Category Archives: Workfare

Thieving Tories have breached the laws of human rights – and arithmetic – over workfare legal ruling

Once again, the Conservative Party has been found to have trampled over UK citizens’ human rights – and, once again, they are refusing to make proper reparations for the offence.

I remember the Cait Reilly ‘Poundland’ case very well – I covered it in detail at the time. See this article for an example of the coverage.

The facts are clear: The Conservatives stole £130 million from people who could ill-afford the loss – no doubt in the hope that their victims would go away and die.

Now they are determined to keep almost 99 per cent of that money, despite the court’s ruling.

It is time their crimes were exposed for what they are – and the perpetrators imprisoned for committing them.

The Tory government is planning to refund almost £2 million in benefit sanctions to 4,000 jobseekers after breaching their human rights.

It comes five years after a legal fight over the Tories’ hated ‘workfare’ schemes – which forced jobseekers to work for free or have their benefits docked.

The saga began in 2013, when graduate Cait Reilly won a Court of Appeal victory over her unpaid work placement in Poundland.

Judges found the government had not described its back-to-work schemes in enough detail when establishing them in 2011.

So an emergency law was passed in 2013 to make the schemes legal – and stop Tory ministers having to refund £130 million to those who’d had their benefits sanctioned.

It later emerged, however, that the 2013 legal change had led to thousands of appeals by jobseekers being unsuccessful.

A court found this group of jobseekers had lost their right to a fair hearing under Article 6 of the European Convention of Human Rights.

Officials also said the DWP will only repay a “very specific, small group” – people who:

  • Had been sanctioned on jobseekers’ allowance, AND
  • Had a live appeal on the tribunal system on 26 Match 2013, AND
  • The appeal related to compliance with the 2011 laws that outlined ‘workfare’ schemes, or the referral notification letters they received.

Campaigners today… said the payments do not go far enough.

Source: DWP set to refund 4,000 jobseekers almost £2million in benefit sanctions after breaching their human rights – Mirror Online

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Tories blew £100k of public money hiding ‘Mandatory Work Activity’ firms – because they were profiting from it?

The scheme was pioneered by Tory welfare slasher Iain Duncan Smith [Image: Getty].

The scheme was pioneered by Tory welfare slasher Iain Duncan Smith [Image: Getty].

This Blog, and others, has spent years warning that the Conservative Government will spend huge amounts of public money hiding what it is doing.

So the revelation that Iain Duncan Smith spent £100,000 hiding the names of companies that have exploited the cheap, unpaid workers available through ‘Mandatory Work Activity’ comes as no surprise.

It is easy to see why. Between June 2011 and July 2012, the total profit made by Mandatory Work Activity provider companies, charities and councils was nearly £1 billion.

There was no cost associated with that profit, either – at least, not to the organisations involved.

You and I and everyone else who pays any tax at all put more than £16 million into making profits for those companies – as we were paying the benefits of the claimants who were being forced to work, and for far less than the then-minimum wage.

And that’s just for a 14-month period, ending more than four years ago.

Mandatory Work Activity has made many billions of pounds for the organisations taking part, and I suspect the Conservative Party has fared very well out of it, also.

How many of the organisations taking party in the scheme are donors to the Conservative Party – and how much did they give?

You see? It was all part of a nasty plan to spend public money and make a private profit for the Tories – to help them gain an unfair advantage at election times when they will be able to outspend everyone else, no doubt.

That is the purpose of Mandatory Work Activity: Making money for the Conservative Party. And that is why we look down on every dirty organisation that has been taking part.

The Tory government blew £100,000 of public money trying to hide a huge list of firms that used jobseekers for unpaid work.

Tesco and Asda were among household names on a list of 500 companies, charities and councils named as taking part in ‘Mandatory Work Activity’.

The list dates to 2011 but was only released in July – after the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) launched an astonishing four-year legal battle to hide it.

Officials claimed releasing the information would hurt “commercial interests” – but eventually lost in the Court of Appeal.

