What A Shambles, Lord Fraud’s Budgeting Support Trials An Embarrassing, Expensive Flop

lord-fraud-freudMinister for Welfare Reform Lord Fraud could do with some budgeting support himself after his recent trial to help benefit claimants manage their money proved to be an embarrassing flop that squandered £4 million of tax payer’s money.

Under Universal Credit all benefits will have to be claimed online, despite many claimants having no access to the internet and some having no experience of using computers.  Benefit payments are also to be made monthly and there is a minimum five week waiting period for new claims.  For the small group of claimants transferred onto the new system this in particular is already causing desperate suffering – a recent evaluation found that almost half of Universal Credit claimants were in rent arrears.

This was not supposed to be a problem according to comedy toff Lord Fraud who is over-seeing much of the introduction of Universal Credit.  A new budgeting support scheme would be set up to help the so-called vulnerable manage their money and teach them to use a computer.  Several trials were established to test how this scheme, named Universal Support, would be supplied.  These trials cost just over £4 million and the results are bleak.  An evaluation of the pilots published today found that Universal Support had “no statistically significant impact on either digital or financial capability.”

Perhaps the biggest flaw in this scheme to help those on Universal Credit manage their finances was that those involved in the trial were not on Universal Credit.  The areas in which the pilots were carried out did not include those places where Universal Credit has been introduced.  So what these trials really tested was the impact of Universal Support on people claiming benefits that are being phased out such as Jobseeker’s Allowance.  This meant that the pilots had to sort of pretend that participants were about to claim Universal Credit when they weren’t.  According to the evaluation this presented a significant barrier to people wishing to take up the support, which was offered by local councils, advice agencies and Jobcentres.  As one support workers involved in the trial said “Trying to get them to understand a system that’s not in place that may or may not apply to them at any given time is not very easy to do .”

Some Jobcentres of course managed to find a way round this reluctance amongst claimants to take part in the trials.  In a chilling example of how Jobcentre Work Coaches mislead and coerce claimants the evaluation reported that “Carmarthenshire and Dundee both reported that it was easier to encourage claimants to engage through Jobcentre Plus because they thought that the support was part of their Claimant Commitment.”  Several participants in the trials said they only took part because they thought it was mandatory.  In truth it was only in Islington that those carrying out the trial had the power to mandate claimants to attend under the threat of benefit sanction.

In the end just over half of those (51%) referred to Universal Support chose not to take it up.  Amongst those that did two key problems emerged which point to a worrying future.  The first impacted on those requiring help with using computers.  Both staff and participants involved in the trials said that many claimants depend on mobile phone for internet access, with one reporting “‘I would say the majority of the people we see have a mobile but many of them (a) can’t use it or (b) can’t pay for their broadband connection or (c) can’t pay it, don’t have the money to pay for a call or don’t have one at all.”  A further problem was that in more rural areas internet access is still limited and superfast broadband is rare.  Universal Credit is set to be ‘digital by default’.  If claimants cannot access the internet then they will not be able to manage their claim.

The second problem emerged amongst claimants accessing budgeting support.  The evaluation found that the most significant problem facing this group was not that they needed help learning to budget but simply that they didn’t have enough money.  As one person involved in managing the scheme said “It’s not a capacity issue in terms of actually being able to do the sums or being able to understand when to pay what when…what comes out is actually they just don’t have enough money to get from one of the months to the other.”

The evaluation does report that there were some ‘soft outcomes’ as a result of attending the scheme, with some claimants reporting a positive impact in areas of their lives which were unconnected to budgeting or computer skills.  This may reflect the fact many of the scheme were run as part of a wider package of support which also looked into areas such as housing, health, and of course employability.  The results of the overall evaluation of the scheme however found it made no difference in people’s ability to access IT or manage their money – although the researchers caution that only the short term effects of the scheme could be studied so far.  A cost/benefit analysis of the trial therefore showed that the £4 million spent on Universal Support was squandered, with no demonstrable benefits either to the public or the claimants themselves.

Just over 4000 people were referred onto Universal Support and actually took up the offer and engaged with services.  Many of them faced significant financial hardship and debt.  If Lord Fraud had better budgeting skills then he could have used that £4 million to chuck everybody a grand and actually give them some real help for a change.  But help is the last thing you can expect from a social security system devised by a former banker who has never been elected to anything.  Of course this will never affect Lord Fraud himself, who is a very rich man.  So the next time he wants to inflict a half-baked vanity scheme on benefit claimants he should fucking pay for it himself.

You can read the evaluation at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/evaluation-of-the-universal-support-delivered-locally-trials

This blog has no sources of funding so here’s a quick reminder that you can help ensure it continues by making a donation.

Join me on facebook or follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

89 responses to “What A Shambles, Lord Fraud’s Budgeting Support Trials An Embarrassing, Expensive Flop

  1. Yet another utter failure from a Government that wouldn’t understand – and don’t want to understand – the poverty trap, even if it hit them in the face 😦

    • Universal credit is an absolute travesty, a disgrace to humanity, ive been on it for just under 3 months as a former tax paying contributor ive been forced to live on the equivalent of just under 25 quid a week over a third of which was in the form of an advance so im now in debt and future payments, assuming there has not been an error in processing which has so far occurred every time will be vastly reduced trapping me in a vicious circle of debt, dealing with their phone staff is a chilling insight into the 21st century and as for the work coaches good luck in ever actually seeing one, they occasionally phone and ask for a few company names that they can note in their system as these poor out of touch with reality people dont want the security of their little civil service bubble breached by contact with their ” clients”. At all stages of your claim you can expect to be mucked around misinformed disinformed outright lied to by a never ending and employed series of cognitiveley dissonant phone monkeys who have clearly had little or no training and cant get those pesky 16 billions worth of IT systems working, indeed after 3 months of this extensive psychological torture im about ready for a session with freud! ………analyse this you twat!

      • I hear this so often now, Starvin Marvin, and it breaks my heart to read of the penury, stress, and sheer bloody-mindedness ordinary people have to cope with, just for daring to be out of work or, even worse, fall ill, or become disabled! 😦
        The sooner this government is toppled, and things are brought back to how they should be, the better 😦 People who have voted for all these awful changes should be careful, as nobody knows when they might have to claim nowadays! 😦

    • A benefits update from up here in bonny scotland. Our totally hopeless naive and inexperienced scottish govt who still want to be independent but join the e.u ( that is a fucking non sequitur if ever there was one ) despite westminster virtually giving our govt total control of our affairs were away in Gibraltar when that sausage faced pig humper that formerly resided in number 10 before his bottle crashed and he took the tony blair escape hatch to the really big bucks gave them power over our benefits, hooray we can end this nightmare as soon as nicola sturgeon comes back from chasing 4 potential votes for independence ( idiocracy ) from expats in gibraltar. At any rate someone in govts head was plucked from someones asshole and they have finally deigned to look at the benefits system, so far their recommendations include not using the word benefits as that leads to the perception much loved by channel 5 that the unemployed are living it up in a giro disneyland of free cash big fridges full sky package and prescription drugs of the diazepam family………….and……..errr……….thats about it really. Its about time channel 5 turned the camera round the other way for a look at the real parasites in society, like the royal family for a start!

        • Thanks for the response Katythenightowl. This website has provided me with some much needed catharsis! its a boost to morale knowing that theres still a human race out there

          • I know 🙂
            I’m disabled and housebound, and my hubby is my carer, so we’re in the thick of it, so-to-speak, although we haven’t had to deal with Universal Credit {spit, spit} so far, as I believe it’s only being dished out to more ‘easy’ clients, such as singletons, or married with no children? {excuce me while I laugh}!
            I really hope Scotland can get it together and succeed, as I’m in Wales, and we’re looking closely at you all 🙂

            • Hi Katythenightowl, my heart goes out to you and your husband, I know people in similiar situations and have seen them messed around by atos etc, I once went with a friend with mobility problems to a dwp medical a few years ago and it was barbaric. Unfortunately a lot of scots are seduced by the romantic fictional version of scottish independence, its a nice dream but not much of a reality and unfortunately its often the worst of scotland that are behind the snp, patriotism being the last refuge of the scoundrel! These people think we are oil rich which is factually not the case and much of the arguments for independence are based on wishful thinking, so far the snp have failed to deliver on any of their pledges but whats new! Having left the e.u I think its important the welsh , irish and scots work with england for the benefit of all but unfortunately thats a bit idealistic of me! There are an incredible amount of manafactured divisions in society.

  2. The cuntservatives always have been and always will be about keeping the rich rich and making the poor poorer!
    They see it as a sport.
    We elected a shiny faced arse of a man into power who fucked a pig’s head to get into a club whose entire purpose was the villification of the working classes….maybe we’re the idiots.

  3. Maybe Freud will be dispensed with after the election of a new Conservative leader. He was, after all, primarily, David Cameron’s “welfare expert”. Freud’s sell by date is way past due. Time for somebody to put him out of our misery.

  4. JV

    Excellent as always.

    DWP Press office please note:

    The second problem emerged amongst claimants accessing budgeting support. The evaluation found that the most significant problem facing this group was not that they needed help learning to budget but simply that they didn’t have enough money. As one person involved in managing the scheme said “It’s not a capacity issue in terms of actually being able to do the sums or being able to understand when to pay what when…what comes out is actually they just don’t have enough money to get from one of the months to the other.”

    That in itself tells the real story of this sorry – ongoing, and it will get worse saga, There is no getting around that [using Trumpism here] ‘Yuuuggggee’ hole in benefit payments system. Not enough money – therefore its set too low.





    ……………..and now the politicians are trying to erase the fact that we went to war without UN backing


    “A new budgeting support scheme would be set up to help the so-called vulnerable manage their money”

    …………..not once have i been contacted by the DWP, despite writing (recorded delivery) to five different officials over four years ago.

    Saving money, not disabled lives, is the remit of a state killing machine hellbent on handing our welfare system into the hands of the parasitic healthcare giants such as ATOS, CAPITA and MAXIMUS………..




    It may be helpful to explain that DWP Decision Makers (DM) do not make the decision as to
    whether a person needs to attend a Work Capability Assessment (WCA) or Personal
    Independence Payment (PIP) Assessment.




    Extract from decision makers guide

    Referring a claimant for a medical
    Reference by DM
    Before making a decision on a claim for, or entitlement to a relevant benefit (except
    where an IfW, LCW or LCWRA determination is required) the DM may refer the
    claimant to a HCP approved by the Secretary of State for an examination and report.
    The DM may make the referral at the initial, revision or supersession stage of a
    claim. The claimant is referred only when a medical examination is
    obtain information to enable the DM to reach a decision on the claim or entitlement
    to benefit
    1 SS Act 98, s 19(1)




    Why do we have parliaments at all if a lone figure can pass a law that places wicked changes to Labour laws on it’s citizens?

    It is all sounding too familiar…..

    Why are people elected to purport to give your aspirations, if at all?

    We are being shit on by an elite, a cabal that represents the greediest cunt’s on earth ………………….

    The french ought to be storming parliament, dragging out the perpetrators and putting their heads on the block. We should be doing the same……………..

    Chilcott’s much diluted biography of a War Criminal has just been released.
    A giant fairy story where those implicated in savage butchery have been given the option to redact the juicy bits that will save themselves from the gallows.

    Blair should be made to pay for the lives he took by entering a war based on bullshit.
    Blair had a position of trust that he decided to abuse in order to try and improve his standing in the eyes of the electorate. Similar to Thatcher taking divisive action to sink the Belgrano whilst still outside the exclusion zone………….

    Dodgy Tony will be hounded, as will our security services who rallied to his side to sell fiction to our people…………….

    Meanwhile Syria is just another accident waiting to happen. Our people voted for no boots on the ground but the likes of Fallon have seen fit to ignore your request to venture for oil and gas and a resulting orgy of migration and innocent deaths.

    Fallon should also be dragged out and made to explain which cartels are pulling his strings.

  9. The smugly c3nt Tony Bliar finally admits he was a complete t0sser over his involvement in the Iraqi War


    If ever there was a leading terrorist evading justice, then he needs capturing by the S.A.S and thus hanged from a tree feet first.

  10. Off Topic: Read an article that said Tony Bliar has a team of 8 security guards guarding him round the clock. Imagine being that detested!!

  11. Rosemarie Harris

    Like most rich people who claim benefit he is a rich and greedy person who knows nothing about us he thinks we are like him so are claiming our £300.00 per day to talk bollocks ….you know what i will talk about the one brain cell rich person for £200 a day this is called market forces but it’s about time people like him started to do some voluntary work and see what life is really about instead of being as thick as shit if UC is all empowering then let the MP.s and lords take part in the form filling …..It’s their rules they should be the first to use it.



    During his career Freud cost the tax payer a fortune when he botched the Eurotunnel flotation in a deal he describes as a ‘shambles’ and claims he ‘sold the market a pup’. He did a similar thing with the Eurodisney flotation, costing investors millions. Asked to handle the flotation of doomed company Railtrack, Freud priced the shares at £3.50 despite them being worth over four times that figure. Freud remained a senior figure at SG Warburg helping to oversee the collapse of the investment bank in 1995 when it was taken over by the Swiss Bank Corporation.

    David Freud’s omni-shambles career is best summed up by himself:

    “Nearly everything I’ve done has been total chaos. I cannot believe it’s just because of me.”




    Asked whether his wealth meant that he could not understand life on benefits, he replied: “You don’t have to be the corpse to be at the funeral.”

    Another was when he suggested more people were using food banks because there were more food banks. The other was his suggestion that the children of families affected by the “bedroom tax” could use a sofa bed when visiting a separated parent.

  13. Im posting this to tell you my little story:

    I am on Universal Credit. I have been on it since October 2015 and due to many circumstances im struggling to get a job. On my first interview I was indeed offered a budgetting course – I said no. I have a degree in finance and IT.

    I never signed up for Universal Credit for the first week, I was a bit depressed when my job became redundant and thought i could quickly slot into another job via an agency. Mistake there on my part, as that meant that it was a 6 week wait before recieving any money, and also 2weeks no pay at all.

    It took me months to get back ontop again, just to be ‘slightly’ ahead of my bills. Universal Credit says you get paid for the month previous, but many bills want paying for the month you are going to use. Hence the dilema.

    Its all good offering budgeting courses, but once you pay your bills, there is sweet FA left to budget with. My car MOT is in 12 hours time. Ive got my fingers/toes crossed that there is nothing major to be done – otherwise im stuffed.

    The money one gets from JSA/ESA/UC etc is just enough for day to day expenses – if you are fruggle and tight. But when something big goes wrong or is needed then it becomes fun (sarcasm there)

    So im giving the two finger salute to this government and saying a big FUCK YOU.

    Thanks for reading.

    • Arthur Daley M.O.T's Centre

      [sharp intake of breath] “I’m sorry mate, your big end has gone 😦 ” [shakes head] “It’ll cost you 🙂 “

    • Yes. Universal Credit allows you to afford food and drink but not more expensive things like utility bills easily. So I’ve had to do things like saving my bath water to flush my lavatory and eat more unheated food to save on water and electricity bills. If I’m not working this winter I will have no heating because UC won’t stretch to it. I’m currently losing about a stone in weight a month (good in the beginning, but less good now) because I’ve had to cut down drastically on food.

      Where this is going to end I have no idea.

      I hope I can find a job soon.

      Universal Credit makes an awful situation almost unbearable.

      • Dissidentdiva

        Iris – “Universal Credit makes an awful situation almost unbearable”
        That’s the idea behind it. To starve us into submission.
        Being out of work isn’t a crime – but we are made to feel like it is.
        The onus is on the ‘jobseeker’ to find jobs, regardless of an over-subscribed labour market. This gives Employers a free hand to impose 0 hours contracts and worsening terms and conditions.All in the endless pursuit of profit for Big Corp.
        This is why I am an anarchist.

    • Jobseeker’s Allowance, along with the other 5 benefits are being phased out and merged into one monthly Universal Credit payment jobcentre by jobcentre. Anybody leaving temporary work now through redundancy will be put straight onto UC, if they were previously on JA before started work.

      Before I got back into work I was on JA. If I don’t get to renew my contract for a full one – I am currently now a few weeks into a temporary three-month probationary contract – I will be back at the JCP and put straight onto the new incoming benefit payments automatically.

  14. The government has no excuse whatsoever for this shambles. The third sector among others has been warning them from the outset that UC was going to create massive problems for the poorest and most vulnerable in society but they have arrogantly ignored all the warnings. UC is a disaster across the board. It was only introduced as a way of covering up deep cuts in welfare and as part of a long term plan to privatise welfare. The Tories obsession with removing the state from every facet of welfare and health provision has even had them touting the possibility of Churches and Charities being responsible for supplying these essential services. It’s no wonder they look longingly back to the Victorian era. That was a time of great suffering for the poor and in those days it was indeed the Churches and a few rich philanthropists who made sure the poorest had some help. However it was never enough and poverty disease and slum housing was the norm. The mind boggles that any decent human being could want us to return to those dark days, but with the Tory mindset anything is possible. I have had many discussions with committed Tories and the most common response is sadly this “I am only responsible for myself and my family” “It’s for other people to look after themselves”. One day they may through sickness or financial disaster regret those views when they find the welfare state destroyed and nobody there to help them.

    • Dissidentdiva

      Truth T – Spot on, “Dog eat dog”. “I’m alright Jack” – not the sort of society I want to live in – but here we are. Citizens only valued as economic units, not as individuals with as much right to a pleasant life as those who garner monetary wealth.
      A sick money-focussed ideology with the Tories as Doctor, Big Corp as Senior Physician.

  15. People without computers can access through their public library – except libraries have been closed down all over the place, and library staff cannot coach everyone in the use of computers, especially untrained volunteers.

    • Dissidentdiva

      Ah, money to be made here. Mandatory computer courses for claimants – run by private business, of course. Claimants allowed to ‘borrow’ computer use for a ‘nominal’ fee. Kerching! take claimants money, put it where it belongs……in poverty porn profiteers pockets.

    • Talking about computers in libraries reminded me of the other major problem with claiming UC online. The website times out too quickly and information is lost requiring the claimant to start the claim all over again. I am sure others on this blog can enlighten us to how often that happens. Or maybe the government has solved this problem now?

    • The DWP wants all un-employed people to do a minimum 35 hours a week jobseeking. What if these people cannot afford or have their own internet and computers on just £73.10 a week, and also the local library limits them to just a maximum 2 hours a day public computer access? Then these people have been f9cked over as usual by heartless government b4st4rds.

  16. Some future we’re headed for. yet more control. bit by bit.

    Prepaid benefit cards may be closer than you think – report

    A small-scale trial found that “prepaid cards have the potential to promote financial inclusion and independence”, concluding “it would be feasible for DWP to carry out a more extensive trial of using prepaid cards to support vulnerable claimants”.



      A comment at the base of the page enigma…………

      Alison Piearcey • 12 hours ago

      Which bank is sponsoring this? “Set up Direct Debits” no-one with any sense on benefits of any kind sets up a DD, since one can rely on neither the DWP nor the local Housing dept to pay on time. At £25 a pop for “oh, we decided not to pay to today for ” that’s a whole week of not eating, in order that the bank can make more profit! “bank account full of overdraft and fees” Then offer the help the CAB do on getting access to your own money, setting up payment plans etc. “discounts for using online/ paying by card” which you can do with any of the Basic accounts which all banks are obliged to have, and are required to provide to anyone on benefits in order to have somewhere to pay your dole/ HB /PIP etc into (they stopped doing paper Giros over a decade ago) – even if these accounts are badly publicized.

      Since we’re on the topic of sponsorship – how much is my small business going to be given to buy the machine to take these cards? We have a market stall, and our market will need to hire another generator if every stall needs a card machine. That’s about £60 a month. NMTF features 1124 markets – some of which are weekly, but a few will have power so call it around £60,000 a month – plus a upfront costs to buy the machines (which can easily be a hundred quid each, say twenty for each market? That’s another £2,248,000. That’s before you consider discount stores; charity shops; car boot sales and buses – y’know, the places poor folk might want to shop. The answer is, we won’t get bubkiss, and so won’t be able to have customers who are on benefits. Our Market depends on the local community to support around twenty people – without revenue from benefit recipients (or ‘most people’ as we know them), we could easily all go out of business.

      Plan on the level of shooting self in foot to help shoes breathe.

    • The prepaid benefit cards idea has been around for a while. The government likes this idea because it gives them the chance to control those in receipt of benefits to a higher degree. The thinking behind this is that the cards can only be used to buy certain items deemed acceptable by the government. so if you wanted to buy alcohol you couldn’t. No one of course knows where the interference would end because all sorts of items could be barred such as Ice Cream as an example. The reasoning behind that would be benefit claimants have no right to luxury items. Any change in this direction would put us on a slippery slope to outright discrimination. Not that it would bother the Tories of course, double standards is part of the philosophy they endorse.

    • This goes against the whole idea of Universal Credit which was supposed to make people responsible for how they spend their money, e.g., paying rent money direct to them and making them responsible for paying it to their landlord personally. So I doubt whether payment cards will ever happen except for claimants who have shown that they can’t manage their own funds.





        A BENEFITS officer and her son have been arrested over suspicions she tampered with claims to steal money.

        Police turned up on the doorstep of a home on Broomfield Mews, Pitsea, yesterday morning as part of a criminal investigation at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

        The officers were joined by department investigators.

        The 48-year-old woman, who is understood to work as a benefits officer, was arrested at 6.15am on suspicion of theft by employee and an offence under the Misuse of Computers Act.



        • Quote


          On that basis then, the DWP are not staffed by competent people but instead by money launderers and tax fraudsters on day release work experience from prison.

  17. UC has been an absolute and expensive disaster, what else would you expect from the tories, this was doomed to failure right from the get go and should now be scrapped before it hurts any more people!

    • Universal c0ck-up should be the correct name for this shambles. By the way why call it Universal Credit when it is only available to Planet Earth and in particular only open to the UK? This discriminates against any alien from the planet Mars or Neptune, or further afield in the big wide universe seeking to gain employment here and thus requiring money for the time being.

      • Spaced-out Traveller

        Try going to Alpha Centaur or one of the galaxies in the Magellanic Cloud and try making a claim for benefits. You would have more luck in Poland or Romania and that is saying something.

      • Spaced-out Traveller

        As Jim Royle would say: “Universal Credit, My Arse!”

      • Spaced-out Traveller

        And does “Universal” Credit even take into account multi-universes? Like fuck it does!






  19. Accident Waiting to Happen

    Breaking news…




    If you turn to BBC Parliament (the tory news base), a Labour MP is seeking a bill to examine human rights abuse and war crimes in Sri Lanka…………..

    Strange how the powers that be ignore the human rights breaches of our own citizens by our own government upon it’s citizens, but recognise them thousands of miles away at the same time as we offer safe domain to some of history’s most prolific war criminals, Tony Blair, Jack Straw and Peter Goldsmith…………

  21. While we look one way, there is plenty to be vigilant about elsewhere.

    1. Austerity policies breach the UK’s human rights obligations
    2. Child poverty has spiked
    3. Delayed state pension for hundreds of thousands of women
    4. Children with mental health problems are being denied treatment
    5. The DWP is delaying the release of benefit death reports (again)


    • The DWP now that if and when they do decide to release their “death by JSA sanction” figures, they will be torpedoed both by the government and public and forced to hand out automatic compensation claims running into the millions to families affected.

      • ISA account balances are all automatically reported to HMRC/DWP (this is how a lot of claimants get busted)… so if you ever find yourself back on the rock ‘n’ roll…. 😉

        • And banks work hand in glove with the DWP scum. Your banking details are considered sacrosanct and personal. Not when it comes to the DWP vermin it seems.

          DWP + JCP = SCUM.

  22. Pingback: What A Shambles, Lord Fraud’s Budgeting Support Trials An Embarrassing, Expensive Flop | sideshowtog

  23. *off-topic*

    I thought this would be of note. Since I now have more money going in my bank each week than previously under the meagre governmental scraps thrown in my direction, my bank now wants me to take out an ISA account. No wonder banks make tons of money for themselves out of people simply having accounts with them. They (my bank) can f2ck off as I have no intention of changing my current banking arrangements from something I can easily manage to something where I will end up having to pay interest charges each month for having something that will make my bank’s business profit grow .

    • ISA account balances are all automatically reported to HMRC/DWP (this is how a lot of claimants get busted)… so if you ever find yourself back on the rock ‘n’ roll……😉

  24. Council tax debt collection tactics pushing people further into the red

    Citizens Advice report highlights how some councils add extra charges to a debt, send in bailiffs and take court action before trying to arrange repayment plans.


  25. Meanwhile the Future of Work.

    The world of work is in flux as a result of digitisation, the development of the digital economy and broad technological change. These processes, coupled with globalisation, population ageing and changes in work organisation, will shape the world of work and raise challenges to public policy in unknown ways.

    OECD analyses have begun to understand the relationship between digitalisation, jobs and skills, the magnitude of potential job substitution due to technological change, the relationship between globalisation and wage polarisation, as well as the changes to the organisation of work. With a focus on policy, the OECD is looking at the challenges these trends place on labour market, skills and social policy.




    Jobcentre staff broke the rules ‘to hit targets for forcing people off benefits’

    The allegations appear in a report on claimants who were taken off jobseekers’ allowance – only to be slipped cash from another fund

    JobCentre staff were told to force people off benefits

    Jobcentre staff were told to meet targets for getting people off benefits by using “aggressive” tactics and breaking the rules, it has been claimed.

    The shock allegations appear in a report on claimants who were taken off jobseekers’ allowance – only to be slipped cash from another fund to plug the gap.

    Two Jobcentre workers were sacked in 2013 for misusing the Flexible Support Fund, designed for travel, childcare and clothes, to make up for five claimants’ lost benefits.

    The Department for Work and Pensions said the employees in Plaistow, east London, were an exception and a review of 1,834 cases found little other misuse of the fund.

    But the two workers said they behaved the way they did because “managers encouraged aggressive approaches” to meet targets, “including falsely signing claimants off benefits and using the Fund to cover gaps”, the National Audit Office report reveals.
    Stephen Timms MP
    Stephen Timms MP has warned of a culture of “great pressure”

    The sacked workers’ local MP Stephen Timms warned they were victims of a culture of “great pressure” to get people off benefits “by hook or by crook”.

    The Labour MP told the Mirror: “This report makes public what was going on as a result of the great pressure being imposed on Jobcentres by hook or by crook to get people off jobseekers’ allowance.

    “I will not be happy until the two dedicated members of staff are reinstated.”

    The number of pensioners who handed back their winter fuel payment revealed

    The report showed how eight of 66 staff in Plaistow Jobcentre claimed they were “under pressure” to meet new higher targets for getting people off benefits.

    “The staff reported that, from March 2013, the culture in the jobcentre changed, with a greater focus on targets,” the NAO report said.
    Oldham East and Saddleworth MP Debbie Abrahams
    Oldham East and Saddleworth MP Debbie Abrahams is calling for a change

    “Some staff were reported to have been placed on or threatened with being placed on action plans for performance improvement.”

    When the DWP probed the claims it asked the district manager – who “recalled no evidence of management pressure or unapproved working practices.”

    But the damning NAO report said: “Pressure to achieve targets inherently increases the risk of unapproved practices”.

    New Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Debbie Abrahams said: “The culture and leadership in the DWP are driving targets to get claimants ‘off-flow’ at all costs and this is having an adverse effect on the functioning of Jobcentre Plus as well as on claimants.

    “I have repeatedly called for a change in DWP targets and the new Secretary of State should now listen.”
    Gareth Fuller/PA Job Centre Plus branch
    People are being forced off benefits

    The DWP’s probe, on which the NAO report is based, did not investigate pressure to meet targets more widely because it looked at misuse of the Flexible Support Fund instead.

    A DWP spokesman said: “The report contains no new evidence, and simply summarises the results of our own extensive investigation which found that this was an isolated incident in a network of over 700 jobcentres.

    “Our work coaches do a great job supporting people into work and contributing to the record levels of employment.”

    • Do you have a link to that Geoff.

    • So the DWP staff are victims of a “pressure culture”, so are excused of any wrong doing or theft, even by Labour MPs
      Flexible support fund? what has that got to do with “pressure culture”?

      A DWP spokesman said ” Theft within the DWP is fine, so long as you don’t get caught”.

    • The hell they do(n’t).



  28. there is a petition on 38 degrees
    to expel tony blair from the labour party.

  29. I saw my Work Coach yesterday at the Jobcentre. He flipped through a stack of jobs on paper printouts and said: “Ah! Here’s a cleaning job at the university. It’s only nine hours a week but better than nothing.” (I actually went to that university when much younger and won two degrees there.)

    Now I live about six miles away from the uni and the job consisted of three three hour sessions (Monday, Wednesday, Friday) from 6.00am to 9.00am. The job was minimum wage so the maximum I could earn would be 9 x £7.20 = £64.80 but because I’m on Universal Credit would lose 65% of this ending up with £22.68. (On Jobseeker’s Allowance you are allowed to earn up to £100.00, I believe, without losing benefit.) Now, I’ve got no transport of my own but the bus from, roughly, where I live to the uni and back costs £4.60 per day: deducting travel costs from my earnings from this job would leave me with the princely sum of £8.88 for nine hours labour.

    The only reason I was not made to go for this job is that the bus service doesn’t run before 6.00am or I suppose I would have to have applied for this absolutely shit position.

    Better than nothing?

    What are these Work Coaches on?

    • “(On Jobseeker’s Allowance you are allowed to earn up to £100.00, I believe, without losing benefit.)” Eh?! On JSA you are allowed to earn £5 knicker a week. Anything above that is deducted £ for £.

      • Yes. that’s right. I got that wrong. It must have been some other benefit I was thinking of. This is the first time I’ve had to claim benefit and went straight onto Universal Credit.

    • ESA has a higher earnings disregard? Think it might be the case that on ESA you are allowed to earn £100 and pocket it?

      • £100 a week. JSA is defo a fiver though! What kind of job would that be? An minimum wage job for 45 minutes a week?!

        • This is correct. So Universal Credit is slightly better than Jobseeker’s Allowance but not really in any way that matters. If you work while receiving either benefit you will lose most of your earnings and remain on the bone of your arse.

        • Interestingly, in the Netherlands you can work for 20 hours a week whilst on the Dutch equivalent of JSA and pocket it 🙂 And in Luxembourg you would trouser €30,000 a year JSA so probably wouldn’t need to work 😀

      • @Pee Dant
        “Think it might be the case that on ESA you are allowed to earn £100 and pocket it?” if the rules are the same as Incapacity Benefit (£90pw) it’s only for six months. When I was on IB I could earn £25pw indefinitely under the permitted work concession.

        • What you are thinking of is called permitted and Supported permitted work. On these schemes you can earn £20 per week before they start withdrawing other payments or if you are in the Support group of ESA you can now earn £115.50 per week without loss. However if you can get a paid job under the Supported permitted scheme it is better as you can continue after 12 months if still in the support group. It’s better if you are in receipt of Income based ESA as then your earnings are disregarded and you keep most or all otherwise you get taxed as they add your ESA on to your earnings. More info is here.


          Of course this being a Tory Government new claimants to Universal Credit won’t qualify for income based benefits in the same manner due to the way the differing elements of it are implemented and so will get mugged, and have to pay tax on those meagre earnings. But that won’t come as a surprise to anyone on this forum. The whole ethos of the Tories is to get working class people to work longer hours for overall less reward. A bit like legalised slavery. One other thing that I am a bit unsure of is that under UC you don’t get covered for Class 1 NI, but Class 3 NI which could mean lower pension cover. I don’t know if this is still the case but some experts noticed this little scam the Tories thought they would sneak through.

          • Here is the National insurance tables and yes it appears it’s class 3 for UC


          • @Truth Teller
            I’m stating what was in force when I was on Incapacity Benefit, not ESA. Back then it was “permitted work” and one difference from the earlier “therapeutic work” was that a GP didn’t have to authorise it. Under permitted work there were three schemes – I was on the middle one, unlimited hours as long as I didn’t exceed £20pw, however as I worked as self-employed I had to submit accounts every quarter and my takings averaged to reach a weekly income. During the days of Invalidity Benefit one’s GP had to support a request to be allowed to undertake therapeutic work. However in both cases a DHSS Adjudication Officer had to approve the work (under DWP, now known as a Decision Maker). Fortunately I’m now out of all that.

    • Who the fuck in their right mind would want to get up at the crack of dawn to earn £2.96 for working for 3 hours!

      • Plus a twelve mile journey there and back with a lot of hanging about at bus stops waiting for transport, a pretty shit thing to have to do for the best part of forty-five minutes, in the pissing down rain and cold in winter.

        Seriously though these Work Coaches are absolute idiots aren’t they?

        Nine hours a week, split over three separate sessions, starting at the crack of dawn, several miles away from home, for less than a tenner’s reward! Better get used to it folks, this is just the kind of “mini-job” that Freud and Co., want people to suffer several of instead of instead of one full-time well paid position. Looks like many of us are going to end up working from dawn to dusk, seven days a week, to keep our heads above water.

  30. Dissidentdiva

  31. paultheswineherd

    Look at this! – A Government “New Skills Plan” – I really pity many of today’s youngsters – often, if they do not come from ‘rich’ or ‘relatively rich’ families – then their ‘life chances’ can oftentimes be very badly affected.
    If a “New Government Plan” is mooted – then, (if it is even introduced!) will probably be doomed to be a miserable failure, together with the wastage of yet more millions of taxpayer’s cash!

  32. Excellent idea to “chuck everybody a grand and actually give them some real help for a change”. My preference would be a savings ‘cushion’ with their local credit union, with perhaps half of it (£500) functioning as a loan guarantee scheme in exchange for help with budgeting. I would then conduct a cost/benefit analysis on how quickly this grand disappeared to set more equitable benefit levels.

    • It’s not so very long ago (about 12/15 years) jcp- would provide lone parents with a weekly additonal amount – it was £40/week – for 12 months on rejoining paid work post unemployment in recognition of the costs involved after a time on such a low income. It was a ‘civilised’ idea & a great help – of course, now scrapped rather than extended to others/continued or being increased.

  33. Nice video here:

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s