Tag Archives: Compulsory Jobs Guarantee

The Forced Labour Party: The Day That Corbyn (And Half His Cabinet) Voted For Workfare

compulsory-jobs

Almost every new member of Corbyn’s cabinet, including Corbyn himself, voted in favour of the above motion to force unemployed people into temporary jobs – which involve ten hours a week unpaid work – or face benefit sanctions.

Corbyn was joined in his support for forced labour by over half of his new cabinet, including John McDonnell, Andy Burnham, Angela Eagle, Rosie Winterton, and Tom Watson.  London Mayoral hopeful Sadiq Khan also joined the workfare frenzy as did Green MP Caroline Lucas.  She kept that quiet.  Never trust a hippy.

The vote took place in an Opposition Day debate introduced by creepy (and possibly former) Shadow Employment Minister Stephen Timms as recently as February this year.  In the debate Timms outlines Labour’s ‘tough plan’ for a Compulsory Jobs Guarantee that “will hold people responsible for accepting work when it is offered.”

These compulsory jobs would be set at the minimum wage and last six months with no guarantee of a real job at the end.  Instead unemployed people would then be expected to “pursue intensive job search” for six months. Appallingly, whilst these jobs would be full time, those forced to join the scheme would only be paid for 25 hours a week – meaning they would be expected to work for ten hours for free.  Labour said that these extra ten hours would be reserved for training, provided by the employer.  Employers like Poundland.  They must think we’re fucking idiots.

Compulsory jobs, that involve 260 hours of work for no wages, are workfare.  Jeremy Corbyn has said he opposes both workfare, and benefit sanctions.  Yet here he was, with all his so-called lefty chums, voting for both.  Not one Labour MP spoke up in the debate about the impact of removing benefits from those who chose not to, or were unable to take up a compulsory job.   Workfare is now so embedded within both main political parties that it no longer even occurs to them to ask what if these sanction backed schemes destroy more lives than they ‘help’.

There is a chance now for Labour to take a step back, admit they were wrong, and consign their support for benefit sanctions to the dustbin of history. Benefit sanctions kill and no amount of fucking job outcomes justify the horror of driving people to poverty, homelessness, ill health and even death in the hope of catching a scrounger.  The impact of sanctions are just the same whether applied by a leering Tory or a Labour do-gooder who’s convinced themselves that forcing people into poverty paid work under the threat of destitution is some kind of help.  If this weekend’s events represent real change then it time for Labour to call for benefit sanctions to be scrapped, without exceptions.  Otherwise, for unemployed people at least, then Corbyn’s victory is little more than meet the new boss, same as the fucking old one.

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Rachel Reeves Is A Lying Bastard

boycott-workfare-real-jobsLabour’s Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Rachel Reeves has probably never done a real day’s work in her pampered fucking life.  After graduating from Oxford and then the LSE she was handed a non-job at the British Embassy in Washington before returning to the UK to work in the banking sector.  She is every bit as clueless and out of touch as the chinless toffs in government she claims to oppose.

This week Reeves and her creepy underling Shadow Employment Minister Stephen Timms have been boasting about Labour’s plans to bully and impoverish unemployed people with their Compulsory Jobs Guarantee.  And just like Iain Duncan Smith she is quite happy to bend the truth to further her benefit sanctioning agenda.

According to Reeves, long term unemployment has soared recently with “a staggering 224% increase in the number of people (25 and over) who have been unemployed for over two years and claiming benefits.”

If this were true then readers of this blog would have heard all about it.  But it’s not, it’s a lie and Reeves knows it.  All government’s cook the books when it comes to unemployment and the last Labour administration were no exception.  Back then and just like now those on workfare were considered employed for the purposes of the unemployment figures.  According to the Office For National Statistics there were more people recorded on “government training & employment programmes”, otherwise known as workfare, in April 2010 than in January 2015.

Since when someone started workfare they were no longer classed as unemployed, then Labour decided they were no longer long-term unemployed.  That’s why Reeves can make the ludicrous claim there were only 41,100 people who had been out of work for two years in 2010.  What she means is there were only 41,100 people who were lucky enough not to have been sent on one of Labour’s shit training or workfare schemes for two years.

In an effort to make Labour look bad when Iain Duncan Smith took over he decided that in future people who have attended workfare should still be considered long-term unemployed, even if they are temporarily removed from the current unemployment figures.  This is the reason long term unemployment looks to have risen so steeply. That this actually ended up making Iain Duncan Smith look bad just shows what a dick he is.

This is not the only lie that Reeves has been parroting this week.  Labour will not force anyone’s who’s been out of work over two years to take up a job as the Daily Mail declared this week.  They can’t.  There aren’t enough jobs.  What they will do is force claimants to attend their workfare plus a sandwich scheme for six months or face benefit sanctions.  What this will mean is people required to work for 25 hours a week on the minimum wage plus another ten hours for free.  Which of course means they won’t be working for the minimum wage, but substantially less.

