Tag Archives: job

Sunak announces furlough scheme replacement. Is it any good?

After he served up this little howler – and pushed up Covid-19 infections massively, Rishi Sunak needs to make a good impression with his plan to replace the furlough scheme for jobs affected by Covid-19. Has he managed it?

Tory Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced a new “job support scheme” to replace the “furlough” programme he has been running since lockdown began in March.

This new scheme will run for another six months until the end of April 2021.

What is it?

A six-month scheme starting on November 1.

To be eligible, employees must work a minimum of 33 per cent of their normal hours.

For the remaining hours not worked, the government and employer pay one-third of the wages each.

So employees working 33 per cent of their hours will receive at least 77 per cent of their pay.

Where will employers get the extra money?

According to BBC News:

Sunak announced a “pay as you grow” scheme for businesses which took government guaranteed loans during the crisis.

“Loans can now be extended from six to ten years nearly halving the average monthly repayment,” he said.

They can also move to interest only payments or suspend payments if they are “in real trouble” for up to six months.

He said no credit rating will be affected.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans will also be extended for up to 10 years.

There will also be a new loan scheme in January, the chancellor says.

He is also extending the scheme for self-employment on “similar terms” to the existing job support scheme.

The scheme is mainly for small and medium-sized firms. Only large firms that can prove they have been harmed by Covid will be eligible for the Job Support Scheme.

What about VAT?

Sunak is also cancelling the planned increase of VAT from five per cent to 20 per cent, which was due to come into effect in January.

Instead, the lower rate of five per cent will remain until 31 March next year.

Viable jobs?

Sunak said the new scheme is intended to support “viable” jobs only – and that should ring alarm bells:

Of course – Tories being Tories – certain extremely rich people are enjoying the continuation of their own subsidies at the same level:

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Now the Covid crisis is being used to lever working disabled people out of their jobs

It seems people with disabilities have no safety net when threatened with losing their job because of measures they’re told to take, just to protect themselves from Covid-19.

Was there an underlying prejudice against people with disabilities all along, or did the Tories put it on the national agenda?

Until 2010, This Writer thought the UK was moving in the right direction, discarding discrimination against ethnic minorities and people with physical impediments.

But racism and disablism have skyrocketed since the Tories came back into office and I don’t know whether they have instigated it or merely allowed bigots across the UK to express what they felt all along.

Covid-19 seems to have brought this ugliness into its own.

The latest outrage is the revelation that a quarter of working people with disabilities are likely to lose their job – because of safety measures they have been told to take, to avoid infection.

This rises to 37 per cent of those who said their disability had a large impact on their day-to-day life.

And half of those shielding because of extreme vulnerability to the coronavirus risk redundancy.

It seems employers see people with disabilities as an easy cut to make – especially in an atmosphere where unfair dismissals are more likely to go unremarked.

And people with disabilities going onto benefits face an uphill struggle getting benefits – even if they’re not claiming sickness/disability benefits.

The five-week wait for Universal Credit is bad enough for able-bodied people, remember.

The Tory government isn’t particularly bothered. Anyone can seek an employment tribunal against unfair dismissal.

But how long is that going to take? And what will they do in the meantime?

Source: Parents, carers and disabled people in UK ‘twice as likely to lose job’ | World news | The Guardian

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The Tory disablist double-bind: risk your life at work – or risk it by being denied benefits


Isn’t this the Conservative government turning the screw on people with disabilities – and on parents – yet again?

People could be forced to take on work that places their health at risk or face losing their benefits as the government’s suspension to job-seeking requirements for benefit claimants is set to come to an end within days.

The government announced in March that the requirement for people receiving universal credit to prove that they are looking for work – which would currently apply to more than 2 million people on the benefit – would be paused for three months due to the coronavirus pandemic.

This suspension is set to end next Tuesday, meaning millions of people will need to prove they are actively seeking work or face being sanctioned and losing their financial support.

Charities are concerned that people who are shielding or suffer from underlying health conditions would face an “uphill struggle” to find suitable work – and may potentially accept jobs that place their health at risk in order to avoid benefit sanctions.

There are also mounting concerns that ongoing disruption to schools and childcare options mean people may need to care for their children during the time they could otherwise spend working or applying for jobs, which could result in them being sanctioned.

