Tag Archives: Policy Exchange

Policy Exchange Plot Smart Cards And Doubling The Length of Some Benefit Sanctions


Barely out of school, the Policy Exchange’s Guy Miscampbell has probably never done a real day’s work in his life.

In a humiliating blow to Iain Duncan Smith’s welfare reforms, even the Policy Exchange have condemned the current mass use of benefit sanctions, whilst predictably calling for an even harsher regime.

A report published this week by the Tory think tank, and authored by Guy Miscampbell*, proposes that claimants should be given ‘yellow cards’ the first time they have benefits sanctioned for a lower level offence.  This would mean a smart-card with benefit preloaded onto it which could be used to monitor and control claimant’s spending.  The Policy Exchange admit the technology does not really exist to achieve this, however they think it’s a jolly good idea all the same.  As well as this claimants should be forced to attend the Jobcentre everyday, not to look for work as you might think,  but as a means of “punishing non-compliant behaviour” – the real reason for benefit sanctions.

This will only apply to lower level sanctions, the ones you get for being late for a  meeting or not turning up to a Work Programme appointment you were never told about.  The length of these new ‘non-financial’ sanctions should be doubled according to the bonkers think-tank.  The shame alone of being given a ‘Yellow Card’ by the Jobcentre will turn unemployed people into compliant little bunnies endlessly carrying out irksome and pointless ‘work related activity’ as a condition of receiving meagre benefits.

This will not be enough however to deter “undeserving claimants” say the Policy Exchange who want to double the length of the financial sanctions which will be used should someone slip up again after being given a Yellow Card.  It is often the most marginalised claimants who receive multiple sanctions – those battling addiction, homeless people, people with physical or mental health conditions or those with low levels of literacy or who speak English as a second language.  These are the undeserving claimants who will face even greater impoverishment and harassment if the Policy Exchange get their way.

This report suggests that panic is setting in amongst the swivel-eyed right that the public may not support their war on the poor forever and therefore the DWP’s vicious welfare reforms may have to be spun in a different direction.  Buried beneath their fake concern however is a sanctions regime precision targeted at those likely to find it hardest to find a job and least likely to have much public sympathy for their plight.  Even the unworkable, and frankly fucking laughable Yellow Card system seems to be a cheap attempt to use public concern over the poverty to introduce some form of food-stamp style smart-card scheme into the benefits system.

It is significant though that for the first time the Policy Exchange feel the need to not only insist ‘conditionality’ in the benefit’s system is necessary, but to argue concessions should be made to ensure this view prevails.  It comes at a time when an increasing number of people are calling for all benefit sanctions to be stopped without exceptions.  This is the only way to ensure a fair and humane welfare state, one which doesn’t grind people into the ground if they become unemployed, sick or disabled, but provides dignity and a genuine chance for people to get their lives back on track.

*If this the Policy Exchange report reads like it was written by some pampered little sixth former without a clue how people live in the real world then that’s because it more or less was.  22 year old Guy Miscampbell (pictured) left Durham University with a second class degree in 2012.  After four months as an intern he finally become an employee at the Policy Exchange just over a year ago.  According to his linkedin page this is the only job he has ever had.  And now this chinless little Tarquin thinks he has the knowledge or experience to propose changes to social security that could potentially affect millions of people.

He’s on twitter @guymiscampbell.

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

How The Policy Exchange Manufactured Public Support For Workfare

Osborne-mrbeanGeorge Osborne is pulling rank on Iain Duncan Smith and is expected to announce yet another pie in the sky mass workfare scheme this morning.  Whilst at the time of writing the current plans for forced labour are not fully clear, it is likely they will be based on two recent reports from hard right think tanks promoting unpaid work.

The first came from the Tax Payer’s Alliance (TPA) and was the kind of swivel-eyed nonsense that might be expected from a bunch of Jeremy Clarkson wannabes with too much time on their hands.  The second, from the Policy Exchange, was more nuanced, even going so far as to attack the TPA’s  workfare plans as prohibitively expensive – an embarrassing assessment of a report written by a group who pretend their main focus is on saving the tax payer money.

