Tag Archives: Esther McVey

Luxury Hotel Booked For Annual One Day Workfare Conference, Tickets Just £450!

radisson-bluThe Employment Related Services Assosication (ERSA) have booked a luxury four star hotel as the venue for this year’s tax payer funded workfare conference.

ERSA are the trade body established to lie on behalf of graping welfare-to-work firms like A4e, G4S and Seetec.   These companies are paid billions of pounds to run the shoddy ‘back to work’ type training courses and workfare schemes now inflicted on unemployed and disabled benefit claimants.

Much of that money goes on glitzy back-slapping affairs like this year’s conference on December 1st which is due to be held at the luxury Radisson Blu Portman Hotel in Central London.  Here delegates will meet with politicians such as Esther McVe and discuss how to shovel even more money down the drain in the name of bullying people unable to find work.

Claimants themselves are not invited to the one day conference, with some tickets for the day long event costing as much as £450 – the equivalent of about seven and a half weeks unemployment benefit.  The official theme for this conference will be ‘All Change? Preparing for the General Election 2015’.  What they really man is let’s talk about how we can scam the next Government as much as we have this one.

Joining McVey as a speaker will be Mayor of Newham Robin Wales, preusmably  taking a break from his ceaseless work harassing, insulting and evicting homeless single parents like the Focus E15 mums.  Rarely will so many twats have been gathered in one place.

As such is seems only fair to warn the hotel’s customers who they will be forced to share a building with on that date.  You can tweet the Radison Blue Hotel chain @RadissonBlu or use their facebook page to tell prospective customers what to expect on December 1st.

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Cranky Jobcentre Psych Tests Are Unethical, But Will Anyone Except Claimants Care?

look-into-my-eyesThe news that unmployed people will face psychological testing in order to determine how much Jocentre harassment they should receive has prompted warnings from psychologists concerned about the ethics of the scheme.

Esther McVey recently announced that Jobcentre busy-bodies will soon  be expected to quiz new claimants to assess their “attitudes, behavioural norms and levels of self-belief”.  A small pilot scheme is currently taking place which is soon to be extended to 27,000 unemployed people.  Those who fail this cranky assessment and are judged ‘disengaged’ or ‘despondant’ will no doubt face being ‘helped’ with forced unpaid work and benefit sanctions.

According to the British Psychological Society (BPS): “It is critical …  that all assessments are conducted by experienced users of psychometrics – ideally under the supervision of a chartered psychologist. The success of a psychometric assessment of jobseekers will depend on sensitive, constructive and meaningful feedback about the results.”

Of course these tests will feature nothing of the sort.  A PCS Union briefing for Jobcentre staff says that management have told them these assessments will take just “2 to 5 minutes to complete”.  There is no mention of any specialist training being provided to claimant advisors and certainly no sign of a chartered psychologist running the show.

What this means is that Jobcentre workers, already under pressure due to short-staffing, will now be expected to administer tests which psychologists regard as unethical.

Whether the BPS or PCS plan to actually do anything about this situation remains to be seen.  Don’t hold your breath, but you can ask them @BPSOfficial and @PCS_Union.

H/T @lynnefriedli and @boycottworkfare

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Young? Unemployed? Don’t Expect A Job At The DWP

mcvey1“I have always said that I will do everything I can to help equip young people with the skills they need to get their foot on the ladder – everything I can to encourage employers to open their doors to young people – and everything I can to support the youth of today to get on in life.”  Esther McVey responding to employment statistics February 2014

Despite endless government initiatives aimed at bringing down youth unemployment, just 1% of staff at the DWP are under 25 in a workforce that numbers almost 100,000.

The shocking admission comes in the department’s annual equality report which also shows that only 4.3% of DWP workers are between the ages of 25 and 29.   These figures come despite the Employment Minister Esther McVey repeatedly trying to tell us that young unemployed people are on of her ‘key concerns’.  Turns out she’s far more concerned about forcing young people to work in Poundland for no pay then she is about using her department to actually give people a real job.

Whilst anyone under 25 who wants to work at the Jobcentre should probably spend some time experimenting with drugs for a while first, these are damning statistics for a government that pretends to care about youth unemployment.  The truth is that just like every other grasping employer, the DWP has no interest in providing any genuine help for young people to get started in a career.  Why would they, when they can staff their offices with young people on unpaid ‘work experience’ instead of actually paying them wages.

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Workfare Till You Drop – Esther McVey To Target Older Claimants

WorkFare-not-workingWhat they say …

“It’s time to change the conversation about extending working life from one about working “until you drop”, to one about a fuller working life, that means working as long as is necessary to create the future you want.”

Esther McVey and Steve Webb, Fuller Working Lives Ministerial Statement

What they mean …

labour-market-exitFuller Working Lives, page 8

Unpaid work, cuts to disability benefits and mandated ‘work-related activity’ are set to be at the heart of the latest DWP strategy aimed at bullying older people off benefits

Last week the DWP published Fuller Working Lives, a ‘framework for action’ for older unemployed people and the rhetoric is depressingly familiar. Under the guise of help and support it will be business as usual as older claimants are left at the mercy of the grasping welfare-to-work industry.

The report notes that around a million people over 50 are out of work due to a health condition or disability and the new strategy sets out measures to force this group back to work.  Astonishingly the DWP claim that one of ways to achieve this is the introduction of Personal Independence Payments.  This is the replacement for Disability Living Allowance which has been designed to strip benefits from 20% of disabled people and currently has up to a six month waiting period for new claims.  Disabled people’s organisations have warned that many will actually have to give up work if they lose this benefit which pays for the cost of care and mobility needs.

Other measures to ‘help’ sick or disabled claimants include a trial to establish whether harassment from a Work Programme provider, a health care professional, or a Jobcentre Plus Work Coach is the most effective means of bullying someone off benefits.

It’s not all doom and gloom though.  The DWP is promising some exciting new initiatives, such as testing telephone based  ’employment-focused talking therapies’ from a ‘specialist provider’ – which is likely to mean a phone call from some half-qualified quack who’s blagged a job on the basis that they saw a Derren Brown show once.  If this doesn’t work then claimants with a mental health condition will be able to access “online mental health assessments and computerised Cognitive Behavioural Therapy”.  If Poundland did healthcare, then this is what it would look like.

Poundland will be pleased with the new strategy, which sings the praises of Sector Based Work Academies – a long winded way of saying workfare – for older unemployed people.  This is the scheme which hit the headlines after young graduate Cait Reilly was forced to work in Poundland for no pay.  Older claimants are not be left out of this exciting opportunity to work without wages for high street retailers.

It’s not just workfare employers who are in for a windfall.  The DWP recognise that “Some unemployed older people will need the more intensive support available through the Work Programme”.  There’s plenty of cash available to prop up this disastrous scheme which has seen barely 5% of disabled people find work after two years of bullying by private sector Work Programme providers.  There’s even more money on the way for the welfare-to-work industry with Supervised JobSearch Pilots finally to be introduced.  Older unemployed people will soon have the lucky chance to be cooped up in offices for 35 hours a week whilst some twat with a clipboard harangues them about being unemployed.  If they don’t turn up their benefits will be stopped.

Older claimants who want real training will have to pay themselves however, by taking out a Professional and Career Development Loans.  I didn’t make that up.  The Government are encouraging people nearing retirement to take out a huge loan on the off chance it may get them a job for the for last couple of years of their working lives.  Loans that are repayable with interest, whether or not someone finds work, and those repayments will continue once they draw a pension.

This lays bare the truth about all this fake fucking help that the DWP plans to inflict on older people.  There has never been any decent training available for people on out of work benefits despite billions spent on welfare-to-work schemes. Try telling a Jobcentre Work Coach you fancy training as an electrician and they’ll send you on workfare in Comet to hump televisions about all day for no pay.  The DWP have no interest in providing real training so that older unemployed people can get jobs that might actually pay the bills.  They’d far rather condemn older claimants to the same low or no-waged precarious world that those starting their working lives now face.  That’s probably this Government’s warped idea of equality.

You can download Fuller Working Lives at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/319872/fuller-working-lives.pdf

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Zero-hours Contracts and Universal Credit Are Still A Car Crash Waiting To Happen

DWP officials meet to discuss the implementation of Universal Credit

DWP officials meet to discuss the implementation of Universal Credit

Comments this week by the barely employable Employment Minister Esther McVey are so out of touch with the realities of work that they could only have been made by someone who’s never had a real job.

Forcing claimants to take on zero-hour contracts will be unworkable under upcoming changes to the benefit’s system and is likely to lead to huge numbers of people having benefits sanctioned and facing homelessness.  This will not be ‘enabling’ as McVey claimed.

