Category Archives: Poverty

Priti Patel Hands Award To Poverty Pay Employer That Pays Just £2.68 An Hour

priti-deathThe DWP’s new Minister of Death Priti Patel last night handed out an award to a company who pays just 11 pence an hour more than the minium wage to staff in a supervisory role whilst retail staff on Apprenticeships earn just £2.68 per hour.

Patel was the main speaker at the annual awards ceremony held by the Employment Related Service Association (ERSA), the trade body established to lie of behalf of the welfare to work sector.  Every year the likes of G4S and A4e gather for a slap up meal at a luxury London venue to celebrate another year of fleecing the tax payer and dole out awards to employers who have helped them gain ‘job outcome’ payments.

This year’s Large Employer of the Year award went to Poundbakery, a not very large employer who run a chain of bakery shops.  Accrding to ERSA, this was for demonstrating “exceptional commitment in creating opportunities for disadvantaged and long term unemployed jobseekers.”

Some of those ‘”fantastic and rare” opportunities involved working in one of their shops on the Apprenticeship scheme for as little as £2.68 p/hr for 24 hours a week.  These apprenticeships could last for up to two years, reflecting the length of time it takes to train people to sell loaves of bread rather than just being an excuse for the company to dodge minimum wage laws.  Or at least that’s what grasping employers claim to ensure this grotesque exploitation remains legal.

Other vacancies for the company ask for people with “ideally some retail management experience” to work as supervisors for the princely sum of £6.61 an hour, just 11 pence more than the minimum wage.

You might have thought that the welfare-to-work industry would want to give awards to ethical employers, who pay at least the Living Wage, but sadly this is far from the case. Previously the Large Employer award has gone to companies involved in unpaid schemes such Greggs and B&M Stores who will be the target of workfare protests later this month.  It is unclear whether Poundbakery also making use of Jobcentre programmes providing free labour, but with their retail assistants working for the pittance of £64 a week, they hardly fucking have to.

Poundbakery are on twitter (and facebook) if you want to ask them to pay their workers properly: @poundbakery

Bakers everywhere can fight for better wages by contacting the Bakers and Allied Food Workers Union

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How The Benefit Lies Begin: Claimants Offered Cash And Fame To Say They Don’t Want Jobs

ally-einsteinThe above pic comes from the facebook page of Alley Einstein, the so-called journalist behind yesterday’s appalling Sunday Mirror attack on an elderly woman’s wedding.

It is hard to imagine anything more vile than finding people in poverty and bribing them say they don’t want a job just so you can smear them as a scounger in the media.  But that’s exactly what some freelance journalists are up to.  Do not fucking talk to them.  And do not talk to Alley Epstein.  The money will run out and it will fuck up your claim.

ally-einstein2

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Sunday Mirror’s Savage Attack On Elderly Women’s Wedding Shows Where The Labour Party Are Heading

Meet your class enemy.  Public school toff Lloyd Embley is editor of the Sunday and Daily Mirror

Meet your class enemy. Public school toff Lloyd Embley is editor of both the Sunday and Daily Mirror.

The Sunday Mirror has given us a taste of what is soon to come from the Labour Party by printing an appalling attack on an elderly woman unable to work due to illness because she had the cheek to save up and spend a few quid on her wedding.

Todays top exclusive features the story of Richard Broom and Sandra Gallagher who recently spent £5000 on a marriage ceremony and reception after they saved money from their benefits and “borrowed from friends and family”.  You will rarely read a piece in any newspaper so dripping with class hatred and contempt for the poor.  Gallagher, who the paper calls a ‘granny bride’, is unable to work due to  a serious health condition whilst her partner is unemployed.  A few years ago Gallacher would have been a pensioner, but due to the rise in the women’s pension age she is now a scrounger, and so fair game for vicious bullying from the tabloid press.  The paper even attacks her for using the NHS, disclosing details of an intimate procedure she had some years ago for medical reasons.  Even the sex lives of sick and disabled people will now be used against them if they are unable to work due to their health.  Or at least they will be if the target happens to be a woman.