It’s a classic double-bind.

Either people with disabilities put their health – possibly their lives – at risk in work that could even lead to their deaths…

Or they forfeit their chance to get state benefits, putting their health – possibly their lives – at risk.

Disablism in action.

Source: People could be forced to take on jobs that place health at risk as suspension on benefit sanctions set to end | The Independent

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More than 600,000 jobs lost – so 45 fat cats can increase their wealth by £25 billion?

Loadsamoney: and Boris Johnson has been spaffing it up the wall on furlough schemes so his big business pals can make a killing from Covid-19, it seems.

Covid-19 has had remarkably divergent effects on people, depending on their status in our society.

At the bottom, more than 600,000 people have lost their jobs:

The number of paid employees in the UK fell by 449,000 between March and April 2020 and early estimates suggest that a further 163,000 people lost their jobs in April.

It is believed that this number would have been much higher if not for the Government’s furlough scheme, and other support measures introduced to help businesses.

But with this scheme due to be wound down from August, it is feared that the UK could yet see a second spike in job losses and a subsequent rise in unemployment.

The data also shows a significant drop in median pay and recent wage growth has been reversed. Early estimates for May suggest that median monthly pay fell by 1.8% to £1,778 and the rate of growth in median pay became negative in April, falling to minus 0.75%.

So more people are unemployed and those who have kept their jobs have endured a drop in pay.

Meanwhile, at the top:

Britain’s billionaires have seen their fortunes soar by £25bn during the coronavirus lockdown – while some are criticised for using millions of pounds of taxpayers’ cash to pay wages of the staff in their companies.

New analysis shows 45 of the richest in the UK have seen their Covid-19 pandemic wealth snowballing by 20%.

Analysis shows the collective wealth of Britain’s richest since five days before the coronavirus lockdown at the end of March has risen from £121.57bn to £146.61bn.

It comes as Britain’s economy shrank by a record 20.4% in April as the first full month of the coronavirus lockdown triggered an economic crash three times greater than the 2008 financial crisis.

It seems the secret of their success is to have multiple business interests – and to take advantage of the government’s furlough scheme to get taxpayers to subsidise their payrolls.

The biggest winner, according to a study of Forbes data tracking billionaire wealth, is James Ratcliffe. He’s founder, chairman and majority owner of chemical giant Ineos, with wide North Sea energy interests.

Mr Ratcliffe’s net worth has risen from £8.75bn to £13.83bn. He has taken advantage of the government scheme to furlough almost 800 members of staff from his luxury hotel groups Home Grown and Lime Wood.

Under the scheme the State covers up to 80 per cent of the salaries of staff if companies keep them on the payroll. The payments are capped at £2,500 a month for each employee.

So he continues coining it from his energy firm, with lower outgoings because public money is funding his hotel staff.

Was this the intention?

It’s a valid question.

We were told the furlough scheme was to protect businesses and jobs, and that they would go to the wall without it.

But we see that the people behind the biggest businesses – who are therefore taking the most advantage of the furlough scheme – are raking in astronomical amounts of money.

Meanwhile the rest of us go without, and the national Treasury is emptied, meaning the poorest of us (again) will be told to pay more for the services the richest of us have received.

It’s wrong.

Nobody should be profiting from a pandemic that has killed nearly 70,000 people.

Perhaps Marcus Rashford should start campaigning for a windfall tax on the UK’s super-rich?

Source: Over 600,000 jobs lost to COVID-19 as Labour calls for an urgent ‘Back To Work’ budget – Welfare Weekly

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Jewish Chronicle to close, with staff redundancies. The quality of UK media has improved

Jewish Chronicle editor Stephen Pollard: I bet he’s not smiling now.

Forgive This Writer if I view this announcement with quiet satisfaction.

The Jewish Chronicle was among the publications that libelled me as an anti-Semite in 2018.

Even after IPSO ruled that it was wrong, editor Stephen Pollard saw fit only to add a line at the end of the story, as it is viewed online, saying that I had protested my innocence.

As a professional reporter, my view is therefore that the JC was not a serious news publication, being used more to promote its bosses’ biases than to present facts.