The whole saga cost more than £100,000.

That is because taxpayers had to fund both sides of the court action in a farce branded “worthy of a movie plot”.

The DWP spent £92,250 on lawyers and court fees trying to keep the list secret.

It did so by challenging the government-funded Information Commissioner watchdog (ICO), which had to spend £7,931 defending its case.

Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Debbie Abrahams said: “Damian Green said the film I, Daniel Blake was ‘a work of fiction bearing no relation to the modern benefits system’.

“And yet here we have a scenario worthy of a movie plot in which a government tries to hide the truth of its own failings from the public.

“They think nothing of demonising those who need the support of our social security system, a system that is there for any one of us in a time of need, forcing them into unpaid work or using spurious reasons to sanction them to manipulate the unemployment figures.

“At the same time they fritter taxpayers’ money on lawyers to cover up their failings and defend pernicious policies like the bedroom tax.”

Source: Tories blew £100k of public money hiding list of firms that used jobseekers for unpaid work – Mirror Online

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Even now, the DWP is pushing sickness benefit claimants toward early graves

[Image: Black Triangle Campaign]

[Image: Black Triangle Campaign]

Doesn’t this say everything you need to know about our homicidal Tory government?

At the same time as a major film is released, criticising the Department for Work and Pensions over its treatment of the sick and disabled, the DWP alters its guidance to make it easier to threaten their lives.

It concerns ESA regulations 29 and 35. Many people have relied on these regulations to save them from potentially life-threatening demands by the DWP. Now, it seems, the rules have been watered down.

Meanwhile, Iain Duncan Smith is telling anybody who will listen that I, Daniel Blake is nothing but a work of fiction and the DWP actually wants what is best for people with long-term illnesses.

Someone should ask him why he thinks an early grave is the best thing for these people.

A leading psychiatrist who helped the government draft guidance that protected mental health service-users who were threatened with forced work has refused to criticise major changes to the guidelines that have risked the lives of thousands of benefit claimants.

Disability News Service (DNS) reported last month that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) had secretly made major changes that watered-down guidance given to “fitness for work” benefits assessors, and then “lied” about what it had done.

Ministers appear to have decided that it was worth risking the loss of some lives in order to cut benefits spending and force more disabled people into their discredited back-to-work programmes.

The guidance explains how assessors should translate employment and support allowance (ESA) regulations 29 and 35, which concern whether decisions to find someone fit for work or able to carry out work-related activity would cause a substantial risk of harm to an ESA claimant.

A DWP response to a freedom of information request, obtained by DNS this week, shows that new guidance was sent out to healthcare assessors working for the discredited US outsourcing giant Maximus in early December last year.

The month after the new guidance was sent out, the proportion of claimants placed in the support group of ESA – and therefore not forced to take part in work-related activity – began to fall sharply.

For claims completed in December 2015, 56 per cent were placed in the support group; the following month that fell to 48 per cent, and then to 33 per cent in February, and 33 per cent again in March.

The previous version of the guidance, published as DWP’s Work Capability Assessment Handbook in February 2015, included six indicators of “substantial risk”, which were marked “D” for “definitive” – including someone who was currently sectioned, who had active thoughts of suicide, or had had a documented episode of self-harm requiring medical attention in the last 12 months – to show that that person should be placed in the ESA support group.

But the latest edition of the guidance says only that such indicators “might” give rise to a substantial risk in “exceptional circumstances”.

Source: Professors’ silence after DWP waters down their guidance on preventing WCA suicides

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Are the Tories increasing benefit conditionality to include working people on sick leave?

Anger: People taking part in a welfare-to-work protest in London in 2012 [Image: PA].

We know from the Autumn Statement that Mandatory Work Activity and Community Work Placements are being scrapped.

This has been welcomed by organisations like Boycott Workfare, who have campaigned against the enforced “work 30 hours per week for your benefits” schemes ever since they were introduced in 2011.

But it is only being replaced by something which is potentially much worse: the so-called Work and Health Programme.