This gutter journalism has not appeared out of the blue.  Both the Sunday and Daily Mirror are little more than mouth-pieces for the Labour Party.  Be in no doubt, this is a warning shot from the establishment left that any lingering trace of sympathy for the poor has been extinguished.  They have been quite happy to exploit the suffering of sick, disabled and unemployed people in the past, but now they are lining up with Iain Duncan Smith and the Daily Mail to join the grotesque onslaught against people with nothing.  This couple lived on just over £100 a week each  after housing costs, and even this is dubious unless her unemployed partner was also paid a carer’s premium.  The current rate of Jobseeker’s Allowance is just £73.10.  The Sunday Mirror is either lying or omitting crucial facts to encourage their readers to hate this couple.

This is what we can now come to expect from a left-wing media dominated by public school toffs and a party where Oxbridge wankers are currently trying to jostle each other out of the way for the leadership.  George Osborne must be pissing himself watching a Labour newspaper softening up the public for his planned social security cuts.  This strategy has already cost the Labour Party their votes in Scotland and much of Wales.  Now they seem happy to lose the working class across England as well.  They do not fucking deserve us.  They never have.

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Worse Than The Poor Law, Universal Credit Slammed By Councils, Charities And Even Landlords

cih-poor-lawSavage new rules, which could leave newly unemployed, sick or disabled people with no money at all for six weeks, have been slammed in a consultation carried out by the DWP’s own advisors.

The Social Security Advisory Committee (SSAC) ran the consultation after the DWP warned that the seven day waiting period already introduced for current out of work sickness and unemployment benefits is being extended to Universal Credit. As the SSAC rightly point out this will leave most new claimants without any benefits at all for six weeks due to the monthly payment cycle of Universal Credit.  Perhaps most shocking of all, this will include payments intended to cover rents, meaning new claimants will not just face the trauma of losing their job but immediately be plunged into huge rent arrears.

The plans have been met with outrage by charities, housing associations, local authorities and even landlords.  One organisation, the hardly fucking radical Chartered Institute for Housing, points out that: “Even under the poor law that preceded the welfare state it was unlawful for the authority to refuse support to a person who had no income or savings even for a short period of time.”

The result of the consultation is that the SSAC recommended to the Government that this proposal should not proceed.  The DWP, predictably, have rejected this recommendation  on the basis that they think people will have enough money to tide them over.

According to the DWP, most people are paid monthly and so should receive a final salary payment if they leave work and it is ‘not unreasonable’ to expect them to budget this money to last the full six weeks.  They also claim that low earners will aready be on Universal Credit anyway, so they will not face a waiting period if they lose their job.

The truth is that a single person, with relatively low housing costs, will cease being eligible for Universal Credit if their earnings go above about £310 a week before tax.  This is the kind of ‘relatively higher-income employment’ that the DWP believe means a person will have a couple of months rent lying around somewhere, as well as enough cash to get them through the next six weeks.  It is fucking astonishing they can say this stuff with a straight face.  What is perhaps of most concern is that they might actually believe it.

The DWP have brushed aside concerns that many workers are not paid monthly, particularly in lower paid jobs.  McDonalds, for example, pay fortnightly, whilst lots of agency and cleaning jobs pay weekly.  Additionally not everyone comes onto benefits after leaving work – a failed business, the end of a relationship or someone leaving the parental home can also trigger a benefit claim.  The DWP merely say that these people might be able to apply for a benefit advance, although this will be conditional on whether they think the person can afford to pay it back.  With some people likely to face housing costs running to over a thousand pounds, and that’s before they eat, it is unlikely that a Short Term Benefit Advance will do anything to bridge the gap.

The SSAC also recommended that if this policy were not to be scrapped then exempting the housing element of Universal Credit from the waiting period might “mitigate against the harshest impacts”.  The DWP have responded that this would only confuse claimants and therefore not meet the aim of simplifying Universal Credit.

For the last five years we have been told that giving money to the very poorest will make only make them lazy and unhealthy.  Now apparently it will confuse them as well, as if they will not be able to cope with such riches as being able to afford to pay their rent.  There has rarely been more transparent bullshit spoken to justify what is nothing more than a simple transfer of wealth from people in poverty to line the pockets of the filthy rich.  According to the DWP the money saved by this policy will be re-invested in welfare-to-work support, meaning yet more lucrative contracts for the likes of G4S, Maximus and A4e and the multi-millionaires who run and own them.

You can download the SSAC’s report and the Government’s response at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-universal-credit-waiting-days-amendment-regulations-2015-si-2015-no-1362-ssac-report

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Iain Duncan Smith’s First Re-Education Centre To Open In Streatham Jobcentre

my-jobStreatham Jobcentre is to become the home of Iain Duncan Smith’s first Re-Education Centre where teams of gormless Jobcentre workers, psychiatrists, social workers and voluntary sector busy-bodies will team up to bully people with a mental health condition into low paid shit jobs as part of their ‘recovery’.

The South London Jobcentre already contains a Living Well Community Hub* where specialist mental health services operating alongside Jobcentre Plus staff are working together towards a common goal of improving health and well-being and helping people to get back to, or stay in, work.”  This is to be joined by a new Increased Access to Psychological Therapy (IAPT) team who, along with Jobcentre staff, will attempt to fix unemployed people with Cognitive Behavior Therapy and when that doesn’t work probably just stop their benefits.

With forced psychological treatment already threatened for those claiming social security, and moves to increase information sharing powers between Jobcentres and other agencies, these new centres represent the end of mental health services that people who are poor can actually trust.  From now on only the naive or inexperienced will feel confident being open and honest with therapeutic staff knowing that a Jobcentre Work Coach is just next door waiting to sanction their benefits.  Jobcentre staff, health assessors and charities have already been weaponised against unemployed, sick or disabled people, now nurses and psychiatric workers are also to be drafted into the unceasing war on the poor.

A consensus has emerged amongst politicians, charity bosses and think tanks that unemployment, homelessness or living in poverty are themselves evidence of psychological defects.  That if you are unable to find a job – or even worse don’t want one – then there must be something wrong with you, something that can be fixed.  And if you are unemployed because you are sick, then becoming employed will cure you.  It is utter fucking horseshit and flies in the face of the reality of a low pay economy where work is often bad for your health and four million people are chasing 700,000 jobs.

Those at the top of the Tory Party know what’s really going on.  That this is really a blueprint to demolish the welfare state and normalise both unpaid work and desperate poverty for those who can’t find a job.  That this will create the kind of ultra-competitive and savage society that bosses want to force down the wages and working conditions of everyone.  All Iain Duncan Smith’s welfare reforms are really about is just another wealth grab that will consolidate the power of the capitalist class – the bankers, landlords and business owners who once again think they fucking own us.  And if anyone complains that our entire lives consist of nothing more then ceaseless, boring work to increase the wealth of the rich then they will be seen as deviant, in need of forced psychiatric treatment.  Or left to starve.  Either way they will be ‘helped’ to understand that poverty paid monotonous labour is good for you, and will make you happy and free.

A mass protest has been called by the Mental Health Resistance Network against the new Re-education Centre and which will march on Streatham Jobcentre on Friday June 26.  Meet at 1:30pm in Streatham Memorial Garden, more details on facebook, please share and spread the word!

*It comes as no surprise to find homelessness charity Thamesreach at the heart of this initiative, recently even welcoming Iain Duncan Smith himself to visit their Community Options Team in the new centre.  Thamesreach’s strategy to end homelessness has long been to make the lives of homeless people as difficult as possible in the hope that this will cure them.  This is the so-called charity that warns people not to give money to beggars because they are all druggies, that thinks increasing the price of Special Brew will stop people being alcoholics, that has teams of outreach workers harassing homeless migrants by telling them to go back to where they came from and who teamed up with Tory Westminster Council in their failed attempt to criminalise feeding homeless people.  Whilst Thamesreach has been pursuing these policies the number of street homeless people has doubled in the capital.  You can see why they would get along with Iain Duncan Smith whose attempts to fix poverty by making the poor poorer have only succeeded in creating more poverty.

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Douglas Carswell Has Got The Society He Wants, Of Course We Hate The Fucking Rich

simpsons“If we don’t do something to fix the glaring inequities in this economy, the pitchforks are going to come for us. No society can sustain this kind of rising inequality. In fact, there is no example in human history where wealth accumulated like this and the pitchforks didn’t eventually come out.”

Nick Hanauer, billionaire and founder of amazon.com speaking at a TED talk in 2014

Former Tory and now UKIP opportunist Douglas Carswell, who has been whining in the press after being jostled and shouted at during yesterday’s fuck the tories protest, has got the world he wants.  In a society where the poorest are ground into the dirt whilst the rich live in unimaginable luxury it is inevitable that the wealthy will become despised.  As ever more people see their lives demolished by poverty pay, benefit cuts, forced work and soaring housing costs then it is no surprise that they start looking around for someone to blame.  And someone is to blame.

The likes of UKIP would have us turn on each other.  Worker versus claimant, pensioner versus the feckless youth, UK citizen versus immigrant.  But we didn’t do this to fucking each other.  Whoever you are, wherever you were born, we are on the same side – they are making sure of that.  If you are a tenant, a worker, a claimant or pensioner then Carswell and his political cronies, whether UKIP or Tory, Labour or Lib Dem, are coming for you.  And behind them the global super rich will cheer as their billions increase at the expense of our lives and futures.

The Tories and the rich they serve want to believe that they are a majority, or at least have the majority’s support.  Their newspapers tell us that anyone who opposes them is an extremist or trouble-maker, on the fringes of society.  Yet thousands have come out onto the streets already in protest at five more years of their shit.  In Scotland, Northern England, Wales, London and other large cities it is the Tories that are the isolated freaks.  Across the entire UK only about 20% of people voted for them.  More people than that didn’t vote at all.  The rich think these people don’t count.  They did in the Summer of 2011 when they were kicking in the windows of the local JD Sports.

Yet even the ferocious anger of the urban youth largely passed them by.  Just a blip they imagined, the plebs letting off a bit of steam.  So cossetted and pampered have their lives been so far that they think we will continue to accept any indignity.  That we will work for peanuts, or nothing at all, and let them sack us on a whim and jail us if we strike.  That we will continue to pay them huge rents to live in hovels and willingly accept being socially cleansed from our homes and communities. That the champagne will flow forever and their lives remain undisturbed as they steal the very world from beneath our feet.

Only a few of the pampered elite have looked to history and realised that this situation cannot last.  That the rage of the working class has conquered dynasties and empires centuries old in the past. That no army, or fucking copper will save them when they finally push too far.  And they will only have themselves to blame when the pitchforks eventually come.

pic above via Class War

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Over 4 Million People Who Want Jobs: Is The So-Called Jobs Miracle Shuddering To A Halt?

work-or-riotNewly appointed Minister of Death, Priti Patel, was allowed to write her first DWP press release this morning as labour market figures showed there were just 35,000 fewer unemployed people in the last three months.  This is the smallest quarterly fall in unemployment in nearly two years, and it is not the only bad news for the DWP – amongst those born in the UK the number of people with jobs fell slightly.

Youth unemployment, for people between 18 and 24, also rose in the latest period, for the second quarter running.  As did the number of hidden unemployed – people without a job who want one but are classed as ‘economically inactive’ rather than officially unemployed – which now stands at 2.298 million meaning the true number of unemployed people is 4.129 million.

The Claimant Count, which means the shrinking number of unemployed people who are still entitled to Jobseeker’s Allowance, fell by just 12,600, the smallest drop since March 2013.  The ‘experimental claimant count’ however, which also includes unemployed people transferred onto Universal Credit, fell by just 6,500.  The number of people claiming out of work sickness benefits rose by 5000 in the same period.

As ever, a large number of people who are officially employed are working part time – and the number of part time workers who want a full time job also rose in the latest period.  There are also 105,000 people on “government supported training and employment programmes”, better known as workfare, who are classed as employed in the official statistics.

The s0-called jobs miracle on which the Tories based much of their election campaign was always largely a myth that was more down to a growing population that Iain Duncan Smith’s bungled welfare reforms.  Today’s labour market figures suggest that even this may be coming to an end.  What they also show, beyond doubt, is that with over 4 million people chasing 750,000 vacancies, there are still no fucking jobs.

You can view the latest Labour Market Statistics on the ONS website.

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