Workfare is the system whereby unemployed and disabled people are forced to work for charities, community organisations and companies under threat of having their benefits stopped entirely for up to three years for unemployed people and losing 70% of their benefits indefinitely for disabled people.
Tag Archives: Social Security
* Pressure has meant the Labour Party has promised they will abolish the tax.
* Birmingham City Council has admitted 3000 people in long term tenancies had benefits taken away in error and they will be given a rebate.
*Court cases have ruled in favour of disabled couples having separate rooms if they wish, and in favour of separated parents needing a room for visiting children, and that a room must be in use as a bedroom to count as a bedroom. These cases could see hundreds of thousands given rebates due to unlawfully having their benefit cut
Protest for benefit justice
Saturday 5th April
1:00pm, Waterstones, High St, City Centre
Iain Duncan-Smith, architect of this policy failure – which is now seeing social housing head for demolition as no-one can afford to pay the bedroom tax – was too cowardly to even attend the debate, running off Paris instead. The vote was lost by 252 to 226 votes, meaning the bedroom tax will continue.
Now we are going to direct our fire at Lib Dems who voted for the tax – notably John Hemming.
Protest at John Hemming Surgery Liberal Democrat Office 1772 Coventry Road Birmingham B26 1PB
Sat 16th nov 10.45-12.00
That this House notes with concern reports that Sparkhill Jobcentre in Birmingham hands out unusually high levels of sanctions; further notes reports that people have inappropriately been given jobseeker’s directions, which are supposed to be only for people with a history of non-compliance; further notes that the practice of making people attend 8.15am appointments and then sanctioning them for a few minutes’ lateness was stopped after it generated negative publicity; calls on the Government to fully investigate reports of unfair practices at this jobcentre; draws to the Government’s attention cases from around the country of people being sanctioned, even though they informed their jobcentre that they needed to rearrange an appointment to attend a job interview, training appointment or family funeral; urges the Government to consider how people who want to work are supposed to travel to job interviews, maintain a smart appearance or even feed themselves if the income they rely on to survive is removed for such reasons; and calls on the Government to use all effective means possible to dramatically reduce the inappropriate use of an increasingly oppressive sanctions regime that seeks to penalise rather than encourage an effective route back into work.
Esther McVey, the minister for employment reckons that sanctions were only used against those who were “wilfully rejecting support for no good reason”, but we know that this isn’t true and have compiled a list of truly ridiculous sanctions which has also been turned into a tumblr page, to keep track and raise awareness of the sometimes bizarre circumstances under which sanctions are applied.
JCP advisors have targets to meet and face performance reviews if they aren’t sanctioning enough people. A local job centre even offered an easter egg as a prize to the advisor who referred the most people for sanctions, and management are doing as much as they can do get claimants sanctioned, even breaking regulations to do this.
Somehow it is thought that sanctions help people to find work. Quite how someone left with no money is meant to clean, maintain or buy clothes for interviews, or pay for travel for interviews or pay for internet access to look for jobs (Wolverhampton libraries are set to introduce a charge for internet usage) or any of the other multitude of things that cost money and are needed to be done to have any chance of finding a job seems to be an unanswered question.
Once again we face the problem that the idiots in charge of employment policy seem to think that the problem is that people aren’t doing enough to look for work, when really the problem is that there isn’t enough work around to look for. Without enough jobs for everyone all you are doing with sanctions is making people destitute or pushing them into crime, stealing food because they’ve no money to buy it. Gas or Electric for heating can’t really be stolen and if you’re on a card meter you can’t even go into debt to keep warm in the coming cold months. Some will find themselves homeless as housing benefit is wrongly stopped (if you get sanctioned and your HB is stopped, you need to file a Nil Income claim). In a report to Birmignham City Council last year, Sifa Fireside said that they are increasingly seeing HB stopped when sanctions are applied.
This is a truly horrendous situation unfolding in front of us with hundreds of thousands of families affected. We must fight back against sanctions and the neo-liberal view of unemployment, and work towards getting back a comprehensive social security system that ensures support for everyone and an attitude that jobs must be created to reduce unemployment. If you want to help with this, get in touch with the Birmingham Claimants’ Union, or join Unite Community Union or SolFed.
Yesterday, anti-bedroom tax campaigners lobbied Birmingham City Council to enact a no eviction policy, so that those who are caught by this unfair charge do not risk losing their homes. Veronica Kenning, a Shard End resident who has terminal cancer and is refusing to leave her home is facing eviction as a result of bedroom tax debts. Well-wishers of Veronica will be gathering at her home tomorrow from 4pm-6pm to show support. At the council meeting yesterday, the council passed a motion calling for the policy to be scrapped, another sign of growing resistance from the local Labour party.