According to the Daily Mirror, this new scheme aims to help long-term sick people find a job, “but a DWP spokesman could not confirm whether it will involve forced labour because the details have not yet been drawn up”.

To This Writer, it seems like an amalgamation of the ‘workfare’ schemes with the current ‘Health and Work Service’. You see? All they’ve done is reverse the words.

Health and Work is intended to prevent people from taking sick leave from their jobs that lasts any longer than four weeks (if This Writer recalls correctly).

Current operator Maximus (which also operated the Work Programme in a clear conflict of interest) was tasked with running a “work-focused occupational health assessment” which “will identify the issues preventing an employee from returning to work and draw up a plan for them, their employer and GP, recommending how the employee can be helped back to work more quickly”.

So it seems the scheme will be rolled out to lump in people who have jobs – but are ill – with people who don’t have jobs and make them all jump through the same hoops in order to keep their benefits or sick pay.

Health won’t get a look-in and it seems likely that the scheme will make sick workers even less able to return to their jobs than if they are left alone to get on with it. In other words, they’ll be treated like ESA claimants.

This seems extremely contradictory.

On one hand, the Conservative Government is saying it is trying to get as many people off benefits and into work as possible, but on the other hand, the same Tories are saying once you get into work, you’d better not get sick, because you’ll be treated like a person on benefits!

It’s another incremental erosion of the rights of UK citizens, reminiscent of the words of Adolf Hitler: “The best way to take control over a people and control them utterly is to take a little of their freedom at a time, to erode rights by a thousand tiny and almost imperceptible reductions. In this way, the people will not see those rights and freedoms being removed until past the point at which these changes cannot be reversed.”

But then, so much of the Conservative Government’s behaviour is directly relatable to the Nazis – especially where the Department for Work and Pensions is concerned (“Arbeit macht frei”, Mr Duncan Smith?) so perhaps we should not be surprised.

All this is mere speculation, of course.

It will be interesting to see how much of it corresponds with the reality – when the DWP finally unveils it.

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Join jobs ‘boot camp’ or lose benefits, warns minister Matthew Hancock

You can bet most of them will end up on “unpaid work placements” – that’s Workfare to you and me – working for benefits while the company makes a fortune.

Jobless young adults will face losing benefits unless they take part in a “boot camp” to get them ready for the world of work, the chairman of a Government taskforce has said.

Cabinet Office minister Matthew Hancock said the measure was part of the Government’s goal of ending a “welfare culture” in some communities.

The chairman of the cross-Government “Earn or Learn” implementation taskforce said he would take a “no excuses” approach.

Under the plans, targeted at people aged 18-21, w ithin the first three weeks of claiming out-of-work benefit people will take up an Intensive Activity Programme (IAP) to help them move off benefits and into sustainable employment.

The programme – labelled a “boot camp” by officials – will take 71 hours over the first three weeks and will see claimants given help with job applications and interview techniques as well as an “extensive” search for vacancies.

A dedicated “work coach” will work with jobseekers and review what was achieved during the initial three-week course, the Cabinet Office said.

The taskforce, which includes Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith and Education Secretary Nicky Morgan, will implement measures including the requirement for y oung claimants to take a job, apprenticeship, traineeship or unpaid work experience or face losing benefits.

Source: Join jobs ‘boot camp’ or lose benefits, warns minister Matthew Hancock

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Apprentice death could have been prevented – but government couldn’t be bothered

The late Cameron Minshull: This 16-year-old was killed when he was dragged into a lathe due to poor health and safety measures.

The late Cameron Minshull: This 16-year-old was killed when he was dragged into a lathe due to poor health and safety measures [Image: Daily Mirror].

Work placement providers’ duty of care for people on apprenticeships and other government-sponsored work placements is being questioned after a factory boss was jailed over the death of a 16-year-old youngster.

Cameron Minshull was dragged into a lathe because he was wearing ‘unsuitable’ ill-fitting overalls which hung from his wrists and had not been trained to use the machine, Manchester Crown Court was told.

