same day that George Osborne annouced the details for his ludicrously named Help to Work sheme, 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 where he would escape prosecution.

    Other jobseekers who were listening murmured and nodded their heads in agreement.

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

    • henrietta sandwich

      Thomas, Loz and JJ, if this site had “reccommend” buttons, I would recommend your comments a hundred times each.

    • I hear that! I would love paid work, any paid work! But the prospect of spending all day working as basically a slave, thus preventing me spending that time looking for a job or setting up self employment…. not so keen. Hate the idea in fact….

    • Another Fine Mess

      Sometimes the sabotage-ing is done by the company’s own paid workers who resent the free workers undermining their pay, hours and conditions.

      • If the unions had any cojones, they would whip up both the paid workers whose jobs are threatened, and the workfare slaves, into a programme of strikes and industrial action – including a long overdue general strike.

        After the court declared workfare illegal in the Poundland,case, the main reason for IDS’s panicked retrospective lawmaking was because it has occurred to him that if all WP slaves downed tools and walked out, most of Britain’s high streets would have ground to a halt instantly.

        The power to withhold labour (including slave labour), like the power to sabotage, are REAL weapons that WORK. They have successfully won fair conditions and pay for workers in the past.

        Thatcher broke the miners because she was terrified of them. Now the Tories are doing the same to the ‘standing army’ of unemployed for exactly the same reason. THEY realise our potential power, while too many of us still do not, because we are being manipulated to individually feel isolated and disempowered.

        In fact most of the Work Programmes and Jobcentre hoop-jumping is pure psychological warfare designed to MAKE us feel powerless and worthless – while wearing us out physically and mentally.

        But what if the ‘standing army’ decides to mutiny?

        ‘Hard working’ people, paid or not, have weapons such as industrial action and civil disobedience in our hands, and we need to take back our power.

        • That we do…

        • JD’A, thanks for saying that. It was slaves themselves who initiated and succeeded in breaking away from their servitude in the American south – notwithstanding support from anti-slavery campaigners -.

          Someone I’m close to (& have great respect for), found themselves caught in an abusive relationship when still very young (& could not see how to extricate themselves, even with well intentioned attempts to help by several friends, but attempted minimise the risk of ‘incidents’ by not speaking out/taking the responsibility onto themselves. When they did regain their freedom it was after coming to a point where they no longer felt themselves to be at the mercy of the sadistic, manipulative more-than-likely-a-psychopath – who had terrorised them and controlled them some time already. The day arrived (that up until then had seemed unimaginable) when they were able to calmly and with authority, state – “I am no longer scared of you (& I’m no longer going to allow your control/abuse).” They couldn’t NOT say it. The abusive perpetrator instantly understood and accepted this as true, and gave it up.*

          It seems that where fear morphs into various other emotions – a certain numbness; a sense of ‘no longer having any option/nothing to lose? Then acts of ‘mutiny’ are likely and likely to convince.

          * This is one instance of an abuse with – in the end – a fortunate/safe outcome … too many situations don’t end like that & everyone’s story is unique to them. Dealings with the DWP feel more & more to be echoing a controlling/abusive relationship (without in any way wanting to minimise the reality of violent/abusive personal relationships). There are increasing elements of abusive (violent) traits in their every approach and communications towards those they have control over (£££s).

  23. Pingback: Why George Osborne’s Workfare Plans Won’t Work | Launchpad: By and for mental health service users

  24. Rosemarie Harris

    If this lot had a brain between them they would know that most of these things have been tried before and FAILED. They are now judging us the unemployed with themselves but we are stronger and we all know what we have to do!
    Why can’t they just offer us training with enough to cover the extras involved and proper training, If supermarkets want the unemployed working in their store then they should give people enough food for those weeks until the so called training is over after all ,the items in the shops aren’t any cheaper because they have free labour!

    • As I’ve said before, government is big and powerful and gets what it wants. If they wanted to truly help people get paid work they would truly help. This is all just a show to make it look as if they are doing something to help when in fact they are doing the opposite. The reason why is a mystery to me tho… perhaps they wish to incite riots so they can take yet more of our freedoms and rights away. Who knows….

  25. I heard George Ian Smith on the wireless today. Radio 4 News. He was asked by reporter if ppl would get travel costs to attend jobcentres daily. Smiths’ reply. “I’m not going to do that.We expect them to be doing that anyway in their anyway even in their homes. The Attendance centers will be close to where they live. People will not be having to travel long distances.

