Thursday, 13 August 2009
An update on the Channel 4 series starting next Thursday: Channel 4's website shows that the 2 of the 3 episodes in the series focus on A4e. We gave the details for Episode 1. There are already 12 comments about this episode and, not surprisingly, several are from people totally unsympathetic to unemployed lone parents. Episode 2 concentrates on New Deal in Hull (it was recorded well before all the bad publicity hit the Hull office). The billing says: "Unemployment is rife in Hull, but for one company business is booming: A4E has won the lucrative contract to help get the long-term unemployed back to work. Mark Pilkington is an ex-soldier who hasn't worked for 10 years. He welcomes help and within a fortnight he finds a job. But the joy of receiving his first pay cheque is short-lived; after just four weeks a business downturn results in Mark being laid off. Facing a return to A4E and potentially a four-week wait to restart his benefit payments, Mark begins to wonder if there is more security in a life on benefits. It appears to be a shockingly common perception amongst the clients at A4E, who are at the mercy of an increasingly casual labour market." That strikes me as rather worrying for the good people of Hull, if their city is to be painted in this disparaging way. Episode 3 looks at Pathways, with the Shaw Trust as the provider.