Reeves claims that this extra ten hours a week won’t be work at all, it will be ‘training and development’ provided by the employer.  An employer like Poundland.  She must think we’re fucking idiots.  She also declares that this will not have an impact on existing jobs, or at least that’s what she might mean when she says “Employers won’t be not be able to replace existing jobs or vacancies”.  For all her elite education she can barely string a sentence together.

Labour’s Jobs Guarantee is workfare.  It may be slightly different to Tory workfare, but the impact on jobs and working conditions for everybody will be the same.  As will the impact of benefit sanctions for those who refuse or are unable to do this forced work.  Perhaps most disturbingly it is a direct attack on the minimum wage, with participants only to be paid for two thirds of the hours they are actually working.  And it will be the tax payer funding those paltry wages, not employers who will no doubt be dump people back on the dole once the six month wage subsidy is over, as recently happened on the now abandoned Wage Incentive scheme introduced by Nick Clegg.

Make no mistake the current Tory Government are vermin.  But just like Iain Duncan Smith, Rachel Reeves is a lying bastard.  A lying bastard who is currently trying to cosy up to claimants by pretending Labour will tinker with the savage sickness benefits regime whilst her leader Ed Miliband hints that they might save the Independent Living Fund.  They have no fucking intention of doing either and they have no intention of ending workfare.  The so-called choice at this year’s general election is between a bunch of privileged toffs who are open in their intentions, or snivelling fake Oxbridge twats in the Labour Party who will happily use our poverty to further their careers and then stab us in the back just as hard.  Fuck the lot of them.  Vote for Class War, with a brick or a ballot paper.

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Labour’s Workfare Plus A Sandwich Scheme Could Be The Most Exploitative Forced Work Yet

miliband

Ed Miliband pretended he has a real job as he announced his latest forced labour scheme.

Labour’s workfare plus a sandwich scheme is no better than the Tory’s current workfare and is every bit as badly thought out.

Labour’s Compulsory Jobs Guarantee takes the worst elements of almost all previous welfare-to-work style schemes and has rolled them all into one giant and hugely expensive fuck up. Possibly hundreds of thousands of people are to be forced to work in part-time temporary jobs with wages pegged at the minimum wage or face their benefits will be stopped.

Many people in these compulsory jobs may find themselves worse off then someone on current Tory workfare schemes.  The jobs will only be for 25 hours a week, meaning those over 21 will receive just £156.70 under current rates.  For the vast majority of claimants, who have rent to pay, this is likely to leave them between £20-30 a week better off than being on the dole.  The problem is that going to work everyday costs money.  In London the cheapest weekly travelcard costs over £30 a week.  Those on workfare at present have travel expenses met by the placement providers or welfare-to-work companies who run the schemes.  If travel expenses are not met for participants on the Jobs Guarantee, then many people will find themselves worse off than those currently on Tory workfare.  If these costs are met then the Jobs Guarantee will cost a lot more than the £5 billion that Ed Balls is claiming.

The problems do not end there.  Since those on the Future Jobs Fund will no longer be classed as unemployed – handily for the Government – they may also lose eligibility for Council Tax Support.  This is Iain Duncan Smith’s bungled scheme which replaced Council Tax Benefit, handing control over to local authorities to help the poorest pay local taxes.  The predictable result has been a postcode lottery and as the Public Accounts Committee today reported, has made many people in work worse off than they would be on benefits.  This will apply to many in Compulsory Jobs, who may no longer be eligible for Council Tax Support due to being officially employed.  This could also cut the incomes of people on the scheme to around the same weekly pittance as those forced to undertake unpaid work by the Tories.

Just like on the New Deal – Tony Blair’s bodged plan to cure youth unemployment –  those in a compulsory job will also face mandatory training for 10 hours a week.  It is unclear how this will work in practice, although a Labour Press Release seems to suggest this will merely mean employers are handed £500 on top of their free workers to provide this training.  It seems likely that people with Compulsory Jobs will find themselves working these ten hours without wages under the guise of it being ‘work experience’.  This will mean participants on the scheme working five hours a week more than those on current workfare.

On the Politics Show yesterday, the Shadow Employment Minister Stephen Timms, admitted that the cost of the Jobs Guarantee may mean that other previously announced initiatives, such as building more low cost homes, may not be included in the party’s next manifesto.  Labour would rather spend money forcing people to work on poverty pay than in solving the housing crisis – the real reason for the spiralling benefit bill and the cause of huge suffering for both the young and old alike.