You have only to examine its campaign of hate against the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn to understand why I would take this view.

I see this development as an improvement in the UK media landscape.

And I don’t think I’m alone…

https://twitter.com/natgibbons69/status/1247862053487992832

The bad news is that the papers’ owner, a charitable organisation called the Kessler Foundation, seems to want to find a way to keep the JC going somehow. Let’s hope that doesn’t come to pass.

Some tweeters have professed sympathy for back-office staff, who they hope will find employment with somebody more reputable soon.

As for the reporters and editor… well, it will be interesting to see if any other media organisations employ them, in the sense of knowing what slimy rock they crawl under.

Source: Jewish Chronicle and Jewish News to close and staff laid off | Media | The Guardian

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Coronavirus: ‘Deluge’ of benefit claimants are about to learn what it’s like to deal with the DWP

This is going to be ugly.

According to The Independent, the Department for Work and Pensions is bracing itself for a ‘deluge’ of benefit claims as businesses lay off workers in the face of the coronavirus crisis.

Yes – people are losing their jobs, it seems, despite assurances from the government that it will pay up to 80 per cent of employees’ wages.

It seems senior DWP officials have been told they will be sent to cover “frontline roles” to shore up services and deal with people who have lost their jobs.

So it seems to me that people who might have been told to think benefit claimants were “spongers” and “scroungers” are about to find out how it feels to be treated as that kind of person, when they’re not.

Mrs Mike reckons the DWP might tone down its treatment of benefit claimants, in the light of the current crisis.

But I don’t think that’s possible.

You see, if anybody claiming as a result of coronavirus gets preferential treatment, then that will constitute discrimination against everybody who has claimed in normal times.

It also seems that most of the new claimants are going to be steered onto Universal Credit, which means the five-week wait for the first payment, the loan if they run out of money, the grinding poverty as they spend months being forced to pay it back.

So we live in interesting times.

Either the DWP goes easy – and faces loss after loss at tribunal over discrimination… or it carries on as normal – and Mr and Mrs General Public find out what’s really been going on in our Job Centres for the last 10 years.

Or have I missed something?

Source: DWP officials sent to ‘front line’ as government prepares for flood in benefit claims – Welfare Weekly

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Mothercare closes after nearly 60 years, with thousands of job losses

Another iconic British shopping brand has ended, 59 years after it was founded.

All Mothercare shops in the UK will be closed by the end of today (January 12). Apparently Mothercare International still trades profitably.

The loss means yet another gap in the market, although some Mothercare products will continue to be sold by Boots.

Is this the start of the new post-Brexit Golden Age that Boris Johnson has been bleating about?

Who will fill the gap?

Some US-based (or also foreign) online firm, I would expect. That is the way retail is going, after all.

And the Tory government, that has consistently failed to support UK brands, has nothing to say. Isn’t that typical?

Isn’t it their way to sell UK assets to foreign countries and organisations, and let foreign firms take all our money – while stirring up jingoism against foreigners?

Collapsed retailer Mothercare will disappear from the high street on Sunday after nearly six decades in business.

The health, beauty and baby product chain will see all 79 of its stores closed by Sunday, with 2,500 jobs lost across the country.

After 59 years in the business, Mothercare went into administration last year after struggling to compete with online shopping.

Source: Mothercare shuts up shop after nearly 60 years in business | The Independent

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Paper highlights government-created barriers to work for people with disabilities

Brick wall: Wheelchair-user Abbi Brown may have felt that using public transport was like running up against a similarly-impenetrable barrier.

This is a pleasant surprise.

I had expected an article in The Express about the way people with disabilities are kept out of jobs to be an attempt to pressgang them into inappropriate positions; it isn’t.

Instead, it highlights the problems faced by people who want to work but are hampered by attitudes to their disabilities.

So we read the story of the woman behind the Maltesers “disability” advertising campaign, whose journeys to work took twice as long as anybody else’s because rail operators have failed to make their journeys accessible for people with disabilities.

We learn about the man who struggled to get job interviews until he stopped mentioning that he is almost totally blind.

He works in information technology using adapted software and magnifiers that mean the quality of his work is not affected.

