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The Work and Pensions Secretary insists that “almost everyone” can find work. The statistics tell a
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Tags: Iain Duncan Smith unemployment
I note the ITV News tonight and how three people came forward all apparently 'happy' with their new work initiative, saying how it motivated them and gave them a sense of purpose. I wonder what stage school they came from!
Here's the latest IDS benediction -
"Long-term benefit claimants could be forced to do compulsory manual labour under proposals being put forward by the government, it has emerged.
Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith is set to outline plans for four-week placements doing jobs like gardening and litter clearing".
I thought enforced community service was for criminals? Oh silly me, I forgot - tory government ergo benefit claimants are criminals.
An expensive one probably!
Hindle - It is awful. I have a case in the Upper Tribunal on the issue of removal of the mobility component for those in residential care. It's currently connected with where their care costs are funded from, I agree with removal of the care component as payment of that would be duplicity in payment. However, the mobility component funding emanates back to the funding of invalid trikes and NHS funding. My argument is that if a claimant can take advantage of locomotion outdoors and they meet the criteria, there should be no withdrawal of payment. The funding stream argument is a complicated one but I say it goes back years to when the Trikes were introduced and the DSS said you could have the Trike or the money. That dictates the origin of the funding regardless of all the complexities created since then with PCT's etc. The case has been going on for ages and keeps getting stayed pending other judgments on the same issue.
Lou: Oh no! It's a return to the days of the work gangs created by the Tories years ago. They'd all be unemployed and give the job of 'leader' to the most experienced. Then they sent them tasks like painting scouts huts which were due to be demolished anyway! In most cases the leaders took a few pounds off those who wanted to get off early; another crazy coalition idea!
They just don't learn anything from days gone by.
Yes Nick that was almost too good to be true and I'd like to know who they were, I thought they were more likely to be a voluntary group than people coerced into compulsory community work, in which case they would feel differently about it as it's a personal choice not a government compulsion.
I just read that Link Lou, thanks as always for locating these snippets. I note the way IBS (to give him his real name) says they'll pull them in to put them on workfare where they think they are doing undeclared work. Wouldn't it be more sensible to declare a bit on an amnesty on the undeclared work and see if it could be turned into a real job? Even a black economy job is a job and what needs to be looked at are the reasons why the work couldn't be done on a proper footing.
The work gangmaster's will just take a bribe to let the claimant go off and do their job on the side, it's all an echo of the past.
I'm assuming Nick that whilst one is on a four week forced community service one will not count on the unemployment figures too?
Criminals who don't turn up for their community service don't get their benefits or wages docked. I'm sure legally that they cannot be forced into community work or legally have their benefit stopped for failing to do the four week stints?
Also, if they are on a four week community placement, how can they be looking for work?
They say it will be aimed at people deliberately not trying to find work. You already have to fill in your employment quest details when you claim JSA, you've had to do so for years and they've become very strict on that in recent years as in checking out the information given to them to ensure the claimant isn't just making it up
How do they decide that you're deliberately avoiding looking for work, is it if some person behind a desk in the job centre thinks you're not making enough effort? Is it going to be a case of after twelve months you automatically fall into an idle layabout category so you get put on community duties?
It's also for when they think claimants might be working apparently. Surely if the DWP thought someone was working then they would be investigating it and finding the evidence to confirm or deny the thought?
The debate on tuesday is going to be very interesting. From what I can gather it's been called by Labour over Housing benefit but will cover other areas of welfare reform.
@nick, how do you deal with welfare dependency? I think your knees are jerking...
I'm sure they will have rolling blocks of 4 week claimants involved in these projects and will use them as 'engaged in work experience' statistics to hide the true number of out of work. The new legislation will, as I understand it, be able to apply sanctions for non-compliance.
Front line staff at the JCP are trained to look at Claimants who say have dirty finger nails or who turn up looking like they've been working, they also ring people at certain times of the day to see if they answer their home phones.