For a long time now DWP Ministers have been panicking about how Universal Credit and increased benefit conditionality can possibly work alongside zero-hours contracts.  When the new benefit is fully introduced (stop laughing), claimants working part time will be forced to carry out ‘work related activity’ in the hours they are not working or have their in-work benefits stopped.  The DWP appear to have confirmed that this will include Housing Benefits, meaning that homelessness is to be added to forced work and child poverty as yet another weapon to police the poor.  Work related activity might mean attending a private sector company for shoddy job search sessions or CV workshops, signing on at the Jobcentre everyday, or in many cases workfare.

Claimants will also be expected to give up their current job for one with more hours at the drop of a hat, or take on an additional job until they are earning the equivalent of the minimum wage for 35 hours a week (or slightly less for lone parents).

What this means is that nobody will be able to sign a contract with irregular hours which expects the worker to be available at any time and not to work for anyone else.  With 1.4 million employees now on zero-hours contracts, that will mean unemployed people will not be able to take these kinds of jobs and stay within the new benefit rules.

The Government have said they are looking into banning ‘exclusive’ zero-hour contracts which tie workers into one employer.  They will have a fight on their hands with some of the greediest and most powerful companies in the country. They also say claimants will not be forced to take up these kinds of contracts.  But none of this will make any difference in practice to people in low paid insecure jobs under pressure to be at work at short notice.

As anyone who’s ever had a real job will know, most bosses are wankers.  You just try telling some jumped up supermarket manager that you can’t take a shift because you have to go and do your other zero-hours contract job instead and see how long you last.  It won’t matter if they are banned from saying in your contract that you can’t work for other people.  They’ll just sack you if you can’t go to work one day because your shift clashes with your other job.  The whole point of most zero-hours contracts is that workers are expected to be available to turn up at any time or at short notice after all.

Comedy toff Lord Fraud had already suggested that people could have two zero-hour contracts when he begged the business community not to use exclusive contracts and change their business practices to fit in with the Universal Credit regime.  He seems to think employers care more about implementing Iain Duncan Smith’s latest crazy scheme than they do about making money out of ripping off their workers.  But at least he realises there is a problem.  McVey is either in complete denial or is just plain ignorant about how the business world now works.

Universal Credit long ago became a bad joke, and one that will have desperate consequences.  Jobcentre advisors will soon have more power over workers than their bosses as people are forced into an endless juggle to keep one, two or more employers happy and maintain their ‘work related activity’.  Whether someone gets sacked or sanctioned, or both,  the outcome will be the same.  Thousands of people, some with children, left without any money to buy food and unable to pay the rent.

Above pic from here

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Don’t Believe Esther McVey’s Bedroom Tax Lies – The Public Do Not Support This Policy

smash-bedroom-taxEmployment Minister Esther McVey’s desperate attempt to mislead the public over the Bedroom Tax hit a new low this week with the woefully distorted reporting of a recent DWP survey.

In a breathtakingly dishonest press release, McVey claimed that the public support the Bedroom Tax based on the findings of a recent poll carried out by the DWP. Yet this poll found that only 30% of people support the Bedroom Tax if it means someone might have to move to a different area – the inevitable consequence for many hit by the tax.  40% of people do not support the policy if this is the case.  The survey also found that only 31% agree with the Bedroom Tax if it means people have less money to spend on bills or living expenses compared to 35% who oppose the measure in these circumstances.

These are not the only findings which reveal the public distaste for this policy in practice. 54% of people think the Bedroom Tax is unfair if there are not enough smaller properties to rehouse people locally, compared to just 17% in support, whilst only 33% of respondents thought it right that  someone hit by the tax should be forced to move into the private rented sector compared to 35% who disagreed.

None of these results were mentioned in McVey’s press release.  Yet the survey clearly shows that the public are strongly opposed to the Bedroom Tax if it means people being forced to move or facing increased poverty.   And that’s exactly what the policy will mean to almost all those affected.  McVey chose to ignore this completely and instead  gushed that 78% people believe it is important to tackle over-crowding and under-occupancy in social housing, which is hardly a surprising result. Survey respondents were not asked if this should be tackled by building much more social housing, the only thing guaranteed to help solve the problem.

What the survey reveals is that people have a far more nuanced approach to the problem than DWP Ministers currently seem capable of. So whilst 54% of the public do not think it is very ‘fair’ that some people have more bedrooms than they need – the other statistic the DWP trilled last week – a far larger majority of people believe the measures being taken to address this are unfair.

