Tag Archives: The Void

Unemployment figures are a sanction-based stitch-up, research shows

Iain Duncan Smith: He's proud of the sanctions regime he introduced, in which Job Centre staff are expected to use possibly-fraudulent means to push people off benefits - and he doesn't care how many people they harm.

Iain Duncan Smith: He’s proud of the sanctions regime he introduced, in which Job Centre staff are expected to use possibly-fraudulent means to push people off benefits – and he doesn’t care how many people they harm.

The Coalition government will be crowing about the latest drop in unemployment today – according to official statistics. What a shame it’s all a load of bunk.

New research by Oxford University and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine has shown that only around one-fifth (20 per cent) of people who have been sanctioned off of Jobseekers’ Allowance have actually found work, leaving 1.6 million in limbo; they’re off the benefits system but researchers can only surmise that they are relying on food banks.

(Isn’t the Coalition government desperate to discredit food banks? Are ministers determined to drive the out-of-work population to starvation?)

This suggests that official Office for National Statistics figures are inaccurate. The latest batch – out today (January 21, 2015) – claim that unemployment dropped by 58,000 in the three months to November last year, when it totalled 1.91 million.

How can we trust these figures when it has been claimed there’s a sanction-based stitch-up going on?

The new figures are from the same ONS that is claiming wages are rising above inflation. Oh really? The figures show average earnings (excluding bonuses) rose by 1.8 per cent, which is more than the CPI rate of inflation – but not more than RPI, which is a more accurate measure of the costs affecting households.

What happens to those figures when executive pay is taken out of them? What’s the average for employees?

The revelation that sanctions have created a huge underclass of people – who have been refused benefits by Iain Duncan Smith’s homicidal system – casts all the ONS statistics into doubt.

If 1.6 million people are being denied benefits, that doesn’t stop them being unemployed.

Therefore the true unemployment figure should be almost twice as high as stated, at a massive 3.51 million.

That’s before other elements, such as the Work Programme, have been taken into account!

And what about the hidden cost of sanctions – to other taxpayer-funded services?

Professor David Stuckler of Oxford University explained this to The Guardian: “If, as we’re finding, people are out of work but without support – disappeared from view – there’s a real danger that other services will absorb the costs, like the NHS, possibly jails and food support systems, to name a few. Sanctions could be costing taxpayers more.”

Debbie Abrahams is a member of the House of Commons Work and Pensions committee, which was due to take evidence on benefit sanctions today. She told the paper: “This government has developed a culture in which Jobcentre Plus advisers are expected to sanction claimants using unjust, and potentially fraudulent, reasons in order get people ‘off-flow’. This creates the illusion the government is bringing down unemployment.”

[Image: The Void.]

[Image: The Void.]

Finally, there is the revelation that “physical punishment is now built into the benefit system, with sanctions both known and intended to cause a deterioration in health, says the DWP rule book”. Visit the Void blog for further details.

The evidence is stacking up, and shows that the Coalition government has falsified the figures to a shocking extent.

Any new government entering office after the general election will face an uphill struggle simply to uncover the depth of the depravity currently taking place.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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Burning Boris Sparks Arrests At Poor Doors Demo – The Void

141106boris-burns

Following on from our reblog of Beastrabban\’s ‘poor doors’ piece earlier this week, Johnny Void gives us the following:

Two people were arrested last night after an unprovoked attack by police on a lively and good-natured protest against the notorious ‘poor doors’ in London.

Around a hundred people gathered outside the swanky entrance of 1 Commercial Street – a luxury block of flats with a handful of social housing properties included.  A weekly demonstration has been held outside the building ever since it emerged that the tenants living in social housing are forced to use a different door to the toffs occupying the posh flats.

Last night’s protest saw an effigy of London Mayor Boris Johnson burst into flames whilst an angry mob chanted “Burn Boris Burn”.  A heavy police presence looked on, but the mood remained jovial and defiant as people waved sparklers, whilst occassional red flares added some Bonfire Night pizazz.  After the Boris was reduced to a pile of simmering embers, a clearly amused member of the fire brigade tipped water over the Mayor’s remains after instructions from police.

The protest, as on previous weeks, was scheduled to end at 7pm.  At around five to seven, just as things were starting to wind down, police lurched into the crowd grabbing several of the fantastically named Class War Women’s Death Brigade who were dancing with a banner.  Their target was Jane Nicholl, a member of the group and long standing supporter of the Poor Doors protest.  Despite valiant attempts from the crowd to release her, Jane was bundled into the back of a police van which was then promptly surrounded by protesters shocked at this senseless and unprovoked arrest.  Police reinforcements soon arrived and punchy coppers with dogs began to push protesters away leading to one more person being detained.

There’s more on The Void, and you are invited to read it there. Johnny says the best response to this would be for as many people to attend next week’s demonstration as can make it, to show that police intimidation will not work.

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Benefit Sanctions Are Political Admits Welfare To Work Boss – The Void

The Chief Executive of ERSA, the trade body established to lie on behalf of the welfare to work industry, has said that benefit sanctions are ‘political’ and called for a better evidence base for the current regime, writes Johnny Void in his eponymous blog.

Kirsty McHugh made the comments in an interview with Inside Housing magazine discussing the number of homelessness charities and Housing Associations that have ended their involvement with Iain Duncan Smith’s Work Programme.  According to McHugh:

“(Work Programme) Providers want to be able to make a judgement themselves as to whether there is good reason why a client has or hasn’t broken the conditions of their benefit. But right now the system does not allow this.

“For political reasons, this government likes a “stick”, but I think we need a better evidence base.”

This flies in the face of the DWP’s current position, which is that benefit sanctions ‘help’ people gain work, even giving them a ‘welcome jolt’.  In reality, as those involced in the Work Programme know only too well, they often destroy people’s chances of finding a job as those sanctioned sink into poverty, destitution and ill health.

For the rest of this article, visit The Void.