    And the reporter also stated part of this was about making it tough for ppl who signed on every 2 weeks then went off to work in the cash and hand economy. in between.
    “ids” tells the tory conference it is designed for a small minority of ppl a “Resistant minority” as he call them.
    I would like to see the Jobcenter staff rebel over this idea. But I don’t think they will..not until they have start calling in the police departments or has been suggested already, the fire departments!…but by then it could be too late for some of them! They would be wise to go on strike while they still have the chance.
    The guy and his NEW NAZI pals really haven’t a clue.

    • Punishing the many for the transgressions of the very few. punishing like naughty children no less…
      Perhaps then, time for British people to wake up, grow up, stop hiding away saying “it’s not my job, why should I do anything when it’s not me affected, what does it matter if benefits are being turned into a kind of weapon I’m working… for now…” and stand up to the creeps who have subverted our governmental system and are using it and us for their own greedy purposes.

  26. How, exactly, are people supposed to find employment, when they apply for work but ALWAYS get ignored or rejected? Seriously, HOW? The government should think about doing more to remove the barriers people face in finding work, rather than demonising the unemployed. There have been stories of people sinking into deep depression, often to the point of being suicidal, over their inability to find work, and yet, The Government still seeks to paint those individuals in the light of being lazy, worthless scroungers who are destroying the country. It’s disgusting, degrading and immoral. And we shouldn’t stand for it…

  27. Such discrimination in finding work is particularly problematic for disabled people, it’s a common complaint that people send out dozens and dozens of CVs either themselves, or through such third parties as agencies, but hear noting. When they occasionally get an interview, it’s over in minutes, and they are ultimately turned down.
    As I said, there are barriers to people finding work, major ones. Nothing is ever done to combat these barriers, but government etc are more than willing to be extremely vocal about “tough love” on the unemployed people, along with other benefit claimants, themselves .

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  29. Unfortunately when Beverage ‘gave’ us the Welfare State, it wasn’t really about altruism.

    During the two World Wars of the 20th century, Britain had a terrible problem when conscripting the flower of its youth for cannon fodder. The problem was that a sizeable proportion of young working-class men were tubercular, ailing, malnourished, undersized, and completely unfit for military service.

    The inception of the NHS, improvements in housing, free medicines, vitamins, milk and school dinners, as well as cash benefits, had the agenda of building better soldiers. Girls and women were included because they were potential mothers of soldiers. (All this arose from the same elite obsession with eugenicism that spawned the Hitler Youth and ‘Aryan Supersoldier’ breeding programmes in Germany).

    It was the resultant fit, well nourished coal miners and factory workers who had the energy to mount successful industrial actions in the decades before Thatcher (something their fathers and grandfathers could not have mustered). Marx, Hardie et al. may have started it, but vitamins and high-protein diets did the rest.

    But things have moved on quite a bit since the 1940s with drones, missiles and various remote weaponry, and so millions of disposable squaddies are surplus to requirements.

    And while NeoLibs may want a standing army of unemployed to drive down wages, they do not want one that’s in a position to fight back.

    HENCE THE EUGENICS BASED STRATEGY OF STARVATION (via sanctions and cuts) to break down bodies, paired with the psychological warfare of the Jobcentre and Atos regimes designed to break minds and spirits.


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  31. The main problem with the proposal is from personal experience, I know that the average JobCentre advisor is little more intelligent, qualified and experienced than the poor b*****s trying to find a job. The other commercial organizations like A4E and their sidekick Wheatsheaf Trust are even less competent. If you have few or no skills and you are looking for a basic manual or entry level office job, you might have a chance of them finding you one, but if you have any kind of technical or professional experience, forget it. There are not nearly enough Job Centres, and those that exist are already so overcrowded and overloaded they won’t be able to do anything. The reason that currently you are only required to attend fortnightly is because there would not be room for everyone every day.

    On Monday the BBC interviewed someone who lived 7 miles from his nearest Job Centre and could not afford 5 days fares. Walking there and back would take 3 hours a day. Getting a bus would use what little money he received which should be spent on food for his family and keeping a roof over their heads. What about people who live in rural areas even further from a Job Centre?

    I spent several years first on JSA then on ESA. My previous career had been in IT and I had good experience but I was being repeatedly rejected (in my opinion) because of my age – I was then in my late 50’s – and because I had been out of the job market for a few years, partly through illness and partly through caring for my mother in the last years of her life. The Job Centre were useless. They didn’t remotely understand what work I had done and what I might be able to do, even though I had a professionally written CV. They refused to help me by contacting the employers to ask why I had been rejected for jobs that were apparently a good fit. I was also being rejected by specialist IT agencies because I don’t have a degree. When I started in IT in the late 1970’s, universities were only just starting to offer computer science, and it wasn’t business oriented either. I learned programming by doing the job and a couple of short term college courses.