The arguments for the Policy Exchange’s plan – which is six months workfare for some, but not all claimants – are easily demolished, mostly by the fact that this was recently tried and failed dismally.  It is the survey on which the Policy Exchange’s report is based however that grabbed the headlines and is likely to be used justify Osborne’s plans.

“Everyone should be made to work for their benefits except mothers with young children” thundered the blurb for the report on the Policy Exchange website.  Only 22% of people say disabled people should be exempt the think-tank proclaimed.

In a truly astonishing performance, the Policy Exchange then proceeded to distance themselves from the braying mob and attempted to portray themselves as the reasonable ones.  “Did you see our public polling on this, frightening” said Policy Exchange Head of Economics Matthew Oakley on twitter, his fake liberal facade dripping with concern at the savagery of the general public.  The Policy Exchange themselves do not support workfare for sick and disabled people they re-assured us, despite the fact that sick and disabled people can already be forced to work without pay on the Work Programme they love so much.

Instead the Policy Exchange only propose six months unpaid work for some groups of mainstream unemployed claimants.  Aren’t they just Santa’s fucking little helpers.

Yet the general public’s opinions on workfare have been grossly distorted by the nature of the questions asked in this survey – of which there were only two according to Oakley who has promised to publish the full details of the poll later this week.

The first question asked whether people thought “The government should require people who are unemployed for 12 months or more to do community work in return for their state benefits.”

The truth is that only just over half agreed at 56%.  But the public were not asked if this workfare should be full time.  In fact it does not even specify that the work should be unpaid – previous workfare schemes have come with a top up payment to benefits attached.  Whilst those engrossed in welfare policy might assume workfare to mean 30 hours a week, every week, without pay, there’s no reason a survey respondent would think that.  They might think yes, they should volunteer in an old people’s home for an afternoon a week, or do a couple of days a month helping out in the local park, for reasonable expenses.  This 56% in no way gives a mandate for full time unpaid workfare, especially as the other options given to respondents were a version of Labour’s phony job guarantee scheme or maintaining the status quo, which almost no-one ever wants when it comes to Government policy.

The second question is even more dubious.  The Policy Exchange are attempting to use the answers to this question to claim that only 22% of the public support disabled people being exempt from workfare.  That incidentally is disabled people “who are capable of working” – another devious phrase as who is and isn’t capable of working is clearly open to debate as the Atos scandal has shown.  The obvious inference from this figure is that 78% of the public support workfare for disabled people.  Yet in question 1 only 56% of people support workfare for anyone at all.  There must be something  going on to explain this bizarre discrepancy.

Question 2 asks respondents to imagine that compulsory workfare exists and then questions who should be exempt.  Now a disabled person completing this survey may think well if I have to do workfare then why shouldn’t a lone parent, and vice versa.  That doesn’t mean they support workfare, it means they support equality, of a sort.

There is no option available for those who think that everyone should be exempt from workfare, although it is possible to answer that every group of claimants should undertake unpaid work.  And so in yet another dirty trick, the Policy Exchange are pretending that just because someone ticks a box saying single mothers with children should be exempt from compulsory workfare in this imaginary world, that means they support it for everyone else in the real world.  But that isn’t what they were asked.

Had the Policy Exchange been honest then they would have only asked those 56% of people who agreed with workfare who they felt should be exempt from unpaid work.  But that would not have given the results they wanted or justified the accompanying staged shock horror at the results of the survey.

It is even possible that the entire poll is bogus, although this is almost certainly down to sheer incompetence rather than any attempt to further hijack the poll.  One of the options given in Question 1 is:  “The government should maintain the status quo, whereby those who are employed for 12 months or more continue to be paid state benefits while they search for work.”

This is the only option available for those who oppose both Tory and Labour  workfare other than ‘don’t know’ or ‘none of these’.  And due to what appears to be a typo, this option suggests people should be given unemployment benefits even after being in work for 12 months.  Matthew Oakley says he doesn’t know whether this error, which appears in the report, also appears in the poll.  He said he will check with yougov.  And then he went quiet on the subject.  He’s on twitter @PXEconomics if you fancy asking him about it.

