First health, now welfare – Damian Green gets on the privatisation bandwagon

Damian Green: He should be a claimant at a Job Centre - not running them [Image: Getty].

Damian Green: He should be a claimant at a Job Centre – not running them [Image: Getty].

Work and Pensions Secretary – and Tory ‘useful idiot’ – Damian Green has said he wants more private firms involved in the social security system – despite the clear dangers demonstrated by recent attempts.

It is only a few weeks since private US firm Concentrix had to be stripped of a contract investigating tax credit fraud for HM Revenue and Customs, after it wrongly stripped thousands of people of the money they were due.

May we assume that this firm was on a payment-by-results contract that would encourage it into fraud?

He was giving his speech at a conference hosted by the right-wing Reform think tank, which wants to reduce public spending and tax to the levels of Ireland and Australia (around 35 per cent of GDP). What’s wrong with increasing GDP so the current – or a greater – amount of spending becomes a smaller proportion of it?

Reform would cut tax in order to allow UK citizens to spend more money on their own and their families’ future social security needs, claiming this would obtain more efficient, high-quality services. Don’t all laugh at once!

And Reform is very keen on cutting what it calls “pensioner gimmicks” like the winter fuel payment that prevents senior citizens from having to choose between heating and eating. These people are not very nice!

Mr Green said:

“To achieve a successful welfare system in the 21st century you need to give more decision-making power to individuals, and give more trust to the voluntary sector and private organisations to deliver services.”

There is no evidence to support these wild claims. In fact, the example of Concentrix shows private organisations are entirely unworthy of our trust in such matters.

Furthermore, individuals on low pay, faced with a choice between eating now, or having a pension/benefit payment at some time in the future, must always choose to service the immediate need. Survival is the first order of business. Mr Green’s assertion is based on a false assumption that people have spare cash.

He continued:

“The government is a necessary, but not sufficient provider of welfare. It can, and does, act as the guarantor of fairness within the welfare system to set the rules. It can also provide the backbone of the assistance system through more than 700 Jobcentre Plus offices.

We have seen that a Conservative Government is no such thing. Is the Work Capability Assessment, that governs ESA and PIP eligibility, fair? No. It has caused thousands of deaths – both recorded and unadmitted. Is the Jobseekers’ Allowance system fair? No. It demands that claimants waste their time meeting silly requirements when they could be doing something meaningful.

“What it must not try to do is assume that it can provide all the help necessary.”

What does he mean by this? The Department for Work and Pensions does not currently provide any meaningful “help”. It persecutes.

He added: “The first principle is that a welfare state is not enough – we need a welfare system, involving many players – health professionals, employers large and small, a whole range of voluntary organisations.

No. This is a guaranteed route to a corrupt system in which the citizens of the UK are simply there to be exploited by the private sector.

“The second is that for most people the purpose of the welfare system is to help them get into work, stay in work, and progress in work. We should offer work for those who can, and help for those who could.

We have already seen that help is not supplied by the Conservative DWP. As for work – zero-hour contracts, part-time jobs and insecure placements that all force people to claim in-work benefits? No, thank you.

“The third is that we should offer care for the minority who can’t work. Whether through sickness, disability or personal circumstances, there will always be some who simply need help to get through their daily lives.”

And we have seen that there is no care for people who cannot work. Once again, Damian Green has lied about society’s most vulnerable.

No wonder Labour’s Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, Debbie Abrahams, described his words as “beyond ridiculous”.

Source: Tory minister says private firms should play a bigger role in the welfare system – Mirror Online

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11 thoughts on “First health, now welfare – Damian Green gets on the privatisation bandwagon

  1. Fibro confused

    I was reading a piece on Medium yesterday about the Trump effect and why people voted for him (apart from the lack of decent opposition) Obamacare as it’s called, a system that takes money directly like our NI from your wages, first year it was $350 in the third year it shot up to $650 this is going to happen here not just in the NHS but people will need income insurance too. A lot of Americans just can’t afford it.Some estimate for the NHS privately we would need to pay approx £49 a week to fund the NHS at current levels about 2.5k a year, so what price would income insurance come in at? the Tories have already tried to get companies to run insurance schemes for welfare but none so far are going for it as it’s just not profitable and a nightmare to run. When will the general public wake up and realise that the majority of people in this country just couldn’t afford it, or most of us would already have BUPA policies and some sort of illness protection. This it will never happen to me thinking is going to hit some really hard, yes people you’ve paid your taxes so you are entitled, no not anymore the safety net already has some enormous holes in it.