At the time, he was being paid just £3 an hour, after being rushed into a placement by recruitment agency Lime People Training Solutions – which puts people into apprenticeships in order to get public money from the Conservative Government’s Skills Funding Agency, according to the Daily Mirror.

The factory owner was jailed for eight months and his son received a suspended four-month prison sentence after admitting health and safety offences.

But Lime People Training Solutions was let off with a £75,000 fine – equivalent to its for putting around 17 youngsters in work placements – after denying any such breaches.

This happened because the government isn’t interested in health and safety. It considers calls for proper monitoring to be over-bureaucratic and burdensome.

On the Health and Safety Executive’s website, in the page dealing with work experience, HSE chair Judith Hackett states: “Work placement arrangements are too often seen as over-bureaucratic and burdensome, putting off potential employers.”

She continues: “Employers should already be managing the risks in their workplaces and are best placed to assess whether or not they need to do anything additional for a new young person joining them.”

And she states: “Schools and colleges… should not be second-guessing employers’ risk assessments or requiring additional paperwork.”

This next part is absolutely appalling: “An appreciation of risk and how to deal with it can be one of the biggest benefits offered by a placement.”

Is this appreciation to be gained through the death of an apprentice?

Work placement organiser companies are told: “If you are advised that a particular placement is not possible due to health and safety, the person giving you that advice may well be wrong – there are very few work activities a student cannot do due to health and safety law.

“Remember that the placement provider (employer) has primary responsibility for the health and safety of the student and should be managing any significant risks.” The only step the organiser is advised to take is to talk through the work required of the apprentice/person on the work placement, and discuss relevant precautions. There is no requirement to ensure those precautions are in place.

So that’s all right then. There’s no need to worry about health and safety concerns; they are somebody else’s problem.

Employers are told: “Under health and safety law, work experience students are your employees. You treat them no differently to other young people you employ.

“Simply use your existing arrangements for assessments and management of risks to young people.”

There you have it.

There is no legal requirement for extra measures to ensure the health and safety of young people placed with employers – and nobody checks an employer’s practices to ensure they conform with legal requirements.

The death of Cameron Minshull could have been prevented – but the government couldn’t be bothered.

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Parliament is open; The Agony has begun

It probably looked reasonable to her: The Queen's Speech was in fact written in a way that hid the facts about what the Tory government is planning.

It probably looked reasonable to her: The Queen’s Speech was in fact written in a way that hid the facts about what the Tory government is planning.

Another year, another State Opening of Parliament, another Queen’s Speech full of Tory lies.

Perhaps one should qualify that by saying the legislative plan outlined in the speech isn’t a lie, but the language used to describe it was most certainly stuffed full of them.

“My Government will legislate in the interests of everyone in our country,” pronounced Brenda. “It will adopt a one nation approach, helping working people get on, supporting aspiration, giving new opportunities to the most disadvantaged and bringing different parts of our country together.

That’s a pretty tall order for the Tories – especially since the part about “helping working people get on” was stolen from the Liberal Democrats’ old message script and the part about “aspiration” has been nicked from Labour, as one can tell by checking recent comments from that party’s leadership candidates.

What did they actually give us, though? The Guardian‘s editorial, yesterday morning, described the possibilities as a “menu of pain”:

“Express protection for the elderly doubles the proportional cut for everyone else, to about 10 per cent,” it stated. “The main action will have to come in some mix of four welfare fields: children, housing, disability and tax credits.

“Mr Duncan Smith has signalled sympathy for capping support to just two children, to encourage parents to think twice about having kids they can’t afford. That’s too bad for children who didn’t ask to be born into big families, and won’t help with the immediate arithmetic unless it is retrospectively imposed on existing big families, which are hardly going to shrink. Besides, if Mr Cameron’s reassurances are worth anything, child benefit is safe, which only leaves means-tested payments, where cuts are guaranteed to increase child poverty.