He was even put off attending an interview by one firm’s illegal attitude to his guide dog! While he did take part, after reminding the company representative of their legal obligation, the experience convinced him that he would not want to work there.

Finally, we were told about the man who tried to use the Tory government’s ‘Access to Work’ scheme – only to struggle with asphyxiating bureaucracy and the short deadlines it demands.

These are real problems for people with disabilities who want to get into work, that the Tory government has done its best to ignore.

For example, nine railway operators have had the deadline for making their trains accessible extended after failing to do anything about it. What happens when they break the new deadline? Will it be extended again?

A fat lot of good that will be for people with disabilities.

And what happens to those who are blocked from work through no fault of their own?

They have to claim state benefits – and readers of This Site should know very well how badly the assessment systems are rigged against them.

We end up with a situation in which some of our brightest and best people may be thrown onto the street to curl up and die, simply because they are slightly different from the rest of us.

This is a timely article from the Express.

It reminds us that, while the UK is becoming demonstrably racist amid the controversy over Brexit, there is a terrifying undercurrent of disablism going generally unreported.

Source: How one million disabled people are shut out of employment in the UK | UK | News | Express.co.uk

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£10m fund to help vulnerable people claim Universal Credit – but doesn’t it exclude those who need it most?

Therese Coffey: Her new scheme seems designed not to help the people who need it the most.

Disabled people, care leaves and people with mental illnesses will soon be able to get help from a £10 million fund to help them with Universal Credit claims.

But there is a condition – it seems they can only take advantage of the funding as a route into work.

So it seems people with more serious conditions will be excluded from the new fund.

As announced by Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey, the Universal Credit Transition Fund will bankroll outreach programmes to help vulnerable people claim the widely-discredited so-called benefit.

It will be available to organisations, including charities that are willing to work with the DWP, that will “support innovative ideas for engaging with vulnerable people early, helping them to make timely claims to the new benefit”.

But only, it seems, if the claimant’s disabilities or mental health condition can accommodate employment.

It’s not for everybody and, unless I’m mistaken, it excludes those who need help the most.

And we’re supposed to applaud?

Source: DWP announce £10million fund to help vulnerable people claim Universal Credit

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Tories withdraw illegal leaflet telling disabled jobseekers to downplay their conditions

Arbet macht frei: There was a big fuss over an image like this recently, so I’ll tell you what: I’ll stop using it when Job Centres stop persecuting the benefit claimants they process.

A “well-intentioned” leaflet urging people with disabilities to mislead employers about their conditions has been withdrawn by the Department for Work and Pensions, after questions were asked in Parliament.

The official DWP leaflet, issued by a Job Centre in Dorset, told jobseekers to avoid using words like “chronic” or “depression” when applying for work. They were told to use “more general terms” and to avoid making things “sound worse than they are”.

It stated: “Avoid words that sound worse than they are, eg: chronic, degenerating, etc.

“You may find it helpful to use official diagnosis terms, eg multiple sclerosis, PTSD.

“Equally, you may wish to avoid terms such as depression, ME, or low back pain etc and use more general terms such as low mood or a mental health condition, a fatigue-related condition, an ongoing pain condition etc.”

Shadow minister for disabled people Marsha de Cordova raised the issue in a point of order in the House of Commons yesterday (Tuesday, October 8).

She said: “In essence, the DWP is encouraging disabled people to downplay their disability or health condition.

“It cannot be right that the Department expects disabled people to downplay their disability or health condition.”

Hours later, the DWP announced that the leaflet had been withdrawn.

A statement read: “This was well-intentioned local advice but has been withdrawn, as we would always encourage jobseekers to speak freely about a health condition or disability.”

The wording of the leaflet had been used before, in a “positive health statement” that was circulated by the Dorset NHS trust issued in 2013 – so it is reasonable to believe that the offending leaflet was produced in Dorset.

It was still against the law, though.

Under the Equality Act 2010, disabled people – including those with mental health problems – are entitled to protection if their disability has a substantial, adverse, and long term effect on normal day-to-day activities. It is therefore unreasonable to ask them to “downplay” their disabilities in any way.

So that leaves a thorny question still unanswered:

As the leaflet did break the law, and was passed to people who live with disabilities, who will be prosecuted for it?

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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