    On one memorable occasion, the advisor pointed to a job on her screen and asked me why I hadn’t applied for it. It was for a weapons software specialist and required working on submarines. She couldn’t even understand why I fell about laughing.

    Later on, when I was in the ‘work related group’ on ESA, I was assigned to go to an organisation called the Wheatsheaf Trust who were sub-contractors of A4E. They were even more useless than the Job Centre in terms of understanding my skills and experience. Nevertheless I offered to help their other clients with basic IT skills to enable them to search for jobs online. I was told I would need a CRB check which I agreed to take but I couldn’t pay for it. They said they had no funds for it and the Job Centre also refused to fund it. What a waste. It might well also have accelerated my recovery from depression had I had something worthwhile to do.

    I’ve now been on my State Pension for almost 18 months. The final insult was getting a letter from Wheatsheaf Trust a week or two ago ‘inviting’ me to an appointment next month and threatening removal of my benefits if I did not attend. I phoned to inform them of their mistake and they promised me a call back later in the day. They failed to call and apologize for their error. I’m now waiting to miss the appointment and see what happens next. With such bungling incompetence, the long term unemployed have no chance.

    So what do I suggest? Firstly, that ALL companies have to report ALL vacancies to the Job Centre and not just to private employment agencies so that the Gov. can get a true picture of vacancies versus job seekers, and also of specific areas of skills shortage that can then be addressed. Secondly, that the Job Centre staff are assessed and undergo intensive training so that they are better able to work with ALL the unemployed. Thirdly, Mr Duncan Smith did not mention training and education. There are very few people who have no skills or potential skills at all. The Gov have been busy closing down training centres, now they should start to re-open them as destinations for the long term unemployed.

    Putting someone in front of a screen that they don’t have the basic skills to operate for 7 hours a day is a pointless exercise. And yes, even in retirement, provided the Gov. pay for any CRB check I need, I would still be prepared to volunteer to help them, although there must be many unemployed people WITH basic IT skills of working age who could, and should be doing so.

    The glib anti-Tory rhetoric of most of the responses here is just so much hot air, just like we got from Red Ed at his conference and since.

    What the unemployed need is not indiscriminate sanctions and enforced hardship for their families, but real help and real training and as things stand, there is no-one and no organization out there who is up to the task.

    • Jenny Fletcher, ok, but (I don’t recognise your “glib … hot air” observation, or which comments you’re interpreting in that way) . Anyway what you’re saying makes (some) sense – perhaps we oughtn’t to be be looking to prescribe exactly what people have to do pace the DWP though – ie. if they want to do some training – there should be that option, just as there should be (paid) jobs/the removal of A4E/sanctions/letters of ‘doubt’ etc.

  32. 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 http://www.chrisphilp.co.uk says please feel free to get in touch. So that’s what I’ve done.

    Email: philip_chris@hotmail.com

    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

  33. i am looking forward to the job centers reaction when all these people want to use the locked up loo.However i was informed by A4E that they will deal with people attending the new scheme as The DWP dont have the computers or the space.

  34. If the jobs are there as slave labour because 35 hours a week work to earn a sweaty 70 a week on jsa is slave labour then it begs the question why can’t they our wonderful government create these jobs for real. I have no issues with picking up litter at all, nothing is below me but at least give me a living wage, please Mr Osbourne. Not asking much am I. xx

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  39. Hi Guys
    The following link will explain why the government is treating the poor so badly. The UK’s debt is more than Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal.

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  42. Robin The Boy Wonder

    It’ll be like the chain gang at the beginning of Blazing Saddles… ‘Come on, boys! I don’t hear no singin’!’

    Like the Poll Tax riots in 1990, action is needed. These places need to be targeted: DWP, Job Centres (and Osborne getting some stick would be nice!). Everyone always waits until it has happened. Stop this shit before it even starts!

    You know if every single person that suffers at the hands of these bastards joined together and marched on them, they wouldn’t have a hope!

  43. Pingback: Stop Workfare In Its Tracks – Join The Week Of Action 29 March – 6 April 2014 | the void

  44. Pingback: Stop Workfare In Its Tracks – Join The Week Of Action 29 March – 6 April 2014 « Havant Area Disability Acccess Group

  45. Pingback: Stop Workfare In Its Tracks – Join The Week Of Action 29 March – 6 April 2014 » DPAC

  46. Pingback: The tension rises and rises: More stories from the jobcentre | Kate Belgrave

  47. Pingback: They threatened sanctions because they couldn’t read my handwriting | Benefit tales

  48. Pingback: Chaos At The DWP As Bungled Help To Work Scheme Attempts To Launch | the void

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