“Cutting in-work tax credits would sink the supposed pro-work welfare reforms, which leaves support for housing and disabled people looking like the principal targets. Even if the Queen’s speech rustles up something on the minimum wage, Mr Cameron can hardly talk of ‘one nation’ until he can reassure the poor and the frail that there is a place for them in his land.”

In practice, the Tory ‘Full Employment and Welfare Benefits Bill’ proposes freezing working-age state benefits, meaning that they will not rise with inflation for at least the period of the current Parliament and people on benefits will be less able to afford the necessities of life.

The Benefit Cap will be dropped to £23,000 per family, creating a greater risk that David Cameron and the Gentleman Ranker, Iain Duncan Smith, will push children into homelessness and poverty.

Young people aged 18-21, who are on benefits, will lose their ability to move away from their childhood home because housing benefit is to be withdrawn from them. This will create resentment within families and family-style groupings, and could present the opportunity for abusers (of many kinds) to continue their crimes, with the authorities going unnotified.

Benefit claimants aged 18-21 will have to work for it, which is in itself a contradiction in terms and a betrayal of the National Minimum Wage. The Bill states that there will be “stronger work-related conditionality from Day One, and anyone who remains unemployed for longer than six months will be required to go on an apprenticeship, training or community work placement.

This means young adults working for their benefits will be removing jobs from the market; if a company can get a jobseeker to do a job for free, it won’t pay an employee to do it. Therefore the jobs market will contract, pay will be cut – in real terms – to the levels of benefits and more profit will go to the bosses, who will probably stash it in a tax haven rather than letting any of it go back to the State in tax.

The government intends to limit the amount of income collected by HM Treasury by ensuring that there are no rises in income tax rates, VAT rates or National Insurance contributions (NICs) rates for individuals, employees and employers. This means the only way the government will be able to pay down its debts will be by expanding the economy – a feat which the Conservative chancellor, Gideon Osborne, has failed to achieve after more than five years in the job.

This is a transparent move to increase public debt, making it easier to cut public services even further.

The government intends to restrict the supply of social housing even further, forcing council to sell off larger houses that have become vacant (due to the Bedroom Tax?) and force housing associations to sell their properties at discount to tenants. The claim is that new houses should be built at a rate of one for each house sold – but with discounts of up to 70 per cent per sale, this is clearly a false claim and the housing stock will drop. A commenter to this site has stated that a more realistic building rate is one new house for every eight sold – which would make the current housing bottleneck much, much worse.

In short, this is a legislative programme that is very much in line with the plan laid out by Margaret Thatcher and her cronies in the mid-1970s: Less security in work, lower pay and benefits, less social housing.

People thrown into poverty and onto the street when they deserve better.

Higher profits for the undeserving rich.

Who voted for this?

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It’s time for Labour to talk tough about the benefit-deniers

Rachel Reeves: The coalition has distorted the benefit debate so much that 64 per cent of Labour voters think benefits should be cut - and she doesn't have the backbone to correct them.

Rachel Reeves: The coalition has distorted the benefit debate so much that 64 per cent of Labour voters think benefits should be cut – and she doesn’t have the backbone to correct them.

Here’s a question that gets asked very often in any debate on state benefits: “Isn’t it right that the taxpayer should only support people who really need it?”

The implication is that the government of the day is right to restrict benefit provision.

The answer, of course, is to point at some of the cases we have known, in which benefits have been taken away from people; cases like that of David Clapson, an ex-soldier who was sanctioned off of Jobseekers’ Allowance and died of diabetic ketoacidosis three weeks into the sanction period. When his body was found by a friend, his electricity card was out of credit, meaning the fridge where he kept the insulin he used to treat his diabetes was not working. A coroner found that when David died there was no food in his stomach. Was the government right to restrict his benefits? Or was this state-sponsored murder?

