I'm not a Conservative voter. (In fact, I'm politically homeless at the moment.) I don't routinely read stuff on the Conservative Home site - too depressing. But one blog piece on there popped up in the alerts which is worth reading for the insight it gives into the Tory mindset when it comes to welfare. It's badly written and nobody has bothered to proofread it. But when you get past that, you see an attitude which is blind to reality. It takes as its starting point the ERSA figures published in a pre-emptive strike this week, and the writer, someone called Harry Phibbs, swallows them whole. The WP "has certainly made progress", he says. Well, we'll see. He insists that the programme is "good value for the taxpayer". "There is an incentive to innovate, to cater to the needs of the individual," he says, oblivious of the fact that this simply hasn't happened. But "even more important is reality [sic] that for those able to work sitting at home on benefits is ceasing to be an option". He misses the irony here; that the WP was supposed to solve this problem. No, "Those who don’t find jobs via the Work Programme will go through a Community Work Programme where they work 30 hours a week for 26 weeks to contribute to their community. For claimants refusing to participate, benefits will be withdrawn for three months for the first offence, six months for the second, and three years for the third." He is conflating a number of things here, but relishes the punishment to be dished out to these idle people. His proudest boast, however, and the one displaying the greatest ignorance, is that 150,000 people, and rising, disappeared from the unemployed figures rather than go on the WP. If this piece is a sign of Tory ideology triumphing over reality, the comments underneath it show that there are plenty of people know the truth.
But that doesn't include Fraser Nelson. He's the editor of the Spectator magazine and one of the BBC's favourite journalists. On Thursday he had an article in the Telegraph in which he tried, ridiculously, to show that the Tories are fighting for the "working classes" while Labour would abandon them. While Nelson is a better writer than Mr Phibbs, his conclusions on welfare are very similar. The WP seems to be working now. There's a curious statement that IDS has decided to "hire more private companies to help the long-term unemployed". That is news to me. Then the usual laxity with figures starts. "There are more in employment than ever before." Of course there are, the population is bigger than ever before. And of the 1.2 million referred to the WP, 321,000 have found work. That's the headline ERSA figure, as we know, which is likely to be thoroughly misleading. Nelson has examples of WP success stories - examples provided by A4e. An ex-railwayman from Glasgow who got nowhere with the Jobcentre but, "with proper help on job-hunting", is now fixing computers. And another man who, after 16 years out of work, is now a street-cleaner. Good for both of them. Any success is to be applauded. But what does that prove? Nelson says that these two stories "are the work of A4e, which was vilified when it said it had caught some of its employees fiddling the figures to hit targets". Well, there was rather more to it than that, Mr Nelson.
This, of course, is why the government allowed, or encouraged, the ERSA to put out the headline figures a week before the true statistics. The myths can take hold, and the media can get bored before the details are published. And it's these myths which permeate the consciousness of the government and its supporters.
If the WP is working then why the cut in beneifts? Surely more people are coming off benefits (if the WP is working as they say) so there shouldn't be a need to cut benefits to lower spending on benefits, it should be lowing of it's own accord!ReplyDelete
I am a conservative voter. But I do not support their attacks on the poor. You don't kick someone when they are down. Tory attitudes have to change, it may mean restructuring the work programme to be provider-less web based only job searches to save money which will support benefits, while not creating a society of blame or envy and treating the individual as a person and not as a scapegoat.ReplyDelete
Unfortunately the DWP contracts with the providers are for 5 years. Early termination by the DWP would inevitably mean huge compensation being paid (at public expense). The amounts would dwarf those paid out on the termination of FND.Delete
This would be PR disaster for the DWP so do not expect it to happen.
At best expect some sort of fudge with fewer stock being consigned to the WP and some sort of parallel program being run in house by the JCP. Thus the "flagship" WP can be left to quietly rust away.
@Gissa,Funny how they were paid off for the last contracts,maybe they are twisting this so once again they can cash in for failure,in my experience somebody will end up cashing in.Delete
A few Months ago(Nov 2012) the DWP threatened to cancel contracts for those that did not meet minimum standards,Yeah right!
I read this article(?) by Phibbs,it seems more like a poorly thought out Manifesto,setting the ground work for countering the DWP figures soon to be released.ReplyDelete
What strikes me as odd is that in most pro WP articles they are already pushing the ERSA figures as gospel and the DWP as unreliable,because the programme has not run long enough to bear fruit,was this not the same argument that was put forth in November? In my opinion they could of included May's results if length of time was a factor seeing as ERSA had no problem getting up to date data.
Am I a conspiracy theorist? starting to think so.
"Those who don’t find jobs via the Work Programme will go through a Community Work Programme where they work 30 hours a week for 26 weeks to contribute to their community."ReplyDelete
So we're resorting to forced mass-slavery now? Wonderful...
it says a lot about the Tory mindset when their treatment of those unfortunate enough to be poor (who have been let down by the WP at great expense) is identical to the punishment that is dished our through the justice system to criminals - i.e. punitive community work, aka CSOs.Delete
How very swivel-eyed!
It's worse even than community service. Assuming 30 hours per week for 26 weeks, that means 780 hours of unpaid work for an unemployed individual. Compare that to the maximum number of hours a criminal can be given as community service, which I believe is a maximum of 300 hours.Delete
Now we can see how the Conservative and Unionist Party views the unemployed.
How does that compare with Workfare? Does it even hold a candle to it? Looks like it'll be much of the same nonsense, squeeze a paid employee out of a job for the sake of putting an unemployed, unpaid person in with them. If not that, then where on earth are they supposed to go?! There's little or no jobs available for a large majority of the unemployed. I don't know where the government's collective head is at, but it sure isn't in the game.Delete
Watching A4E suggest you look at this, it's what every Work Programme leaver will face when they go back to the Jobcentre.ReplyDelete
The forms number is MF 47, or GLED MF 47.
This looks to me like the interview form for suspected fraud or overpayment, not for routine claims.Delete
After a recent visit to the JCP,I asked what can I expect after the WP,apparently nothing other than signing on more often,I personally have no problem with this,other than the fact that there are no working computers,you are allowed into the building 5 minutes prior to your appointment and have a maximum of 10 minutes with your adviser,so what is the point? Sanctions? or are they hoping you will just get frustrated and give up.ReplyDelete
I asked about travel expenses and was told that no decision had been made as the amount of Returnees was unexpected(?) The Adviser(JCP) seemed quite overwhelmed as she had no answers and was obviously stressed,another well thought out plan.
PS,I did notice an increase in the presence of G4S security and that the 6 phones have now been reduced to 2 they are only available by ringing a 0845 number and booking an appointment.
It is clear that some Tories are DESPERATE to introduce a Workfare scheme to punish the unemployed but I do sense that the recent legal setbacks have put paid to such a scheme. However, don't be suprised if a Workfare scheme is part of the Tories next election manifesto.ReplyDelete
As has been pointed out above the very fact that some Tories are looking at a post-Work Programme scheme suggests it has failed. I can tell you honestly from my own experience of the scheme that it is weak.