It says everything about the modern Forced Labour Party that the best they can come up with is a scheme which sounds mildly better than workfare – but in practice is likely to be more exploitative.  In the worst case scenarios people in Compulsory Jobs will be forced to work longer for less money in their pockets than people currently on workfare.  The sad truth is that this scheme is all spin – a shoddy attempt by Labour to show that they will be tougher on benefits than Iain Duncan Smith.

With brutal benefit sanctions behind this scheme, unemployed people will be plunged into desperate poverty if they refuse a Compulsory Job and face grotesque exploitation if they agree.  The end result will be the undermining of wages and working conditions for all low paid workers as an army of un-unionised and poverty paid forced workers enters the private sector.  This is the true face of the modern Labour Party – as nasty and out of touch as any of the Tories they are so desperate to copy.

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More Poverty, More Homelessness, More Deaths: Labour Set Out A Vision For Workfare Britain

war-on-the-poorThe war on the poor is set to continue if Labour win the general election Rachel Reeves confirmed in her speech on social security policy today.

Pinning the blame for unemployment directly onto unemployed people, Reeves has set out a number of measures to fix those unemployed people with forced work and benefit sanctions.

At the heart of Labour’s policy is the so-called Jobs Guarantee which will see everyone who has been unemployed over two years – or a year for those under 25 – condemned to forced work for paltry sums of money.  In a genuinely nasty move, this work will be pegged at minimum wage and set at a maximum of 25 hours a week, meaning participants will not be eligible for tax credits.

For the vast majority of claimants, who pay rent for where they live, the bulk of any extra money will go straight to landlords due to housing benefit payments being cut as income rises.  For most claimants the Compulsory Jobs Guarantee will merely mean they have enough money to travel to their forced work placement and on a good day afford a cheap lunch.

This workfare plus a sandwich scheme will be backed with tough benefit sanctions, already one of the main drivers of poverty in the UK.  A report published last year by Citizens Advice warned that sanctions had led to people becoming homeless, attempting suicide and being forced to go through bins to find food.  Labour’s workfare programme would only makes these problems worse as over-zealous Jobcentre staff and welfare-to-work crooks seek out ever more ludicrous ways to leave people destitute.  If Labour are elected then we might yet see what happens when the foodbanks run out of food.

As well as 25 hours a week forced work, claimants will have to complete 10 hours a week ‘training’, leaving little time to actually look for a job.  With training increasingly a euphemism for workfare, it remains to be seen what shoddy provision this will entail.  One thing is for sure – it will be done on the cheap and is unlikely to lead to real skills or qualifications.

Around one million people could be forced onto this scheme and it is likely that most will be employed by the public sector or in charities as they were under Labour’s Future Jobs Fund.  That means one million new workers entering the workforce, with wages pegged at minimum wage and no  employment rights.  If people on Labour’s workfare are sacked they don’t just lose their job – which on these terms might be a blessed relief – they lose everything, even entitlement to the pittance of benefits.

Astonishingly Reeves also called for higher wages in her speech today, although there was little indication of how that might be achieved.  Yet it’s hard to imagine a better strategy to force down wages and undermine working conditions for everybody than an army of poverty paid workers who face destitution if they leave, get the sack, or take industrial action.  If the unions tolerate this, then they will only have themselves to blame as their relevance in the public sector vanishes into thin air.

Anyone who thinks that cash strapped local councils will not use claimants facing the Compulsory Jobs Guarantee as a cheap source of tax-payer funded free labour is a fucking idiot.  Ignore what Rachel Reeves says about shrinking wages – her policies are a blueprint for high unemployment and low pay.

What she doesn’t say is equally as important as what she does.  There is no mention of scrapping the despised Work Capability Assessment – and Ed Miliband has already said that these assessments will stay.  There was also no mention of halting massive cuts to Disability Living Allowance, which will see a fifth of disabled people losing vital benefits.  Ominously Reeves talks of ‘better targeted support’ for single parents and disabled people to enter the workplace to combat what she repeatedly calls ‘worklessness’.  Anyone who thinks we can trust the Labour Party to end the demonisation and harassment of sick or disabled claimants – which they started whilst in Government –  is also a fucking idiot.

As Iain Duncan Smith’s welfare reforms bring back poverty not seen in generations, the answer from the Labour Party is more of the same.  Despite a spate of reports of suicides linked to welfare reforms over Christmas, they are every bit as committed to driving the poor into the ground as the Tories they are so desperate to copy.

It is hardly surprising that an Oxbridge clown like Reeves, with her background in the banking sector, is so clueless about what people with nothing really need, which by the way is more money.  She’s probably never done a real day’s work in her life, let alone had to survive on benefits.  But that won’t stop her condemning people to lives of utter misery by blaming them for the poverty caused by capitalism.  There will be more tragic deaths linked to the erosion of the welfare state if Labour are elected next year.  And if Rachel Reeves still has her job, then she will have just as much blood on her hands as Iain Duncan Smith.

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