How about severely bipolar Sheila Holt, who recently died after spending months in a coma caused by a heart attack she suffered after being pushed onto the government’s slave-labour Work Programme? Even while she was comatose, the work programme provider – Seetec – was sending her letters about her suitability for employment. There is no doubt that the stress of being forced onto the Work Programme led to her death – in fact the government has apologised for its actions. It therefore seems redundant to ask the question, “Was the government right to restrict her benefits?” as we already know the answer.

How about Karen Sherlock, who was suffering from kidney failure when her Employment and Support Allowance was cut off by Iain Duncan Smith’s minions. She died, apparently of a heart attack, after an operation was cancelled. Was the government right to restrict her benefits?

How about Stephanie Bottrill, who took her own life by walking in front of a lorry on the M6, just one month after the Bedroom Tax had been introduced by Iain Duncan Smith. Her rent at the time was £320 per month, some of which was subsidised by Housing Benefit – but the imposition of an extra £80 charge, to come from her own money, was too much for her finances to take. She left a note to relatives in which she made clear that she had taken her own life – and that she blamed the government. Was the government right to restrict her benefits?

According to the last figures available to us (from 2011 – and related to ESA alone), four more people die as a result of the government’s benefit regime every three hours – more than 200 every week. These figures are, however, more than three years old; they do not encompass the rise in suicides that takes place in the run-up to Christmas every year and they pre-date the effects of Iain Duncan Smith’s homicidal Welfare Reform Act 2012.

Meanwhile, as Polly Toynbee has pointed out in her latest Guardian article, Labour’s shadow work and pensions secretary puts her foot in her mouth every time she talks about benefits. “She has the hardest shadow post, reconciling the party’s mission to stand with the underdog while facing a public fed by a stream of statistics-free anecdotes about welfare cheats,” writes Ms Toynbee.

That’s as may be, but she should be challenging those preconceptions, not conforming to them. “When last in power Labour failed to shift the enemy’s terms of engagement, hiding its own good actions behind tough talk,” writes Ms Toynbee.

“This mirrors too much Labour policy, foggy messages hiding agonised ambivalence – and voters smell out that inauthentic verbal triangulation.”

How true those words are. This writer was recently attacked by the shadow Welsh secretary, Owen Smith, for pointing out that he had confirmed, in his own words, that Labour would not speak out against the work capability assessment (that is responsible for three of the four deaths mentioned above) for fear of the right-wing press. This effectively means that his party is asking the sick and disabled to die for Labour’s election hopes.

Mr Smith threatened me with legal action after this blog put his words into plain English. He has since gone quiet, which is just as well. Not only has there been a national debate on the subject (of which Ms Toynbee’s article is just the latest part) but at least one reader has been able to confirm that my words were accurate, after a doorstep conversation with his own Labour candidate. Other readers are encouraged to do the same.

“On benefits, most voters are conflicted,” Ms Toynbee continues. “No one, least of all those working hard for very little, wants people cheating.” That is true. But then, 99.3 per cent of benefit claimants aren’t cheating at all. This government just treats them as if they are.

“Labour can’t win this internalised tussle by replicating it, but could earn credit by encouraging the nation’s better instincts,” writes Ms Toynbee.

The shame is that all the words coming from Labour suggest it will do the former, rather than the latter.

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A campaigner falls. Friends asked to remember Lotte Ryan

Those of you with an interest in such matters will know that another campaigner against DWP injustice has passed on.

How many of you are thinking to yourselves, "She doesn't LOOK ill"?

How many of you are thinking to yourselves, “She doesn’t LOOK ill”?

Charlotte Ryan – Lotte to her friends – was just 37 years of age when she died last week (February 23). She had an incurable version of cancer, brain stem glioma.

At the time of her death, the Department for Work and Pensions was trying to force her to take part in the Work Programme, despite the fact that she was in the Support Group for Employment and Support Allowance.

In a letter dated December 9, 2014, the local DWP Work Programme Provider – Prospects – notified her that she was expected to participate. The letter stated: “As part of your participation in the Work Programme, you have agreed to take part in work experience on a voluntary basis to help you gain work skills and experience.”