The investigation teams won't have the resources to track suspects. I suspect this is where credit agencies will be engaged to look for patterns of increased spending and ATM withdrawals and loyalty cards being used which are out of the claimant's area. All the technology is there and the law already permits the info to be obtained in the detection of fraud. DWP investigations often go on some nine months before the claimant is called in, I always dispute the overpayment for this period on the basis that the DWP should have stopped the payments when they had reasonable suspicion to launch the investigation.
Lox: Explain your question in a way that resembles something sensible and I'll respond?
I have been banned ,by my wife,from watching the news -in particular anything that mentions "welfare" as I start a bit of a rant when the lies,inaccuracies(unfortunately the BBC is not very good at the moment)concerning numbers etc and propaganda pour out of every newsreader-and that Bl%%dy repeated film of a typical estate to signify benefit recipients(nothing wrong with living there) -ANYBODY MAY RECEIVE WELFARE WE ARE NOT ALL THE SAME_IT CAN HAPPEN TO ANYONE_on no I have started again-must rest
Yes you are probably right Lou, they could have been happy volunteers because they never mentioned benefits. It was staged and more spin. Gordon Brown was mimicked for saying there will be 'no more boom and bust', this lot's slogan should be 'The wealthy will boom and the rest will go bust'!
This insanity goes on and the toothless labour lot join in the singsong,i resigned from the labour party tonight over this issue Miliband and band of merry men clearly see the sick and the disabled as a burden.
Well they can bugger off if they think they're getting my vote again.
LOU,NICK-and finally -you may have seen this but just in case http://www.touchstoneblog.org.uk/2010/11/workfare-is-unfair/
Very funny hindle-a. I know what you mean about rants, mine are oft directed at the tv or radio but they pale into insignificance to the rants that I can go on whenever I see the political partners in crime masquerading as Heaven sent saviours.
I disagree on the Beeb as I find Sky more biased than the beeb but that's just my personal take on it.
I'm just listening to their news review and this latest moment of insanity of compulsory community work being described as a reason for people to get up. It gets more and more ridiculous - do they honestly believe all claimants can't get out of bed in the morning, that they have duvet days seven days a week? Are all claimants idle as well as dole dossers now with no motivation or inclination for anything other than on giro day when they presumably leap out of bed, run down to the post office in great excitement and anticipation of the huge windfall about to befall them and how they can fritter it away?
Demonising the Unemployed.
The new Business Secretary wants the unemployed to get on their bikes.
Looking a little harder for scarce jobs in ones own area of Britain has a ring of moral goodness about it.
Who can object to an individual making more of an effort? Well one objection is that when one tries harder and still fails to find employment; this can have negative effects on all future trying. Another objection is that all the focus on trying is on the applicant. What about the future employer? Is there not more effort required here?
Another aspect of this moralising language is the unstated implication of laziness. This slur prepares the way for future penalties, which are more likely to be accepted by the public once the slur has been made!
Hadn't seen it, thanks hindle-a.
Lou and Hindle - It is livid inducing stuff, I don't know how my television survives! It's interesting that Cameron's crew has this perception that people on benefit can't sleep because one of the most significant problems clients report to me in ESA appeals is how little sleep they get! They often tell me how they don't hit the pillow until the early hours and then wake up only a few hours later; it's a common feature in depression as they have too much on their mind to get a proper night's sleep.
@Nick, you know exactly what I meant. What do you think should be done about welfare dependency? I was brought up in a pretty crappy town near glasgow, and from the early eighties onwards I've known a lot of people who are happy to take money from the government if it means that they can be idle and feckless. In your world, is everyone you know who's dependent on the state straining at the bit to find work? Bullshit.
Luddite is on the ball above. There are plenty of people who know how to play the system. I still know a few, and I'm still friends with a couple of them: they're quite open about the fact that they won't come off the dole under any circumstances. So I repeat: what's your solution?
