Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Emma on The Daily Politics

A4e's Emma Harrison popped up today as the guest on The Daily Politics. Weirdly, she was asked her opinion of George Bush's memoirs. But then the programme focussed on the housing benefit changes. There were contributions from the House of commons from Caroline Flint and Simon Hughes, then David Freud, minister for welfare reform, was introduced, sitting on the sofa next to Emma. He said that he expects rents to go down and no significant increase in homelessness. Harrison said that the changes had to come, that benefits had been too generous, meaning people couldn't afford to take jobs. But she worries, she said, that vulnerable people will panic at this. Freud said that there's a lot of misunderstanding about it.
Anita Anand, the interviewer, said that the new Work Programme would mean a lot more business for Harrison's company. There was a short film report from an A4e office in Brixton, showing decent facilities, but mostly low-wage jobs on offer. The office was said to secure 50 jobs a month, but many of these were short-term. Figures were quoted for A4e's income, which I didn't manage to write down. The reporter pointed to other areas of A4e's business, pushing how much the company stands to gain. Andrew Neil then asked Harrison what she provides that the state can't. She said that she would like to get people earlier than at present; she can tell when people are going to become long-term unemployed. Jack Dromey, the Labour MP, took Freud's place. He forecast that unemployment would rise to over 3 million. He said that he doesn't doubt that A4e does some good work, but he doesn't want to see big companies getting more work out of this. Harrison retorted that they use the voluntary organisations. A4e can find jobs for anyone who "fully engages" with them; they can find the "hidden jobs" that never get advertised.
I'm not sure what this programme achieved, beyond again presenting Emma Harrison as the face of welfare-to-work and avoiding the hard questions.


  1. "She said that she would like to get people earlier than at present" - oh, I bet she would like from week one. When the taxpaying public are forced to go cap-in-hand from day one of their unemployment to these taxpayer-funded private for profit companies; then we can take that as a marker for the end of the Welfare State.

  2. Emma Harrison misrepresented her profit chasing company once again on 'The Daily Politics'. At one stage she mentioned, quite quickly, that the help for job seekers comes from "A4e, and other charitable organisations..."

    As I understand it, A4e is not a charity, although it may work closely with the third sector in some areas.

  3. Yes, she did, didn't she... giving the false impression that A4e is privately funded through charitable donations when in actual fact it is publicly funded from hard-working taxpayers money.

  4. I have to say that I didn't get that impression. She was making the point, however irrelevant, that lots of voluntary organisations were involved with FND, which is true. The programme made sure that the audience knew A4e is a private company which stands to gain a lot from the Work Programme.

  5. Quote: A4e can find jobs for anyone who "fully engages" with them.

    One would suppose that anyone who does not get a job as a result of A4e's intervention will be accused of "failing to engage"... Well gee, thanks Ms Harrison. The threats, coercion and intimidation tactics used by (some) staff are not conducive to full engagement.


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