Writing just three days later, she stated: “I have terminal cancer, my prognosis is 0-3 years and I was diagnosed in March 2014 with my brain stem glioma. In April 2014 I was placed in the support group* for 3 years and I have gone from being able-bodied to hopelessly disabled. I have many neurological deficits including diploplia, dyspraxia, dysarthria and dysphagia. To save you googling, this means that I have double vision and am going blind, I’m very clumsy and most days I drop everything I pick up, my speech is failing and one day I won’t be able to communicate verbally at all and I have such difficulty swallowing that I now have a feeding tube.

“I cannot leave the house alone and I’m at risk of choking and need 24 hour care. They speak of me going into residential care, but they hope to keep me in my own home for as long as possible. The trouble is degenerative, nothing will get better, only worse, the cancer can’t be cured.

HOW SICK DOES A PERSON HAVE TO BE BEFORE THE HARASSMENT STOPS?”

Further information, including a copy of the letter, is available on the kittysjones blog.

This writer did not know Charlotte Ryan and this blog cannot, therefore, eulogise her.

But this blog can point out that her passage from this world would have been much easier without constant harassment by an inhumane government to take part in activities that were far beyond her abilities – or lose the benefits that were her lifeline.

Too many people believe that it is acceptable for the DWP – and the Coalition government – to treat the terminally ill in this way.

Perhaps they should read Lotte’s story.

If they won’t understand until they have to experience this treatment themselves, then it will be too late.

* The support group is supposed to be for people who the Department of Work and Pensions consider to have such severe health problems that there is no likelihood of their being able to undertake work or work-related activities.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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What’s the point of a ‘Cameron’ job that can’t make work pay?

[Image: Eoin Clarke.]

[Image: Eoin Clarke.]

There are several reasons we should be sceptical about David Cameron’s pledge to make the UK a nation of ‘full employment’.

Firstly, his campaign poster has lied about his record so far. Why should anyone believe his claims about what he’ll do in the future?

Secondly, everybody knows that the Tories’ rubbish neoliberal ideology demands a large number of people have to be unemployed, in order to keep wages down – and Cameron very much wants the UK to remain a low-wage economy.

Thirdly, look at the jobs he has managed to create: zero hours contracts, part-time work, under-employment rife. If that’s his idea of what we need in order to create full employment, then he should be looking forward to his own P45 in May.

[Image: Eoin Clarke 9again).]

[Image: Eoin Clarke 9again).]

Or, as David Schneider put it on Twitter: “Cameron’s promise of full employment to guarantee everyone in the country a job that doesn’t pay enough for them to live off.”

The social media were quick to dismiss this latest nonsense from the PR genius behind “compassionate Conservatism”, “hug a hoodie” and “Green Tories” – remember those flops?

MagsNews on Twitter reported: “Cameron says everything’s wonderful in the jobs market! [Nine out of 10] new jobs are [full-time] jobs. ITV news asks why, if so, tax receipts are so low?!!”

And the Labour Press Team pointed out: “Tory record on jobs: more than 1.3 million people work part-time because they can’t get a full-time job. Tory record on jobs: 3.5 million people in work say they want extra hours. Tory record on jobs: 1.4 million zero-hours contracts in the economy.”

He doesn’t seem to realise what a diabolical mess he has made of the British jobs market – but don’t worry! Here’s a way to clarify matters for him:

Are you stuck in part-time work when you want to be earning full-time wages?

Have you been forced to accept a zero-hours contract, so you don’t know when you’ll be working but can’t claim benefits when you’re not?

Are you on a temporary contract, rather than in permanent work?

Are you earning less than the minimum wage – on a government work programme, for example – or are you earning less than a living wage in a full-time, part-time or zero-hours job?

If so, it’s time to stop calling it a job.

Call it a ‘Cameron’ instead.

“Hello, Bob – how’s it going?”

“Not bad. How about you? Did you get a job yet?”

“Meh. There’s nothing worthwhile to be had. All I got was a ‘Cameron’.”

Even then, he might not get the message.

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