The department’s latest six monthly report shows that £7.7 billion was spent on administration costs in 2013/14 compared to £4.3 billion on Jobseeker’s Allowance, othwerwise known as the dole. In the current year administration spending is expected to hit £8 billion, whilst spending on JSA is forecast to fall to £3.7 billion as hundreds of thousands of people are bullied off benefits with sanctions and workfare.
The DWP is a big department, and this colossal spend also includes administration of pensions, sickness, housing and disability benefit spending. But with around 750 Jobcentres around the UK and 78,000 employees, (according to The Guardian in 2010) it seems likely the biggest bulk of this spending goes on paying the salaries of Jobcentre busybodies and their happy clappy over-paid managers. On top of this over a billion goes to ‘Employment Programmes’ meaning money shovelled into the pockets of private welfare-to-work providers like A4e and G4S.
Increased conditionality for benefits means Jobcentre staff spend most of their time bullying and harassing claimants by forcing them to sign on everyday or pretend to spend hours using the dreadful Universal Jobmatch website. And their managers are there to ruthlessly police the benefit sanction targets they pretend don’t exist by threatening any worker who isn’t being enough of a ruthless cold-hearted bastard that week with diciplinary action.
If this conditionality was stripped away and welfare-to-work profiteers sacked, then it seems likely most of George Osborne’s planned social security cuts could come from administration alone. Or instead of blowing the budget on bullying, Jobcentres could go back to processing benefits claims and providing genuine and non-coercive help with finding work, training and education for those that want it. Or they could double the dole.
But don’t hold your breath, the benefit system is no longer there as a safety net to protect people in the event of sickness, unemployment or disability. Instead it exists to dicipline the entire workforce, by turning unemployment into a living hell so that people accept the shit wages and working conditions that come with modern capitalism. And that comes at a high price, not just to the Treasury, but to all those forced to use foodbanks this Christmas because they were sanctioned for being ten minutes late to a meeting with the Jobcentre.
You can read the report at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/dwp-mid-year-report-april-2014-to-september-2014
That’s all for a few days, Happy Christmas!
This blog has no sources of funding so here’s a quick reminder that you can help ensure it continues by making a donation.