What A Fucking Shambles, Work Programme Still Worse Than Doing Nothing At All

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The dotted line represents the percentage of sick and disabled claimants who would have been expected to get jobs if the Work Programme didn’t exist.

It is astonishing that the ‘minimum expected level’ of people finding jobs on Iain Duncan Smith’s Work Programme is the same as would be expected had he done nothing at all.

What this means is that as long as the Work Programme isn’t making long term unemployment worse then both the DWP and the private sector parasites who run the scheme can claim it is a huge success when in fact it’s nothing of the sort.  It is just not doing any damage.  The problem is that in many cases the Work Programme is not meeting the ‘minimum expected levels’.  It is worse than doing nothing and from the latest figures appears to be creating, not curing long term unemployment amongst some groups.

This has left Iain Duncan Smith with nothing to shout about except for the huge numbers of people who have been forced to waste their time on the scheme.  And so that’s what he’s done today as the latest dismal performance figures are released with a jubilant press release declaring that the Work Programme has ‘helped’ more people than any previous employment scheme.  The truth is that the Work Programme has failed more people than any scheme before at a time when we are constantly being told how many jobs are now available.

Of the one million people who have been sent on the Work Programme over 700,000 were back at the Jobcentre after two years of expert help from companies like G4S, Maximus and A4e.  Only a quarter of those on the programme had a spell of 3-6 months in work – slightly below the ‘minimum expected level’.

This is less than the number of people who would have been expected to get jobs if the Work Programme had never existed.  Tax payers have forked out over a billion pounds for this fiasco.  The suffering of claimant’s sanctioned on the scheme is well documented.  The lives lost little more than human sacrifice – scapegoats for a failing economic system.  If there was any more proof needed that benefit sanction harm rather than help then today’s Work Programme statistics provide it.

For sick and disabled claimants the level of failure is shocking.  Just 3.4% of current claimants of sickness benefits (ESA/IB) who started on the scheme in December 2013 had a spell of at least three months in work a year later.  This is barely a third of the number who would have been expected to get a job under their own steam without any compulsory ‘help’.

Perhaps the most horrifying aspect of the Work Programme is what has happened to all those found ‘fit for work’ by Atos and told to frantically look for work or face their benefits being stopped.  Hundreds of millions has been spent harassing this group of claimants, who in many cases are not really well enough to work at all.  Just 1.5% of this group had found a job lasting over 3 months after completing a year on the scheme in December 2015.

Overall the Work Programme is only performing above minimum levels for mainstream Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) claimants who have been on the scheme a year, and then only by a couple of percent.  There is a dirty fucking trick being played here however.  The most successful group of claimants are ‘other JSA’ which represents around a third of unemployed people sent on the scheme.  Over 20% of this group found work after a year.

Other JSA is largely made up of Early Entrants, which means those referred onto the Work Programme before they had been unemployed for over 12 months.  These are often people who have recently left work and are therefore the most employable claimants.  They are not the people the Work Programme was designed for.  They are also by far the most likely to get jobs on the Work Programme.

Documents leaked onto the internet by bungling A4e showed how Work Programme companies can receive huge payments even when someone has found a job themselves and not even started on the scheme.  All they need to do is make sure the paperwork is filled out correctly.  Jobcentre staff are also under huge pressure to produce job outcomes.  By encouraging the most employable claimants to sign up for the Work Programme then Jobcentre staff get a pat on the head when they inevitably find a job and the company running the scheme gets a cheque in the post.  And Iain Duncan Smith can pretend the Work Programme is doing better than it is. Everybody wins.  Except the tax payer and all those sanctioned or forced into workfare and who were back in the Jobcentre after two years wasted on the disastrous Work Programme.

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DWP Attempts To Increase Welfare-to-Work Companies’ Power To Snoop On Claimants

careless-talkPrivate sector Work Programme busy-bodies like A4e and G4S are to be encouraged to snoop on agreements made between unemployed people and the Jobcentre.

From 23rd March 2015  the DWP sent out a memo declaring that: “it would be beneficial for Work Programme Providers to potentially have sight of the Claimant Commitment at the first point of contact.”

