Who do you think you are, poor man’s James Bond?
Tag Archives: unemployment
Mark Hoban, Minister for Employment, Conservative MP for Fareham, announces in the Daily Telegraph that from Monday 21st October “there will be clear and escalating levels of penalties” for being poor:
For failing to do something required by a Jobcentre Plus adviser, the claimant will lose their benefits for four weeks. Every time it happens subsequently, they will lose their benefits for three months.
For the most serious rule-breaking, such as refusing to accept a reasonable job offer, or walking out of a job without good reason, they will lose their benefits for three months. If they do it a second time, they will lose their benefits for six months.
A third failure, at this level, is simply not acceptable and we will impose a three year penalty.
17th October is the UN’s Day to Eradicate Poverty.
From Steven Sumpter’s second post on the dreadful plans to card “troubled” families, I learned that the government have decided that a troubled family is one that meets five out of seven criteria:
- Low income
- No one in the family who is working
- Unable to afford basics, including food and clothes.
- Poor housing
- The mother has a mental health problem
- Parents who have no qualifications
- One parent has a long-standing illness or disability
As LatentExistence and many others have pointed out, what this amounts to is that a troubled family is one that’s living in poverty.
And the ESRC have come right out and stated that the government have basically made up their own minds about what it all means. They said ”In the term ‘troubled families’ it deliberately conflates families experiencing multiple disadvantage and families that cause trouble.” The definition that the government are using does not mention child truancy, criminal records, ASBOs, police call outs, drug abuse, or any of the other things that they claim to be addressing.
Imagine this. A middle-aged man who, forty years ago, was removed from his family at the age of 7, sent to one “approved school” after another, the last with a reputation for violence, at which he was a troublemaker and learned to take illegal drugs. After he left school he joined a gang of thugs who regularly got drunk and violent. He straightened up, more or less – got married, had children, one severely disabled for whom he claimed benefits: he ran a chain of nightclubs that specialised in getting people very drunk at a cut rate. He became leader of a powerful organisation with strong links to crime, accepting large financial gifts from people who made their money in very shady ways. Despite this, he lives in state-owned housing and claims more than thirty thousand a year. A few months ago, he and his wife were out drinking and abandoned their young daughter in the pub when they went home, and still more recently, one of his close associates was convicted and jailed* for swearing at police officers. This is a problem family.
In the past quarter, between March and May, the number of UK people out of work has fallen by 65,000 to 2.58m. The ONS says “the overall unemployment rate is now 8.1%, dropped 0.1% than the previous quarter” and though there are still over a million people aged 16 to 24 unemployed, youth unemployment also fell by 10,000.
The number of people in employment rose by 181,000 to 29.35m, the highest for almost four years.
Chris Grayling, Employment Minister MP, said: “This is an encouraging set of figures in what is still an incredibly difficult economic climate.”
I got a letter the other day. To clarify this: I don’t own a company and I’m not an employer. But for a few years I was a sole trader using a business name/website, and I still sporadically get advertising calls/letters for that business name. Mailing lists never die.
The Youth Contract – Supporting local businesses in Edinburgh
The letter was from Ingeus, who are doing their bit for the UK economy by taking fees from the government for “helping people out of unemployment”. Ingeus in the UK is now 50% owned by Deloitte, one of the “big four” accountancy firms who helpfully lend staff and donate consultancy work to government departments.
But it was founded by Therese Rein, one of the richest people in Australia, married to Kevin Rudd, Australia’s former Prime Minister. Continue reading
Fraser Nelson doesn’t know much about the UK benefits system or basic economics.
Fifteen hours ago Nelson tweeted:
Why sneer at Jubilee stewards who wanted experience needed to be security guards? My column in tomorrow’s Telegraph
Alas for his argument, the “sneering” at the 220+ “apprentices” and Work Programme clients drafted to be stewards at the Jubilee seems to have come not from John Prescott, nor indeed for anyone else concerned about these people, but from the woman who sent them there, Molly Prince:
“The staff travelling to the jubilee are completing their training and being assessed on the job for NVQ Level 2 in spectator safety after having completed all the knowledge requirements in the classroom and some previous work experience. It is essential that they are assessed in a live work environment in order to complete their chosen qualifications.
“The nature of festival and event work is such that we often travel sleeping on coaches through the night with an early morning pre-event start – it is the nature of the business … It’s hard work and not for the faint-hearted.”
Chris Grayling makes large claims for his workfare schemes:
There is a work experience scheme, it’s voluntary. If you are a young person looking for work, the Job Centre Plus advisor will talk to you about which area you might be interested in going and working in. Let’s suppose you want to go and work in the care sector, they’ll find you a work experience placement in the care sector, you’ll go and meet the employer, if you’re both happy with that and the employer is willing to take you, then you’ll start the placement. You’ve got a week to change your mind… (Transcript: Grayling on work experience – Today this morning)
This idea of what workfare is like doesn’t seem to be borne out by anyone with actual experience of it. LatentExistence outlines the lies in depth (and it was noticeable that Ed Vaizey on last night’s Question Time appeared to have the government line down pat but to know so little beyond that, that even the Tunbridge Wells audience was amused).