  2. casalealex

    “The second is that for most people the purpose of the welfare system is to help them get into work, stay in work, and progress in work. We should offer work for those who can, and help for those who could” ….and kill off those who can’t?

  3. casalealex

    “Jobs of the future may not have stable hours, holiday pay, sick pay, or pensions, DWP secretary says. Damian Green, goes on to describe development in the labour market as ‘exciting’ ”

    The Independent Wednesday 16 November 2016

  4. Lisa

    Yes, Concentrix were on performance related pay (paid 25 million to date). I know because I was one of the people targeted by them and I have followed the case closely. Their claim to have saved the tax payers 300 million is absolute b*****ks! I was lucky in as much as I was one of the last group to be hit so there was already an online support group I could turn to for advice. In that group I met people who had wrongly had their claims stopped and had been told that the evidence they’d provided was not enough to prove their case. College attendance records were not enough to prove a child was still in full time education. Bank statements, tenancy agreements and household bills were not enough to prove the person was living alone. And that was if the evidence was even looked at. More often than not it was lost before it even got to an advisor. These same people, who didn’t have enough money to put food on the table let alone spend hours on the phone or a fortune on sending documents by tracked mail, and who were losing their jobs due to not being able to pay their childminders or being threatened with eviction for unpaid rent, were being told their best option was to accept the result and apply for a new claim. They’d have to pay back the money Concentrix claimed they owed but at least they’d have some money coming in. That is where Concentrix made their money.
    Thankfully for me, the married couple (yes… couple) I was told I was in a relationship with were my landlords and had their own business so I could print out tax information from Companies House showing their actual address. And Concentrix proof that I was in a relationship with them? Some mail that was still coming to my address even though they moved out a year before I moved in.
    This is what private companies do. This is how they get paid. We’ve seen the results from Concentrix, and from ATOS. Enough has to be enough.

  5. Harley

    Considering what happened with private contractors who were paid (and in some cases paid themselves) millions to do a lousy job not helping people looking for employment with the soon to be defunct Work Programme (Emma Harrison and her tinpot a4e outfit being a particularly bad example), plus the phony Work Capability Assessment administered by phony “medical professionals” employed by extremely expensive, unethical and suspicious companies like ATOS and MAXIMUS, involvement of the private sector in social security (begun under Labour) would be reduced, even eliminated, rather than expanded.

    What is Green thinking about I wonder?

    It wasn’t long ago that the Tories were considering privatising Jobcentres which, if it happened, would remove the last shreds of compassion and decency remaining amongst those supposedly serving the unemployed; there are still many kind and well meaning civil servants working in Jobcentres who do want and try to help their charges and are not happy with Lord Freud’s cruel and ridiculous diktats. If this small band of men and women were replaced by privately employed automatons the Jobcentres, or whatever they were renamed, would be full of Daniel Blakes and Danielle Blakes, much more so even than now and it is already bad enough now as we know.

    It isn’t clear what Green is talking about but administration and back office would be two obvious areas the Tories would favour involving private companies in I would imagine. It wouldn’t shock me if the data processing and call centres associated with Universal Credit were handed over to private concerns.

    But not everybody has done badly as far as private companies brought into social security goes.

    I’ll end this post with a link to a happy story about somebody that was helped, magnificently, by private involvement in welfare.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Involvement of the private sector in social security was begun by the Conservative Peter Lilley in the 1990s. That doesn’t absolve New Labour of its involvement, but you should remember that the current Labour Party is not the same and you should make efforts to clarify that when you refer to what Labour did in the past. Otherwise you are misrepresenting the party’s current policies.

    2. Dez

      Seems a4e is a total crock of poo but being protected by a Government that lives in total denial and will never want to be shown up as completely mindless morons incapable of running or capable of managing diddly squat. This is a cash cow that no one seems to know or want to turn off and spend taxpayers money far more wisely. As for Harrisons reward for this useless lacklustre performance that is totally obscene with all the other austerity measures that are being forced on the population. Wake up you morons and shut it down now before it spreads its expensive cancer all over the UK.

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