Lou-I stopped watching Sky (it is the worst)-it was quite fun towards the end of Labour reign and the spats between Boulton and Campbell,Bradshaw, etc-calm down Adam-it is just the BBC is a bit careless re facts I think-I was unemployed for a while in the eighties in Liverpool (at the time of Hatton) I actually did more (Open University,ran marathons,volunteer work etc) than I did whilst in paid employment-I am now classified as workless-although I receive an entitlement for which I have to Care for at least 35 hours a week -although I used to be in paid employment and receive it-was I a "scrounger" then-peoples' lives are complicated which is reflected in the welfare system-my fear is that simplification will result in a lack of consideration of circumstance of individuals/families
Absolutely hindle-a, this is one size fits all policy and deals in generalisations rather than the individual claimant.
Thee's a big debate on welfare in the H of C tuesday, I mentioned it earlier I think on the comment boards. I was thinking, you'd best practice silent rants from now til then or perhaps buy your wife some earplugs! I think she might need them.
Regards and thanks for that link, I'd never come across that site before.
Hindle: an interesting link, thank you.
Lou: Is the debate being televised then? as I'll be at work and would like to set it to record but can't see it on the schedule.
I think something this clueless lot have not considered is how everyone compelled to attend workfare will need to be issued with a statutory decision notice against which they will have a right of appeal. The general rule is that when appealing you can't be sanctioned if you are appealing against the sanction itself. So we are currently bogged down with ESA/DLA appeals, IB's will be next and workfare will follow, more melt down, more money, people will soon realize that if enough appeal, the waiting lists will go up so they will be able to stay unsanctioned until their appeal is heard. ESA waiting lists are growing and around 6 to 9 months at the moment, well beyond the 13 week window set by the DWP. More chaos!
Nick, it will be on the Parliament channel if you have it but I don't know what time yet, I'll check it out on the website for parliament and get back to you. I would imagine some of it will appear on the news channels but I plan on watching the full debate.
Just checked the time, 2.30 onwards and it's under an Opposition day debate, it's scheduled under the heading 'impact of proposed changes to housing benefit' but I would imagine the wider issues will also come into play.
Crikey, I had even given your last point a thought. You may as well just move in to work Nick, you'll never get a moment!
Bonk, I'm sure your former Labour Party comrades are weeping bitter tears.
One thing I love about the Bible is that it takes a hard stand on people who try to just "get by" and feed off others labour's without doing a any work themselves. Here's my favorite verse on this topic because after all it's the lords day.
For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: "If a man will not work, he shall not eat." 2 Thessalonians 3:10
Yep, don't work, don't eat. I think that says it all, didn't Marx say something very similar.
Notice that it doesn't say that those who CAN NOT work should not eat. No, we should have compassion on and help out those people. But if someone can work, yet WILL NOT work, then he's left to the consequences of his actions (or inaction's in this case).
Here are a couple other verses on this same line of thinking:
Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth. Proverbs 10:4
Anyhow who draw up these statistics the lazy bastard's society.
I heard IDS (sounds like an irritated bottom) say, regarding the fine that will be issued to people on jobseekers, after a year of failing to get the 1 vacancy for every 5 applicants, that he doesn't expect anyone to be in that position after a year.
I know he's a politician, but that is just a jaw-dropping lie.
Those that can work should work and let's be clear who we are talking about here, people who have not worked in the last 10 years. I know a few.. and i also know people that do work, but really shouldn't be working, because they are 'genuinely' ill and suffering from a long term illness. So lets start helping the genuine more and help the disillusioned back into the world of LABOUR... and lets not forget you are the Labour party.
