Two articles out yesterday (30th September) prove that the government is planning to introduce draconian measures targeted at the sick and vulnerable which will FORCE them to work or lose benefits.
In addition, the government’s plans will threaten thousands of social care jobs across the country as people claiming benefits will be forced to take over social care roles – without any proper training or checks in place.
As well as forcing people to work, the measures are likely to cost hundreds of social care jobs across the country as the government resort to slave labour to save money on the welfare bill.
The Work and Pensions Secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, has attempted to develop secondary legislation (legislation that would not need a parliamentary vote to become law) to give jobcentre staff more powers to force ESA claimants to prove that they are trying to get back to work.
The legislation would mean that untrained jobcentre staff would (effectively) be making medical decisions about what a person is or is not capable of doing, and could force the person to take employment regardless of the opinion of medical professionals. If the claimant refused to comply with the directives, their benefits would be affected – even stopped completely.
In internal Department of Work and Pensions memos leaked to the Guardian newspaper, Duncan Smith was advised that it would be illegal to introduce the secondary legislation.
In another memo leaked from the same department to the Guardian, staff involved in the work programme, and organisations providing resources to the failing scheme, were due to start a ‘celebration’ of how far they had come in something called ‘conditionality week’. The memo described the event as being “…about celebrating how far we have come since new tougher sanction levels were introduced last year … and about helping us smooth the way for universal credit, working better together and making sure we apply the rules consistently and fairly”.
Mark Serwotka, the general secretary of the PCS union, which represents thousands of DWP staff, told the Guardian “It is distasteful in the extreme and grossly offensive that the DWP would even consider talking about celebrating cutting people’s benefits.”
The Chief Executive of the mental health charity MIND, Paul Famer told the Guardian “As people with mental health problems continue to struggle to access the support they need, the repeated response from the government is to crank up the pressure and potential punishments for those being supported by benefits.
“People with mental health problems face significant barriers to finding and staying in work. The government should be ensuring that people are supported to overcome these barriers rather than threatening people with a loss of income. This pressure often exacerbates people’s mental health problems and pushes them further from work rather than closer to it.”
Mental health service funding has been cut to the bone, with most of the remaining money being spent on overly-managed administration exercises at the behest of the government, instead of funding front-line services where staff are currently forced to ‘fire-fight’ to try and bring some service to those who need it.
Thankfully, it seems that Duncan Smith’s attempted criminal actions have been stopped – for now.
In other news, Chancellor George Osborne has announced plans to force the unemployed to work for nothing, or face having their benefits stopped.
Osborne announced his ‘Help to Work’ project which targets 200,000 long-term unemployed where they will be forced to complete 30 hours a week cooking for the elderly, picking up litter, and helping charities. There will also be a ‘Mandatory Intensive Regime where those with drug or literacy problems will be forced to comply with the regime or lose benefits.
So it seems the government are quite happy for those with drug problems and those who are poor and out of work to go into vulnerable elderly people’s homes as long as they can be deducted from the real jobless figure – whatever the consequences may be.
Instead of using properly trained and vetted staff through REAL employment opportunities, Osborne is going to let anyone go into vulnerable people’s homes without any training or criminal checks to perform personal care tasks.
Unfortunately, many who experience drug problems and/or long-term unemployment may have significant criminal history, which may include violent crime and theft/fraud involving vulnerable people. Now Osborne wants these people to look after the vulnerable – perhaps that is his way of contributing to reducing the elderly population. Obviously, this will be of no benefit to those forced to perform caring tasks by putting temptation in their path, or to the vulnerable who may become victims.
Using the unemployed will set a precedent, and as this becomes part of social care, so millions of social care jobs will come under threat.
In an article in the Mirror, Labour MP Ian Lavery said: “This is an outrage. We have a failed economy and there’s not enough jobs. This is a throwback to the days of the workhouse of the last century. We should be looking at creating more jobs and paying a living wage. This is the sort of thing the Tories enjoy… baiting people on benefits and baiting the unemployed. It’s a sport of theirs.”
In the same Mirror article, Disability campaigner Sue Marsh added: “This is designed to divide and conquer and convince us a problem exists that suits the Tory agenda, when it doesn’t.
“The out-of-work jobseekers’ benefits bill makes up just 3% of the total welfare spend and 94% of jobseekers find work within two years. So Osborne’s announcement will address just 0.15% of the total benefit bill.” Labour frontbencher Ian Murray added: “This Chancellor scrapped the successful Future Jobs Fund.
“People want to work but he’s failed to create the jobs required and now wants to blame the unemployed.”
As the government continue to target the poor and vulnerable in society, Cameron has ruled out higher taxes for the rich – showing very clearly where the government agenda is taking the country and who it will benefit.
These proposals are a buck-passing exercise.
The government is blaming the unemployed and the sick for their own failings in developing the economy and creating REAL employment and training opportunities.
Cuts to the public sector have resulted in hundreds of thousands of people losing their jobs, with little chance of finding other employment. In other moves, organisations are forced to employ staff on a part-time or limited contract basis to save money to compensate for the horrendous increases in costs – which include energy bills and the impact increased fuel costs have on supplies and services.
The government has cut council spending to the bone, meaning that grants and other incentives for the private sector to fill the void in care has all but disappeared.
Government ministers keep presenting a totally unrealistic picture of unemployment and refuse to accept any responsibility whatsoever for the current state of the British economy.
The like of Duncan Smith, George Osborne, and David Cameron have no concept whatsoever of the real world. The three of them are nasty little men with nasty little brains that are only focused on lining their own pockets and those of their cronies.
This is not government – this is exploitation.
The Conservative/Liberal coalition has done NOTHING since being in power to improve the lives of UK citizens – or to maintain a stable economic and social environment.
While Cameron and his little tribe of ‘useful idiots’ carry on trying to justify their abhorrent actions through blatant manipulation and lies, the country is being sucked dry of any resource it has – and again it is for the benefit of the rich and government cronies etc.
The FACT is that there is more than enough money going into the economy to service welfare expenditure. The problem is that the government waste in excess of £100 BILLION every year.
If this government is allowed to carry on as it has been, the UK will become a wasteland of rejected and dejected souls who have nothing to look forward to but a future of slavery and mundaneness.