The companies running the Work Programme will be expected to encourage participants to share this document, whilst Jobcentre staff will “ensure they highlight to claimants the importance of sharing their Claimant Commitment with their provider at first contact.”

The Claimant Commitment is the agreement that everyone is now forced to sign as a condition of claiming the main out of work benefits.  It details the endless pointless activity that unemployed people are expected to carry out as punishment for being out of work.  Any breach of this commitment can result in benefits being sanctioned.  According to the DWP, allowing companies who run welfare-to-work schemes access to this agreement will provide them with “Information on messaging around a claimant’s non-compliance with work related requirements”.  In other words it will be easier for Work Programme providers to grass you up to the Jobcentre for not carrying out work-related activity.

There is no legal requirement to show your Claimant Commitment to your Work Programme provider however due to data protection laws.  You should not be sanctioned for refusing to let them see it.  The memo warns the providers that “If the claimant refuses to share their Claimant Commitment you should not take any further action to pursue.”

It is up to you.  Make sure everyone knows this.

For more information on what you can and can’t be forced to sign and what information you have to disclose to Work Programme companies visit: http://refuted.org.uk/donotsign/

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Boycott Workfare Week of Action 25 April – 2 May: No workfare! No sanctions! Whoever wins we will resist!

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From Boycott Workfare

As the general election campaign gets underway we are already seeing politicians calling for more of the same policies. More workfare. More sanctions. Yet we know that these policies have been a total disaster. It is shameful that workfare and sanctions are supported by all the main political parties. This is why we are holding a week of action in the week before the election. We need your help to expose and challenge workfare and sanctions policies and the political lies that underpin them.

Workfare undermines paid jobs and wages and results in sanctions. It does nothing to improve the chances of people finding a job and exploits those forced to carry it out. Last year over half a million people had their benefits sanctioned. The number of benefit sanctions imposed by the DWP now exceeds the number of fines imposed by the courts. People are being left with nothing for up to three years. There is now overwhelming evidence of the harm being caused by sanctions. Sanctions are damaging the health of claimants and leading to hunger, homelessness and deaths.

Your actions have already had a huge impact in challenging these policies. Dozens of organisations have withdrawn from the schemes following public pressure. Over 500 voluntary sector organisations have now signed the Keep Volunteering Voluntary agreement to say they oppose workfare and sanctions and will not be involved. 25 councils have also said they will boycott the schemes. All this means it is getting harder and harder for the government’s private providers to find workfare placements. Hundreds of placements have been cancelled and your actions have made a real difference.

The week of action is a chance for everyone who opposes workfare and sanctions to demand an end to these cruel policies. However you can contribute join us to take action from 25 April – 2 May:

  • Join in with online actions throughout the week!
  • Ask charities you support to sign the Keep Volunteering Voluntary agreement!
  • Speak out! Tell those promoting workfare and sanctions what you think of their policies!
  • Hand out our know-your-rights leaflets at your local jobcentre!
  • Plan actions at a workfare exploiter near you!

Remember to let us know what you plan so we can help to publicise it!

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Michael Green Lives! Grant Shapps’ Former Website Still Registered To His Fake ID

whois-shappsTory chairperson Grant Shapps has claimed that he got his dates mixed up after a recording of him pretending to be Michael Green in 2006 was uncovered by The Guardian.

Shapps had claimed he left the internet con-man business behind when he was elected as an MP in 2005.  The recording clearly proves this was a lie.  In fact his trafficpaymaster website is still registered in the US to Michael Green.  This is a breach of contract with ICANN who oversee internet domains in the US.  Were the website to have been used for any dubious purposes –  such as encouraging people to rip off the small businesses using google ads by flooding the net with fake websites – then this false registration would be an aggravating factor which could lead to an additional seven years in jail.

All of Michael Green’s websites have vanished and even been blocked from the internet archive project.  So there is no way of knowing for sure whether the Conservative Party were telling the truth when they said yesterday that: “his full name and biographical details were permanently published on the company’s main website”.  It seems strange to go to the trouble of using a fake name to register the website if this was the case.  There is no mention of Grant Shapps on any of the screenshots that scores of people managed to take of the sites before they disappeared.