Luddite -your naivety is outstanding-people who are now deemed not able to work are having their incomes and support which they currently have significantly reduced -disabled people are with few exceptions are systematically being deemed fit-the workless households they propagandise about include-Carers,people that work a few hours,the sick and disabled,early retirees-they have no compassion -their actions are indefensible unless you are naive or insane
Lox-these people will be idle and feckless-the State hasn't made them so -they will duck and dive and find a way-these people exist in all classes whether in work or not and as to "welfare dependency" it is a social construct to mean particular groups of people-all people receive benefits-the biggest scroungers are the Government look at what they claim from the taxpayer and scrounge from the State-are they dependent -like worklessness (do you think the idle rich is meant to be signified when the term is uttered)-the Government daily uses such terms and does not need to define it because it is the effect and symbolism which they intend to convey that matters-any reasonable person with reasonable intelligence can see for example-"workless families" includes people that work a few hours,Carers,the sick and disabled,students ,early retirees -the people who play the system will still play thye system they will survive meanwhile the genuine will suffer AND ARE SUFFERING that is the intention to disuade people from claiming,deem the sick and disabled as fit and severely reduce the income of the people who they claim to protect as being "vulnerable"
James Landale has just said to Danny Alexander on the Politics Show -isn't this compulsory community work treating people like criminals, a return to the work and press gangs - which is what we've already discussed on here.
This is just a rehash of the old 80s policy of community programmes only this time, you won't get a pittance of a wage packet for doing it or any training for a decent job. Then they were all about providing work experience yet we all knew at the time it was about massaging the claimant figures because there weren't any real jobs for the claimants then, just like there aren't any jobs now for the unemployed. We now have five people chasing every single job being the official average, in some areas it's as high as fifteen to twenty chasing one vacancy. That's before redundancies and cuts put more people into the employment market chasing non existent jobs.
On a different note, a friend of mine found herself a 16 hours a week job a couple of weeks ago, she currently claims JSA having a twelve year old daughter and was only working ten hours a week. She went to the Job centre to inform them of this possible job and tell them that she would be undergoing some (unpaid) training for the job a few hours a week. She was told if she 'so much has stood behind the desk to train for this job, she would be done for fraud and lose her benefits with immediate effect'. She was told that she could not make decisions about training for a job, it was the Job Centre who sorted that out. She challenged the staff and was accused of being awkward and threatened with a formal interview and removal of benefit.
So she had been told she had to find more hours, she did so, she got herself a job, arranged the training up schedule and kept the Job Centre informed of this but then got told it was more than her life was worth if she dared to even begin any training without the Job Centre's say so.
These aren't isolated incidents as I'm sure Nick is well aware. I think if anyone should be undergoing some training for work and preparation for the workplace, might I suggest IDS starts with the Job Centre and DWP staff and make them more efficient and worthy of their salary.
I would like to hear more about the damage work causes. It seems to me many jobs seem to be pointless, and are just about attacking other people, making more stress for all concerned. As to health, that seems to be suffer enormously, as a result of work. And to those who are working - they often make little contribution to society, working all the hours, and having no time for anyone else. And as to working to consume - that is hardly good news for the planet. It would be much better for people to work less, care for each other, and live modestly.
The proposal to put the unemployed to work without pay would drive a coach and horses through the minimum wages legislation.
A more suitable quotation for Luddite is: "The labourer is worthy of his hire."
Lox: You asked me to clarify how I would deal with Welfare Dependency, I will attempt to provide you with a cogent response.
Firstly, I would suggest we sort out (A) The genuine (B) Those who the State have allowed to become dependant, and (C) Those who blatantly abuse.
We should abandon the costly contract the DWP has with ATOS and go back to relying on the word of the claimant's GP for the first 6 months of incapacity. Doctor's have been trained in the new 'Fit Note' suitability, but given its recent introduction, we have not yet allowed them an opportunity to give valid medical opinion with the exception of the initial 13 week ESA assessment phase. IMHO the doctor is the best person to comment on their patient, but there ought to be a proviso that they have examined them.
After 6 months, a consultant's report should be obtained. This should be from the NHS and would ensure (a) the claimant is being seen with a view to treatment (b) specialist opinion has been obtained
which is separate from the doctor who may not always be wholly impartial. Doctors and consultants are far more trained and expert than the cynical HP's Atos use. Money could be paid to the NHS rather than the unweildy ATOS machine; this would enable claimants to be seen and diagnosed within the timescale.
