The DWP press office put out a diabolical piece of bilge masquerading as news on Friday. It’s so godawful I have to share it with you.
The gist is that the new ‘Claimant Commitment’ a contract “demanding more from jobseekers” is now in place across the whole of the UK, with 635,000 JSA claimants having been forced to sign these agreements.
But let’s go through it in detail, with each paragraph clarified by Vox Political‘s special ‘BS’ translation service.
“The Claimant Commitment has now been successfully rolled out across the country, the latest figures show. It means all new jobseekers and those completing the Work Programme must agree and sign the commitment in order to receive benefits.” Translation: It doesn’t matter that you’ve paid taxes all your working life – you do what we say or we bankrupt you.
“The new agreement sees jobseekers agree the steps they will take each week to give them the best chance of getting into work.” Translation: Agreement has nothing to do with it – we’ll make them jump through hoops in a poodle costume if we want but it won’t help them get a job.
“This could include registering and looking for work through Universal Jobmatch or a recruitment agency.” Not only do we do nothing to help them get a job, we also help identity thieves steal their details and put vulnerable youngsters in the clutches of the sex industry.
“It builds on help already in place.” Obviously we’re having a laugh with this line.
“Welfare Reform Minister Lord Freud said: ‘With Universal Credit we are creating a modern and sustainable welfare system that is fit for the 21st century – one that supports people when they need it and helps them become independent.” This has nothing to do with the Claimant Commitment but I’ve been told to ‘big up’ Universal Calamity whenever I can, to hide the fact that it’s such an albatross.
“‘The Claimant Commitment redefines the relationship between jobseekers and the state.” To one between slave and master.
“‘Claimants receive greater support to get into work from their work coach-‘ All our work coaches have been given extra training in how to use a whip ‘-and we expect them to do all they can to find a job as quickly as possible as part of the deal for receiving their benefit.’ We know there aren’t any jobs but this simply means we can cut off their cash more quickly when they fail.
“‘Staff have told me it has strengthened their ability to support people into work at the earliest opportunity.’ Those who haven’t gone on long-term sick leave with depressive conditions have developed a kind of dead-eyed look and keep repeating, ‘I’m just following orders’.
“Following an in-depth conversation, work coaches and jobseekers agree regular specific tasks, work preparation and training opportunities that will give them the best chance of finding work quickly.” Tasks… preparation… opportunities! Oh, our sides are splitting! “The penalties claimants could face for failing to meet their responsibilities to get into work are clearly spelt out.” And horrifying.
[The following paragraph is edited as it purports to feature an actual jobseeker] “‘Dizzy’ Guise [not his real name], signed a Claimant Commitment after he was made redundant.” We know our official wording has it that their jobs are redundant, not the people, but it gives us a tremendous sense of superiority over these proles to say that they are redundant instead. “He said it helped him focus on his job search and he’s now working as a business apprentice in Barking.” You’d have to be barking to believe that!
“He said: ‘When I first met my adviser I was probably like every person coming to the Jobcentre, a bit unenthusiastic.'” We want people to think that everyone claiming JSA is a sponger and doesn’t want to look for work.
“‘But I don’t think people know how much the Jobcentre advisers do for them.'” To them.
“‘I thought the Claimant Commitment was demanding, but fair. It motivated me.'” We want people to think that everyone claiming JSA is a sponger and doesn’t want to look for work.
“‘Without that commitment you probably don’t do so many job searches.’” We want people to think that everyone claiming JSA is a sponger and doesn’t want to look for work.
“The new commitment is an important part of the cultural transformation that Universal Credit will bring-” from a free society in which every citizen is equal to one where we can treat you like the scum we think you are “-and will place a strong focus on the responsibilities that claimants must fulfil” … while we accept no responsibility at all for whatever happens.
That seems much clearer now.
Would any jobseekers, who have had to sign this Claimant Commitment, care to tell us what it’s really like?
Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike
Join the Vox Political Facebook page.
Vox Political needs your help!
This independent blog’s only funding comes from readers’ contributions.
Without YOUR help, we cannot keep going.
You can make a one-off donation here:
Alternatively, you can buy the first Vox Political book,
Strong Words and Hard Times
in either print or eBook format here: