Category Archives: DWP

Mustn’t Embarrass The Queen: DWP Blank Out Statistics Rather Than Admit To The Failure Of Workfare

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In the Queen’s speech this morning power crazed Elizabeth Windsor announced that her Government – her fucking Government – would introduce a new mass workfare scheme for those under 21.

She also claimed that new measures would lead to full employment, but what she really means is that people will be forced to work for the pittance of benefits.  Who’d have thought it?  The Queen of fucking England demanding her subjects labour full time for barely enough money to even eat.  Nothing changes, unless we make it change.

What she probably doesn’t know, although David Cameron does, is that workfare schemes are on the brink of collapse.  Most decent charities don’t want to be involved with workfare anymore after realising the horrifying impact of benefit sanctions inflicted on those who don’t want to work for free.  According to the latest Labour Market Statistics there were less people on unpaid work schemes in the latest recorded period than there were at the end of Labour’s administration five years ago.  Community Work Placements – which comprise of six months forced work – have now been in place over a year yet the DWP has been too scared to release any statistics at all concerning how many people have actually been on the scheme, and crucially, got a job at the end of it.

Mandatory Work Activity (MWA) – the four week short sharp shock of forced work which people can be sent on from the first day of their claim – has been a dismal failure.  So dismal that the DWP, who were due to release statistics on MWA today, decided to leave the table blank (pdf) in the part of the statistical release which would have told us how many people have started on the scheme in each of the latest six months.

No doubt the DWP will say this was all a terrible mistake, after all they are nothing if not incompetent. But it was a very convenient error, coming on the day the Government announced new workfare measures.  Luckily we can actually work out the total number of people who started on MWA in the six months between August 2014 and February 2015 by looking at the previously release and comparing the total.  It comes to 13,010, or 2,170 people a month, by far the lowest figures over a six month period so far.  And now they claim they are going to find hundreds of thousands of new workfare positions for young people.  They are living in a fucking dream world.  The pressure on workfare exploiters must be kept up.  But the fact they are so desperate to hide the truth about workfare shows that we are winning.

UPDATE (as spotted by @refuted): The DWP have now corrected the statistics and the figures are available.  They confirm the collapse of MWA with just 1,470 starts on the scheme in December 2014, the lowest figure so far and down from over 4000 a month at the start of 2013.

Come to the Welfare Action Gathering this Saturday 30th May hosted by Boycott Workfare.

UK Uncut are also out on the streets this weekend, keep an eye on their website for full details.

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Important Information: DWP Finally Admits To ESA Sanction Safeguarding Policy

esa-sanctionsSickness benefit claimants with a mental health condition who have been forced to attend the Work Programme should not have their benefits sanctioned without a face to face meeting first the DWP have finally admitted.

This important clarification, which could mean many people have been wrongly sanctioned, was finally published in an amendment to the Work Programme Provider Guidance.  This is the rule book that companies running the Work Programme must follow and last week a new chapter was added detailing the procedures for safeguarding so-called vulnerable claimants.

According to the guidance, claimants of the main sickness and disability benefit Employment Support Allowance only, who have “mental health conditions or learning disabilities or conditions affecting communication/cognition” must not be referred for a sanction without safeguarding activity being carried out.  This means a home visit if necessary to establish a face to face conversation to ensure that the participant understands the reason they have been sanctioned.  If this face to face contact does not happen, or if the Work Programme provider believes the claimant did not understand the requirement to carry out mandated activity, then a sanction referral must not take place.

These rules, which also apply to Jobcentre busy-bodies hoping to sanction sick and disabled people’s benefits, are not newHowever they were previously only published in internal Jobcentre documents and only came to light due to a Freedom of Information request.  It is likely that this is the first time many Work Programme providers have even heard of them.  Anecdotal evidence has repeatedly warned of people only finding out they have been sanctioned when they check their bank balances and find out they don’t have any money.  The number of sickness and disability claimants who have had their benefits sanctioned is soaring, with almost 125,000 sanctions applied since new rules came into place.  Some of those sanctions should not have been applied.  How many is anybody’s guess.

Whilst these safeguarding rules will mean it is now harder for Work Programme companies to sanction people’s benefits, many claimants will not relish the prospect of some A4e dickhead turning up at their front door to interrogate them about why they didn’t attend workfare.  The best piece of advice?  Never answer the fucking door to any cunt with a clipboard.

You can download the safeguarding rules at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/427708/wp-pg-chap-4b-v1.pdf

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Austerity Might Be An Opportunity Says Welfare-To-Work Boss As She Eyes Up Jobcentres

Pauline could be heading for a P45 if ERSA get their way

Pauline could be heading for a P45 if ERSA get their way

Further austerity and welfare reforms might be seen as an opportunity says the chief spokesperson for the welfare-to-work sector Kirsty McHugh.

McHugh is Chief Executive of the Employment Related Services Association (ERSA), the trade body established to lie on behalf of grasping welfare-to-work  parasites like G4S and Maximus.  In a blog post published after the election McHugh warns that some in her sector may view further austerity with trepidation, but points out that others may see it as an opportunity.

The reason for this optimism is because many of the leases for Jobcentre Plus offices are up for renewal over the next five years.  This could mean, according to McHugh, the possibility of out-sourcing Jobcentre services.

This is the long term ambition of the welfare-to-work sector, to take over Jobcentres completely.  Already ERSA have accused the current benefit sanctioning policy of being ‘bonkers’ and lobbied for Work Programme companies to be given a role in deciding whether to stop someone’s benefits.

This slow power grab has been ongoing for over a decade.  The DWP spends billions on salaries and admin costs and ERSA would like to see those billions going towards the companies they represent.  Of course this will mean tens of thousands of Jobcentre workers becoming unemployed (stop laughing).  But it will also mean the removal of any last lingering traces of humanity in the social security system as unemployed, sick and disabled people are transformed into nothing more than human commodities to be bought, sold and destroyed for profit.

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Minister for Disabled People’s Cosy Relationship With Mayor Sacked In Disgrace For Disability Hate Comments

tomlinson-martinNew Minister for Murdering Disabled People Justin Tomlinson refused to condemn his long-standing colleague Mayor of Swindon Nick Martin who was forced to resign after making vile comments about disabled people.

Martin was forced put of his position in 2014 after he was heard asking “”Are we still letting mongols have sex with each other?” at a council meeting.  Despite initially denying making the comments he eventually resigned after he was found guilty by the Council’s Standards Committee of making abusive and insulting references to disabled people.

Throughout the affair, Justin Tomlinson, MP for North Swindon, refused to condemn his long-standing colleague for the remarks.  This prompted local Labour Party parliamentary candidates to issue a public letter to Tomlinson asking whether they supported Nick Martin remaining a councillor and member of the Conservative Party.  Tomlinson apears to have simply ignored this letter.

The truth is that Tomlinson and Nick Martin go way back.  As recently as last week the new Minister spoke warmly of how Martin introduced him to local politics over 15 years ago after he had contacted him about an overgrown hedge.  As can be seen above, Tomlinson and Martin remain facebook friends.

Nick Martin will be grateful for his colleague’s lack of condemnation, he was re-elected as a Councillor at the local elections last week.  And Tomlinson went off to the DWP for his new job designing and implementing disability strategy.  His voting record on matters that concern disabled people already speaks for itself.  But if you can judge a person by the company they keep, then Tomlinson’s cosy relationship with the former Mayor of Swindon tells us everything we need to know about his true attitude towards disabled people.

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Priti Patel Appointed Minister Of Death At The DWP

priti-deathPriti Patel, staunch supporter of the death penalty, will replace unemployed former Employment Minister Esther Mcvey it has been announced today.  Patel has previously said that she supports the reintroduction of capital punishment as a ‘deterrence’, although she would not say whether she preferred hanging or electrocution.  Wanting to bring back state executions is only half the story of her malevolent past however.

Prior to becoming an MP, she worked as a public relations advisor to British American Tobacco, where she was linked to the sinister ‘Project Sunrise’.  This is believed to be part of the initiative established by cigarette firm Phillip Morris which aimed to create the “dawn of a new day” for the tobacco industry by smearing anti-smoking groups as extremist.

Patel continued supporting the tobacco industry on being elected, voting in favour of ending the smoking ban in 2010 and speaking out against plain cigarette packaging.

Patel also worked in corporate relations for alcohol giant Diageo, whose so-called charitable arm Tomorrow’s People were famously responsible for expecting unemployed unpaid workers to sleep under a bridge during the Queen’s Jubiliee celebrations.  In her new role as Employment Minister she will be responsible for handing out lucrative contracts to manage workfare schemes to organisation’s such as Tomorrow’s People.

In 2012 Patel was one of the auth0rs of Brittania Unchained, a nasty diatribe penned by five Tory MPs which accused British workers of being the “worst idlers in the world”.  The book called on the UK workforce to emulate China, where 70,000 people die in workplace accidents every year, or South Korea, the suicide capital of Asia.

Priti Patel and death have never been far away.  If her past tells us anything it is that she will put money before life at every turn. This is what the modern Tory Party represents.  Whether ex-confidence tricksters like Grant Shapps, or shills for the tobacco industry, if there’s money to be made then they have no care at all what the consequences of their actions may be.  That Priti Patel is now in charge of benefit sanctions and sickness benefit assessments that have already claimed a growing number of lives is genuinely chilling.  Death now stalks the corridors of the DWP like never before.

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The 2.25 Million Hidden Unemployed People Reveals The Stark Truth: There’s No Fucking Jobs

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A senior DWP manager has a motivational meltdown on twitter.

According to the latest statistics there are currently 1.84 million unemployed people.  There are also 1.3 million people working part time because they cannot find a full time job.  Nearly half a million people who are officially employed work less than six hours a week.  Over 100,000 so-called employed people are actually on unpaid workfare.

But even this only tells half the truth about the number of under and unemployed people in the UK.  There are a staggering 2.25 million people who are ‘economically inactive’ and want a job but who are not included in the unemployment figures.  That means the true number of unemployed people, if unemployed is defined as not having a job and wanting one – which is how it should be fucking defined – is over four million.

The reason you never hear of the missing 2.25 million is because of an international definition of what unemployed means which has been agreed by statisticians to allow comparisons of employment rates between different countries.  As such unemployed, as far as the official figures are concerned,  means someone who is currently out of work, available to start work immediately and who has looked for a job in the last four weeks.  Clearly this does not include everyone who is really unemployed.  It doesn’t even include half of them.

The 2.25 million hidden unemployed include those who have simply stopped looking for a job in despair (40,000 people) along with those looking after the family home but who would rather be in work, people forced into early retirement against their will and sick and disabled people who want jobs.

There are currently just 743,000 vacancies, many of them part time or temporary.  If everybody who was unemployed found work tomorrow there would still be around 3.5 million people out of work who wanted a job.  There are not enough jobs for everybody.  Everybody knows this really, even Iain Duncan Smith’s think tank who said last year that “reducing unemployment to zero is neither feasible nor desirable”.

Unemployment is not caused by unemployed people but a lack of jobs.  So trying to ‘fix’ unemployed people with endless workfare, assessments and benefit sanctions will do nothing to fix unemployment.  Yet every major political party pretends to think it will.  The reason for this is that the public used to blame the government, or even capitalism, for unemployment.  Politicians however would rather they blame disabled people or lone parents.  Better that than governments having to admit to their own own ineptness –  or even worse acknowledge that the magical free market will not create a job for everyone.

The latest attempts to cure people of unemployment would be almost laughable if the impact on people’s lives were not so tragic.  Jobcentres are now being run like cults, with managers spouting mumbo jumbo motivational garbage like Sandra Lambert‘s now deleted twitter feed calling on staff to ‘pink up the pace’ and handing out sheriff stars to Jobcentres which meet benefit sanction targets.  Half-arsed online Cognitive Behavor Therapies are on the way, to cure unemployed people’s mental health problems.  Pull yourself together and get a job is the message from the DWP for those who are unable to work due to depression or other mental health conditions.  Forced treatment for some groups has been threatened should the Tories win the election.

That this flies in the face of what is considered good practice amongst psychologists no longer seems to matter.  Unemployed people are now fair game for almost any kind of treatment as long as it’s designed to punish and scapegoat.  Claimants have at best been abandoned and at worst openly attacked even by charities and institutions which claim to support those with a mental health condition.

Towards the end of last year the president elect of the British Psychological Society (BPS),  Jamie Hacker Hughes promised the body would carry out an enquiry into the use of pseudo-psychology, benefit sanctions and workfare.  Yet nothing has happened so far.  As part of the week of action against workfare and sanctions contact them and demand they speak out against the current regime which has driven some claimants to suicide.  Claimants do not have time to wait for them to get their act together, people are being pushed into desperate poverty and sometimes even their deaths now.  To not speak up is to be complicit in the actions of this Government and hands a licence to whoever wins next week’s election to carry on in the same way.

There are not enough jobs.  Unemployment is not caused by unemployed people.  The mistreatment of unemployed, sick and disabled people must stop.  That is what anyone with a conscience must now be saying, as loudly as fucking possible.

The British Psychological Society are on twitter @BPSOfficial  and have a facebook page.

The Labour Market Statistics are published monthly and the latest release on which these figures are based can be found at: http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/lms/labour-market-statistics/april-2015/statistical-bulletin.html

For more contact details and information about the rise of pseudo-science being used to bully unemployed people visit Boycott Workfare’s website.

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Join The Week Of Action Against Workfare And Tell @bmstores What You Think

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If you exploit us we will shut you down.

From Boycott Workfare

Take action against persistent workfare exploiters B&M Stores as part of the Week of Action vs Workfare and Sanctions!

B&M Stores has won an award from the workfare industry for their support for forced unpaid labour. The harsh reality of their involvement is exploitation of claimants – people working for nothing under the constant threat of sanctions – and workfare being used to reduce overtime and replace paid staff.

“B&M stores started using workfare Jan 2013. Receiving free labour and stopping overtime for employees with contracts. The people forced to do this free labour are not happy and neither are the other workers.”

Boycott Workfare has had several reports of reduced hours for paid staff as well as the practice of employing paid staff on a trial basis, sacking them after 12 weeks, and replacing them with workfare placements.

“Just to let you know B&M Stores have taken on new staff under a workfare scheme. This was 1 month after staff hours were cut by 50%. This meant my hours were cut from 20 to 10.”

B&M Stores made over £100 million profit last year but still they use forced unpaid labour.

B&M Stores have over 400 stores from Perth in Scotland to Portsmouth in the South of England. They have expanded by using workfare grabs from any local JobCentrePlus. It has been reported that in one B&M Store “older or long term staff were sacked and a new wave of 20 workfare placements taken on.”

What you can do:

Thanks to your efforts, more and more businesses and charities are withdrawing from workfare.  Keep up the pressure and let B&M Stores know:  ’if they exploit us, we will close them down!’

Use twitter, facebook and direct action to expose B&M Stores and call for a boycott of their stores.  Workfare exploits claimants and means poorer pay and conditions for all workers.

Tweet them @bmstores

Email customer services

Phone: 0151 728 5400 (remember to speak politely)

Facebook

Visit their Corporate Website

You could also let workfare apologists ERSA know what you think about awards that celebrate companies that profit from exploiting claimants.

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