The Policy Exchange report is available at: http://policyexchange.org.uk/images/publications/work%20fair.pdf

A statement on Osborne’s workfare plans from Boycott Workfare can be found at: http://www.boycottworkfare.org/?p=3018

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

Policy Exchange Clown Placed In Charge of Benefit Sanctions Review

matthew-oakleyAn upcoming review into benefit sanctions is to be overseen by Britain’s biggest scrounger Matthew Oakley the DWP have revealed today.  Oakley is the Head of Economics & Social Policy at the right wing think tank the Policy Exchange, whose proposals have been behind many of Iain Duncan Smith’s brutal and bungled welfare reforms.

The scope of the upcoming review will largely focus on the information about sanctions given to claimants who face ever more draconian and farcical conditions for claiming benefits.  It is unlikely to discuss the hundreds of thousands of people forced into absolute destitution by the current regime which is expected to sanction around a million claims this year.

Matthew Oakley has previously authored a paper on welfare reform which includes not only a demand for a greater use of sanctions for part workers, but astonishingly even pre-emptive benefit sanctions for people on fixed term contracts.  Oakley believes that these workers should be stripped of any entitlement to benefits at all if Jobcentre staff decide that they weren’t doing enough to find work even before they lost their job.

So impressed was Iain Duncan Smith with this swivel-eyed nonsense that he gave Oakley a non-job on the Social Security Advisory Committee (SSAC) – the body whose job it is to scrutinise social security reforms..  This means he is now paid  £256.80 a day of tax payer’s cash to provide so-called expert opinions on policies he helped create.

Prior to working at the Policy Exchange, Oakley was in another  tax payer funded non-job at the Treasury where he worked on a white paper outlining proposals for Universal Credit.  Now Iain Duncan Smith is to shovel yet more of our money into his grubby pockets by asking him to carry out what is laughingly called an ‘independent review’ of benefit sanctions.

Whilst over two million people are desperate for any job, Oakley now has three – and two of them at our expense.  It’s jobs for the boys all round at the DWP for anyone prepared to throw away their dignity and cheer along Iain Duncan Smith’s endless crazy schemes.  Oakley is on twitter @PXEconomics if you fancy asking for your money back.

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

Boycott Workfare Target Policy Exchange Gimps

Meet your class enemy, Matthew Oakley.

Meet your class enemy, Matthew Oakley.

With protests against workfare set to take place across the UK today, Boycott Workfare have also called for a day of online action against the Policy Exchange.

This Tory think-tank has been behind many of this Government’s bodged social security reforms.  A sneering cabal of failed public schoolboys – too stupid for business and too lazy to get proper jobs – they are paid real money to spout uninformed garbage about poverty.

One of their members, chinless gimp Matthew Oakley, even scrounges £256.80 a day from the tax payer as a so called expert on social security.  Iain Duncan Smith recently handed Oakley a position on the Social Security Advisory Committee where he is now paid with our money to scrutinise welfare reforms he was first paid by the Policy Exchange to promote.  Yet all he did prior to joining the Policy Exchange was some tax payer funded non-job in the Treasury.  It would be hard for Iain Duncan Smith to find someone who knows less about social security and welfare – which is probably why he’s there.

Oakley is on twitter @PXEconomics  Why not ask him how he feels about being the UK’s biggest benefit cheat?

Policy Exchange are on facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/PolicyExchange

Boycott Workfare also call on people to email the Policy Exchange, perhaps with some light reading material.  Oakley’s email address is: matthew.oakley@policyexchange.org.uk.

The DWP are also begging for new ideas to harass unemployed and disabled claimants, so take some time to submit ideas to: uc.newapproaches@dwp.gsi.gov.uk

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

Mark Hoban Begs For Help With Floundering Welfare Reform

mark-hoban-scroungerSkiving Employment Minister Mark Hoban resorted to begging the corporate sector for new ideas to harass benefit claimants in his speech to the Policy Exchange this week.

In a rare appearance,  Hoban tried to do butch and turned his attention to self employed and part time workers.  When Universal Credit is launched these workers will be forced to continually look for ‘more or better paid’ work as a condition of receiving in work benefits.  Over a million people are set to be affected by the change, which could mean part time workers forced to leave jobs to take up temporary positions, or self employed people forced to turn down work to attend workfare.

Single parents, sick and disabled people are also to be forced into endless job searching meaning already over-stretched Jobcentre staff could see workloads almost tripled.  With no large scale recruitment at the DWP on the cards, many have asked whether this kind of mass state intrusion is even possible.

Universal Jobmatch was one answer, the online job seeking site recently set up at the cost of millions.  Unfortunately Monster Jobs – who designed the site – pulled a fast one on bungling Iain Duncan Smith and it’s rubbish and probably illegal.

With computers proving too complicated for DWP Ministers, Hoban’s latest crazy scheme is to police the ‘toughest ever’ benefit conditionality regime by the medium of text.

Plans have been announced to taunt part time workers with texts, informing them of the astounding fact that if they got a full time job they’d have more money.   For the millions already desperate to increase hours this senseless provocation will be accompanied by a monthly letter, telling them the same thing.  There will even be an online calculator, just like there is now, so claimants can work out that if they earn more money then they will have more money.

Lord Fraud is even going round bull-shitting that these magical texts will somehow create 300,000 new jobs!

With Universal Credit descending into a shambles, the DWP are looking desperate for ideas.  So much so that Hoban and Lord Fraud have launched a consultation begging for help from charities and the welfare to work sector.

Hoban obviously isn’t interested in doing any actual work himself.  If this week’s speech is the best he can come up with, then it’s probably best for the entire country that he goes back to his bed and draws the curtains.

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

Matthew Oakley: Tory Stooge Appointed to Independent Welfare Scrutiny Commitee

matthew-oakleyA Tory stooge who works for the Policy Exchange think tank has been appointed to the so called independent Social Security Advisory Committee by Iain Duncan Smith.

Matthew Oakley appears to one of those chinless failures who’s bummed about doing non-jobs at the government and whose only experience of social security is writing sub Daily Mail rants about benefit scroungers and the urgent need for more welfare cuts.

Despite this he’s now being paid a tidy £256.80 a day of tax payer’s cash to provide ‘expert’ advice on welfare reform.

The SSAC are a body whose job it is to scrutinise any changes to laws which may affect social security.  Whilst they have no formal power, the government must legally consult them on new legislation.  Shortly after this Government weren’t elected, the committee issued a scathing report on the plans for mass workfare.

Not long after this the head of the Committee was replaced by DWP stooge, Paul Gray.  Then last year Manpower stooge, Keith Faulkner was appointed to the committee.  Faulkner is the former head of workfare company Working Links –  a front for the global recruitment firm Manpower who have long been trousering huge sums of cash as part of the welfare reform racket.

Manpower also fund the Centre for Social Justice, Iain Duncan Smith’s weird Christian think tank who have generated much of the misinformation and outright garbage that is currently spouted about welfare by DWP Ministers.

The rest of the crap has come from the Policy Exchange, a kind of corporate subsidised employment scheme for rich kids who are too lazy to get a real job and too stupid to be proper academics.   Matthew Oakley is their Head of Economics & Social Policy.  He was recently behind the Welfare Reform 2.0 document which calls for even more state harassment of people in part time work or on low wages.

Before working at the Policy Exchange Oakley was an advisor at the Treasury and also worked on the white paper outlining Universal Credit – the sweeping and botched changes to welfare currently being mismanaged by Iain Duncan Smith.

It appears that Oakley will not leave his lucrative job at the Policy Exchange, meaning he will now be paid by a right wing think tank to propose changes to welfare and then be paid by the tax payer to ‘independently’ scrutinise those changes.

Much of welfare reform is already unravelling largely because of hare-brained schemes dreamed up by think tanks who couldn’t even be bothered to learn about the very system they were proposing to reform.

That clueless idiots like Oakley are now being rewarded with tax payer funded jobs for their role in the shambles suggests it’s full steam ahead for yet more crazy schemes at the DWP.

Oakley is on twitter @PXEconomics

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid