Today’s demo. Queue for food parcels and endless apathy. Life at Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre.

The poor side of life

As I arrived on this cold Thursday morning I was greeted immediately by a group of people that had been gathering across the road waiting for the food parcels to arrive. They were slightly anxious, and this is why its important for myself not to be on my own.

As the food parcels arrived they took them straight away. I don’t judge anyone because their need was obvious. As they collected their food parcels other people who depend on our food parcels arrived to collect theirs. We work on a first come first serve basis, its the way that it has to be.

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Because it was cold and miserable the mood sort of reflected that. People using the Jobcentre almost running in and out, most likely afraid of being late, afraid of being sanctioned.

The mood of apathy filled the air though. Most people forced to use the Jobcentre are…

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Todays demo. Food parcels gone within 30 mins, cold weather returns and a local Workprogramme organisation behaving badly… again.

The poor side of life

Before the demo started I went for a cuppa at the local cheap cafe to both warm up and to have a chat with any antendees before we start. I was right to do so as a chap that we speak to regularly saw me there and had a chat in the warm.

More or less as soon as I arrived, so did the food parcels and other members of the group. There was already a queue of people waiting for them which is always sad to see. They all went within half an hour, all to people that genuinely need them.

We don’t judge people, nor ask too many questions that aren’t benefit related. And it’s best that way. We gain the trust of most people and that can only be a good thing.

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We were stopped by quite a few people, but it was a bit quieter than…

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DWP staff told to reach Aspiration targets. 

The poor side of life

The DWP like to create new names for targets that they want staff to reach. These names help the government to disassociate themselves from the heinous acts that they choose to inflict on claimants and their families.

I have it on good authority that a DWP Labour Market decision maker now has a new name for a target they have to reach.

A Labour Market decision maker is an employee of the DWP specifically employed to deal with Mandatory Reconsiderations. A Mandatory Reconsideration can be requested once a decision has been made to stop a claimants money for whatever reason given.

It’s supposed to be a fair process, but I’ve had good reason to doubt that this process is anything but fair. I’ve heard of a Mandatory Reconsideration being refused on the same day as the reconsideration was requested.

So yet again the evidence of target lead decisions is mounting…

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Is Work Really Good For Your Health? Probably Not If You’re Sick, Disabled Or Poor Says DWP Research

An excellent addition to the blog – as always.

the void

work-makes-meA DWP funded study published in 2006 reached a clear conclusion: “there is little direct reference or linkage to scientific evidence on the physical or mental health benefits of (early) (return to) work for sick or disabled people.”

This is quickly qualified by the researchers, who are no doubt aware that you don’t get cushy jobs writing reports for the government by telling them things they don’t want to know.  So the study claims that there is a ‘a broad consensus’ that work is good for the health of sick or disabled people “across multiple disciplines and also, importantly, among disability groups, employers, unions, insurers, and the main political parties”.  In other words if enough important people say something is true then it must be true, despite the lack of evidence.  That’s science folks.

The tragedy is that this ‘broad consensus’ has manifested in a horrifying regime for disabled…

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James is now destitute following a sanction: ‘It’s bully boy tactics’, he says.

Ann McGauran

James Dearsley, 60, receives a three-month sanction while on the Work Programme James Dearsley, 60, receives a three-month sanction while on the Work Programme
A vulnerable 60-year-old has been left penniless and dependent on food bank support after his Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) was sanctioned at the end of July while on the Work Programme. South-east Londoner James Dearsley received a letter from the Department for Work and Pensions (below) telling him that he had been sanctioned from July 29 and that his JSA would not be reinstated until October 29. James, who is already in arrears with his council tax, has spent more than three weeks without social security. This withdrawal of money means that he’s already been forced to use Greenwich food bank twice.

He says the local job centre told him he was being sanctioned because on three consecutive occasions he had failed to turn up for his Work Programme appointment with a Seetec job search support club. The letter…

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40% of payments to Work Programme providers have nothing to do with results

alittleecon

The DWP published this ad-hoc release last week. It very briefly details how much money has been paid to Work Programme providers from when it began up to 31st March this year. Providers are the (mainly) private sector organisations contracted by the DWP to help the long-term unemployed find work. In the DWP release it says:

“The Work Programme is predominantly a ‘Payment by Results’ model”

The Government have been keen to trumpet this feature, claiming that providers only get paid if they are successful. In fact though, since the Work Programme began, 39% of the money paid to providers has come from the ‘attachment’ fee. That’s a payment paid when an unemployed person starts the Work Programme with a provider. For the first year of the programme, the attachment fee was £400, the second year it was £300 and for the year just gone, £200. From July, the attachment fee will…

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Kevin sanctioned on Work Programme and now begging for food

Ann McGauran

Kevin Jobbins, who's living on £7 a fortnight for food, following a benefit sanction Kevin Jobbins, who’s living on £7 a fortnight for food, following a benefit sanction

How does it feel to be “living” on a budget for food of £3.50 a week? Kevin Jobbins is doing exactly that, but the more you think about it, the less appropriate the concept of  existence or survival seems in this context. To survive  conjures up images of Everest expeditions  – involving a set of risks voluntarily  endured  by explorers who’ve personally opted to challenge their own physical and emotional limitations.

Kevin, on the other hand, came into the Greenwich Foodbank   because  he’s  not  surviving. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has failed to reinstate his benefits following a sanction in April. Kevin is 39, and is  receiving employment and support allowance (ESA). He’s waiting to go into detox treatment for drug and alcohol issues and is also on the waiting list for surgery…

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