Few people would argue that society is currently very fair.  It is unfair that a fucking idiot like George Osborne inherited a multi-million pound fortune and slimed his way through a hugely expensive education to grasp control of the nation’s finances.  As the daughter of a highly successful businessman Esther McVey’s only real experience of life has been a non-job in her parent’s company followed by a few appearances on the telly.  It is unfair that a pompous and out of touch fool like her should have been given the power to destroy the lives of thousands of severely disabled people by attempting to close the Independent Living Fund.  Life is not fair, as the public know only too well.

It is quite possible to think that some people having bedrooms they don’t need is probably a bit unfair and yet still be strongly opposed to crude measures like the Bedroom Tax to address this disparity. And that is what the results of this survey seem to suggest.  That only 49% of people surveyed agreed with the Bedroom Tax ‘in principle’ – if not in practice – shows that in fact many people accept someone might need an extra room due to disability, having children come to stay or a wide range of other factors that reflect the diversity of human needs.

A recent study on the Benefit Cap revealed that support for this policy began to disintegrate when people were made aware of the possible consequences – such as families being socially cleansed to different cities.  This week’s  survey shows that people have a similar, and stronger, opposition to the consequences of the Bedroom Tax.  People want benefit cuts without anyone getting hurt.  And they have been deceived that this can take place by a ten year campaign by politicians of all parties to portray life on benefits as easy.

The reality is that people dependent on social security were desperately poor before welfare reform began.  The only people getting rich out of the welfare state were landlords.  With hundreds of thousands of people set to be forced out of social housing into the private sector due to the Bedroom Tax, the landlords will keep getting rich. But as homelessness continues to rise, the use of foodbanks soars and with a two year wave of evictions just around the corner, the public is about to discover the truth about the UK’s scant safety net.  They will not forgive this Government easily when they see what has been done and the lies that were told to justify this savagery begin to unravel.

The survey results can be read at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/255654/public-perceptions-of-rsrs.pdf

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Esther McVey Lied – Only 10% of DLA Awards Are Based On Just Filling In A Form

government-lieFigures just released by the DWP show that new Employment Minister Esther Mcvey used bare-faced lies to justify changes to disability benefits in her previous role as Minister for Disabled People.

The figures record the evidence used to assess Disability Living Allowance claims (PDF), the benefit intended to meet the additional costs of living with a disability and which is available to those in or out of work.  Despite repeated claims from Ministers that all people have to do to qualify for DLA is fill in a form, the figures show that in almost all cases this is untrue.

Just 10% of DLA claims are based on the form only – a form which is 40 pages long – and even then further medical evidence, such as copies of prescriptions or medical reports will usually have been provided.  In 40% of claims a GP’s report is required for a successful claim and in a further 45% of cases further evidence is used, such as a information from a social worker or healthcare professional.  6% of claimants are called in for a face-to-face assessment.

This means it was a breath-taking lie when Esther Mcvey stated earlier in the year that“around 50 per cent of (DLA) decisions are made on the basis of the claim form alone – without any additional corroborating medical evidence.”

This vital benefit is now being renamed Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and a new Atos style assessment system will determine who qualifies for support.  The originally stated aim of this change – although ministers seem to have gone quiet on the fact – is to strip disability benefits from a fifth of adult claimants.  Almost everyone currently claiming DLA will eventually be re-assessed using crude tests similar to the notorious Work Capability Assessment which has seen hundreds of thousands of sick and disabled people wrongly judged ‘fit for work’.  In her role as Minister for Disabled People it was McVey’s job to justify this savage new regime which is likely to bring destitution and chaos to the lives of many disabled people.  That job is now being done by ex-army man Mike Penning.  A trained killer is finally in charge of the Office for Disability Issues.

McVey was promoted to Employment Minister in the recent reshuffle, replacing skiving Mark Hoban who after a year of barely being in the job was sacked to make way for someone with a more pro-active approach to bullshitting the public.  Previously Chris Grayling had occupied the role where he wove epic fictions about the social security system which were endlessly repeated by a fawning right wing press.

McVey seems determined to keep up that tradition and has got off to a flying start by cheering the recent fall in the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance.  The DWP are dragging their feet on providing the most recent statistics for sanctions and disallowances in the Jobseeker’s Allowance system.  It is likely this fall is down in part to people having benefits refused due to  stricter conditions for claiming the dole rather than people finding work.  But you’ll never hear that from the DWP,  especially now there is yet another lying bastard occupying the role of Employment Minister.

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