A proper report should be provided by the Consultant saying whether in his or her opinion the claimant is (A or B or C). The claimant would see the report and be given a right of appeal if he or she disagrees with its findings.
Those who are (A) should be reviewed by their consultants in a further 3 to 6 months; thus ensuring their continued treatment and ultimately a hopeful prospect to good health.
Anyone terminally ill or suffering from grave illness should naturally be exempt.
Those (B) should be given the options of having to take up meaningful placements or training including basic skills like maths, English, IT, confidence building and even assertiveness training, they should be able to take up voluntary placements or work placements with an allowance, including expenses. They should be 'job matched' to pair up their skills. Claimants should be allowed to try different areas of work to see where they fit in and where they feel most able to contribute.
Employers should be given money to adapt the work place and ensure a safe environment, they should be independently audited to ensure they are not exploiting those they work with. Allowances and tax breaks should be given to employers who take people on after 12 months continuous employment, further payments could be paid after 2 years. Work should be paid at a proper wage and the claimants progress should be reviewed by the doctor to ensure the work is conjusive to good health.
Those that are (c) should be sanctioned and would have a right to appeal by an independant panel which would include a legally qualified person, an employer, a doctor and an ex claimant/employee. This would ensure an informed opinion and decision is made.
If found capable, the claimant can be told they are suitable for workfare. The claimant should be reviewed and when it is determined they are 'compliant' they can then receive the support I've already outlined for those at (B)
Welfare reform must involve investment in systems which reduces official error by data matching between departments so that a claimant's WTC/CTC is automatically linked to the Local Council and DWP to adjust their other benefits. The money saved pays for the investment and better training.
The message is all wrong that this Government is giving out, welfare dependancy has been allowed to become a culture amongst some, by no means all.
I have conducted approximately 4,800 cases Lox and would estimate of those I have seen 50% are (A) 40% are (B) and the remaining 10% (C). That's a guess but it is based on many years of experience.
The ESA/ICB/DLA decisions made achieve success rates of an average of 55% ESA 95% ICB and 80% DLA (in my section) which tells me there is something inherently wrong about the adjudication process.
I also think that advice agencies and support workers who work closely with these claimant's should be given an opportunity to comment on the problems which the claimant faces (this often involves many other factors such as their housing, levels of debt, family relations, disabled children and trauma associated with being victims of crime and abuse - often not reported to the authorities)
Well you did ask!
'It indicates a worrying view of the poor' - why would you expect anything different from a bunch of people disconnected to the reality of poverty.
IDS had a reasonably privileged upbringing, married a daughter of a Baron and is a millionaire joining 22 millionaires in the current Cabinet.
IDS has no experience of poverty or poor income. He sits on the right of the party and has, as the Guardian described it, an evangelical approach to poverty.
He believes the break down of the institution of marriage is responsible for most of what he sees as social failures, - poverty,worklessness and inequality. Whilst he recognises the great inadequacies in the welfare system, he fails to grasp that political decisions have more bearing on inequality, worklessness, poverty and social failures than the breakdown of marriages.
Appearing to genuinely care about poverty and welfare does not equate with having a grasp on how to make it better. He has no understanding of causation and correlation at all.
He'll talk the talk but never walk the walk. His Centre for Social Justice made some very fair appraisals and laid out some reasonable and fair ways to improve the welfare system but we've already seen a deviance from the policies outlined in that which IDS stood by so solidly.
Why would we expect any different,social justice and the Conservatives are a contradiction in terms and now IDS abandons his social justice baby for Conservative ideology and let's face it, if he wasn't going to follow the party line on Welfare, he wouldn't be the Minister responsible for it.
Samira Shackle is a freelance journalist, who tweets @samirashackle. She was formerly a staff writer for the New Statesman.