Michael Green was also a regular contributor to the Warrior internet forums, alongside Sebastian Fox, another pseudonym used by his former company  howtocorp.com.  Most of these posts have been deleted as well, although a few still remain in which both of these non-existent people appear together.  Grant Shapps never mentioned his real identity there either.

Another website which has gone missing is trafficpaymaster.wordpress.com.  This site was removed from wordpress for violating their terms and conditions.  It only contained one post, made in July 2011 by someone calling themselves John Hilton, a ‘self-proclaimed’ internet marketing expert.  This post gave a suspiciously glowing review of the software that Grant Shapps’ company sold alongside handy details of where to purchase it.  The only links on the site point to the websites that Shapps used to run and the previously mentioned Warrior internet forums.  Because it was hosted on wordpress.com it cannot be hidden from the internet archive.  Fake reviews are likely to be illegal under consumer protection laws.  Whether John Hilton is also Grant Shapps, or his wife who he claimed took over the company, remains yet another mystery in the murky former world of the Conservative Party Chairman.

Shapps has repeatedly claimed he is the victim of political smears.  Judge for yourself.

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The London Metropolitan Police Are The Biggest Fucking Wankers Of All

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The banner at the recent Aylesbury estate occupation

Class War have reported that at last night’s Poor Doors demonstration the police seized a political banner because of swearing and arrested a person standing next to it.

The banner had been a weekly feature at the boisterous protests outside an East London tower block where residents in affordable housing are forced to use a diffrent door to the rich.  Previously the police had threatened arrests due to claims the banner is offensive, although when coppers tried to find a member of the public who was offended they had been unable to.  It seems that most people agree, the leaders of the four main political parties are  all fucking wankers.

The move sets a chilling precedent.  Will protesters now have to pass a police board of censors before they can display banners and placards at demonstrations?  Will they send snatch squads into the crowd if someone uses a rude word?  Will chants at football grounds of  ‘the referee’s a wanker’ be met with mass arrests?  Or is it only when you call politicians wankers that the Met Police decides to take offence on their behalf?

Class War are predictably unrepentent.  Tomorrow (Saturday 14th March) they will march through Chingford where Lisa McKenzie, recently described as “the living embodiment of class hatred” by Melanie Phillips, will be standing in the election against Iain Duncan Smith.  Join them outside Chingford Station at 12.30pm.

The Poor Doors protest will be back, next week and every Thursday, 6pm, 1 Commercial Street, London E1.

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The Stench Of Racism That Has Always Haunted Iain Duncan Smith

ids-nazi1“Race will come back time and time again to hound the Conservative Party. It is a cancer that is in the body that will spread and eventually kill the Conservative Party.” Lord John Taylor 2001

News that long-term unemployment amongst young ethnic minorities has soared is far from the first time that Iain Duncan Smith has been plunged into a race row.

The comment above was made by Lord John Taylor, the Conservative Party’s first black peer, as Iain Duncan Smith’s Tory leadership bid descended into chaos.  IDS was forced to sack the Vice-Chair of his campaign Edgar Griffin after it was revealed that he was the father of Nick Griffin, the then leader of the BNP.  His wife Jean Griffin had previously stood as a BNP candidate against Iain Duncan Smith.  He was even known to have manned the BNP phonelines.  Griffin was unrepentant about being sacked, claiming that he was just an ‘ordinary Tory’ who shared the grassroots view in the party that ethnic minorities should be assisted with voluntary repatriation.  Iain Duncan Smith claimed the whole row was a smear campaign.

Edgar Griffin was not the only far right supporter of Iain Duncan Smith’s leadership bid.  The apartheid supporting Springbok Club had ‘no hesitation’ in backing his leadership campaign due to his “views and policies towards southern Africa”.  He was also supported by the notorious Monday Club, a right wing group of Tory MPs who campaigned to halt immigration and scrap race relations laws.

On winning the Tory leadership Iain Duncan Smith stuffed his shadow cabinet with extreme right-wingers.  The Monday Club’s support was repaid with the offer of a role for John Bercow – now the comedy speaker in the House of Commons – then a virulent racist and president of the club.  Previously Bercow had called for programme of “assisted repatriation” of immigrants.  IDS also gave a job to Eurosceptic Bill Cash, despite accusations he had cosied up to Italian fascists in an attempt to build an anti-EU alliance.

In 2003 IDS was forced to sack his Shadow Minister Ann Winterton when she was heard making a joke about about throwing a Pakistani out of a window because ‘they are ten a penny in my country’.  His leadership was rocked again by the resignation of Tory peer Lord Skidelsky who claimed the party had become  xenophobic, with ‘hysterical’ views on Europe.  It was not until 2007 that another of his appointments, Patrick Mercer, resigned from his Tory post following comments about “idle and useless” ethnic minority soldiers.

Throughout his time as leader IDS attempted to play down claims of Tory racism, even visiting Bradford to talk to some poor Asian people.  He  shut down his former cheerleaders the Monday Club, although this seems to have been based of pragmatism rather than principle.  Public opinion was fast turning against the Nasty Party as they Tories became known under Iain Duncan Smith.

IDS is too ambitious to let bigotry get in the way of his messianic lust for power.  His sudden and surprising conversion to supporting gay marriage came shortly after a cabinet reshuffle in which David Cameron had atempted to sack him as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.  He had never voted for LGBT rights in his life before.

There is still a hint of his former self in his policies however.  In a commons debate on immigration in 1992 Iain Duncan Smith blamed ethnic minorities for a housing crisis in his constituency saying: “The ethnic population of Waltham Forest, which is the fifth highest in London, has put pressure on housing demand.”

In 2013 Iain Duncan Smith introduced a Benefit Cap which is currently socially cleansing large families, many of them from ethnic minorities, from London boroughs like Waltham Forest.

Above pic from Sabcat, where you can even buy it on a t-shirt.

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Council House Building At Record Low In Midst Of Housing Crisis

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It doesn’t have to be like this. Graph from Shelter showing the collapse of council housing in the UK.

The number of council houses made available for social rent in England fell to its lowest figure yet in 2013/14 and was outstripped by the number sold off through the Right To Buy scheme.

Just 10,920 new homes with genuinely affordable rents were created during the last year, whilst 11,261 were purchased through Right To Buy according to figures from the DCLG.  This is the first time more houses were sold through the scheme than were built since 2005/06.  It is the lowest ever recorded number of new council houses and has fallen from 38,950 in 2010/11.

In addition 19,740 laughably called affordable homes were created, with rents usually set at 80% of the local private sector market – meaning they could run to hundreds of pounds a week in some parts of the UK.  These homes do often not offer lifetime tenancies, but instead are fixed term and come with a range of conditions attached, including workfare in some cases.  They are not social housing in the way most people understand it, and they are absolutely not what is needed in the midst of a record homelessness epidemic.

Even if you add all the new homes on ‘affordable’ rents and the small number created for ‘social rent’ then only just over 30,000 new homes were made available in 2013/14 – a fall of around 25% since 2010/11 and the second lowest figure in six years.

Elsewhere the news is equally bleak.  In the most recent quarter the number of new houses being built by Housing Associations fell by 27%, and is down by almost two thirds from a year ago.  Housebuilding overall fell by 10% from the previous quarter and is down 9% since this time last year.

Everybody knows that what is needed to solve the housing crisis is more council houses.  Everyone knows that Right To Buy has been a disaster.  Neither of the main parties plans to do anything about either, and Labour’s record on building socially rented homes was equally atrocious if not worse.  The only people who benefit from the current shambles are property developers and landlords.  And  that’s who both the political parties are writing their housing policies for.  The only thing more broken than the UK’s fucked housing market is the rotten and corrupt so-called democracy at Westminster.

Support the March for the Homeless on April 15th in London, Glasgow, Hull, Newcastle, Manchester, Huddersfield, Norwich, throughout Ireland and across the world.

The figure on social and affordable house-building can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/live-tables-on-affordable-housing-supply

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