Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Jonty's "tweets are protected"

Jonty Olliff-Cooper, A4e's Director of Policy and Strategy, seems to have learned his lesson about careless postings on Twitter.  You can't read his tweets now unless you're a "confirmed follower".  We can't know whether he got a rocket from his employer for that offensive exchange (see our post of 9 February), but it's disappointing that journalists, even on Private Eye, missed it, or didn't think it important.

I suppose I must comment on the latest employment figures, but it's wearisome.  We all know that the figures are, if not exactly rigged, at least hiding the truth.  12% of the increase in "jobs" is accounted for by people providing free labour on the various "workfare" schemes - the ONS insists that it has to include them.  We have no idea how many of the people reported to have come off JSA are being sanctioned by being kicked off benefits.  And it all seems at odds with the recent story about Costa Coffee advertising 8 jobs at its new shop in Nottingham and getting 1,701 applications.  (One of the saddest things about that story was that a spokeswoman said that some of the applicants were former managers who were "clearly overqualified for the positions".)  Iain Duncan Smith was heard to say today that the figures showed that the Work Programme was beginning to be effective.  No, they don't.


  1. Why on earth are A4E bothering to pay a senior employee who seems to waste his entire life gossiping gormlessly (including, but not limited to, gossiping about A4E’s affairs)on Twitter?

    As for the new employment figures, a journo called James O’Brien gave IDS a mauling about this yesterday:

    The employment figures are fiddled because they include everyone who is on one of these dubious “training schemes,” which includes all the people on workfare, via the Sector Based Academy idea, CAP and MWA, apparently. Seemingly, the ONS insist on including these people because the International Labour Organisation makes no distinction between workers who are paid and workers who are unpaid.

    In his interview with James O’Brien, IDS bleated that youngsters, especially, love being sent to stack shelves in Poundland or wherever. James O’Brien caught him out. IDS claimed that the workfare customers are being paid “a wage” in the shape of their Benefits. James O’Brien pointed to the DWP’s own recent statement that Benefits claimants are not allowed to do any work. So whose version of this story is accurate, pray?

    It seems that CPAG have fired a shot across the DWP’s bows:

    Also, it appears, HR professionals working for the companies like Poundland are being warned about the possibility of compensation claims from Benefits claimants who have not been remunerated in accordance with the provisions of the Minimum Wage legislation.

  2. Ultimately the gov't are deceiving themselves and the future of the UK economy if they think they have solved the problem by rigging the figures. There is a very, very serious problem in this country with unemployment and underemployment and unless this pathetic gov't begin to seriously tackle the problem then our standard of living will decline even more quickly.

  3. You're right, Anonymous. Unless something happens to radically change things, I predict a massive crisis in this country. There is going to be a dramatic increase in the elderly population over the next 20 years or so, who will need the younger generation to be earning adequate incomes to pay the taxes to support them. If unemployment and underemployment continues to increase amongst the younger generation, it just won't be possible to support the older generation.

    1. Don't fall for the idea that it's all the fault of the elderly. A vast amount of unpaid work is being done by the retired - childcare, for instance. And pensioners are suffering from loss of income on savings and other results of austerity.

  4. The Child Poverty Action Group have produced a sample Appeal wording for anyone unlawfully sanctioned under the old regs:
    Go here:http://
    and follow link at top right

  5. Just looking at the Jobseekers Allowances(Schemes for Assisting Persons to Obtain Employment) Regulations 2013.

    There is an interesting twist in the area of Benefit qualification. It suspends the idea of notional income when you are working on the Work Programme. This is where if you work but do not take a wage/fee while on Benefit. Normally if you work but do not take a wage as far as benefit fraud rules go they look at the a notional income which you have deprived yourself off.

    So while on benefits you cant work and not take a wage but while you are on the Work Programme you can work and not take a wage.

    Maybe some benefit lawyers among you can have a look at this to see if I am right in thinking this.

    Part2 - section 9

  6. Maybe some benefit solicitors among you can have a look at this to see if I am right in thinking this.

    Part2 - section 9

    fixed that for you :) (Sorry, can't stand Americanisms!)


    " Voluntary work is often done for charities and not-for-profit organisations.
    It does not count as voluntary work if you could be paid for your work, but have chosen not to be."

    Part2 - section 9

    overrides that advice. This may seem to be a small issue but it does have some interesting bearing on whether of not this regulation flies in the face of the ruling. This needs a bit of thought.

    If you are mandated to work under the Work Programme for Poundland where you should be paid for the hours you work. You are forced into not receiving a wage without your choice in the matter. This legislation enables this to happen. The fact that Poundland is not a charitable organsation compounds this problem.

    Does this not lead to state sponsored slavery?

    This legislation did not get a lot of scrutiny.


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