21 Jul 2008

Alan Wheatley gets tough on James Purnell

Replying to the leak of DWP Secretary James Purnell's latest 'get tough
on claimants' Green Paper
London Green Party Disability Spokesperson Alan Wheatley said:

"What jobseekers need is more in the way of green lights, not more of
the same draconian measures that make welfare reform the latest frontier
for legalised human trafficking at a time of growing global recession."

The Government proposals include forcing claimants to do four week's
full time work after claiming unemployment-related benefits for over a
year. "That is a move to drive employment standards down and keep the
pressure on keeping public sector pay and standards low.

"Meanwhile, Sky News is more keen to report what the DWP Secretary and
his cronies have to say, than to alert the public to how his department
fails to deliver urgently needed income to genuine claimants. When
claimants receive redundancy money or are in temporary, part-time paid
employment, their Jobseekers Allowance entitlements are rarely updated
on time and this causes hardship and creates a stumbling block in their
career progression while Jobcentre Plus call-centres are overloaded." In
2004-2005, 21 million calls -- 44% of all incoming call traffic -- to
Jobcentre Plus call-centres went unanswered
What has Sky News and the like had to say about that, and with what size

As Noam Chomsky reported in 'The Manufacture of Consent', poor people
have traditionally not had the telecommunications equipment that their
oppressors rely on for promoting their say, and that makes news sourcing
easier. With a computer won in a national magazine competition, London
Green Party's Disability Spokesperson has exercised his Information
Communication Technology skills and reframing bitter personal experience
of system failure, into being Disability Spokesperson for London Green
Party. "The essential data were multiple choice answers, not CV data,"
Alan notes.

That application of his Information Communication Technology skills has
been better for his mental health and continuous professional
development than advice given by workfare provider A4e (Action for
Employment) to long-term jobseekers.

A4e Holloway client advisors say, "The more jobs you apply for, the
better your chances. Ten job applications per day is good." On A4e's
referral form, there is no question regarding the 'beneficiary's'
disability status or access requirements. But is such a lottery-like
approach to jobsearch professional good for even non-disabled jobseekers?

A4e owner Emma Harrison is a multi-millionaire whose business is
expanding globally, as is the armaments exports-like nature of workfare
that the UK's Department for Work & Pensions Secretary wants
British-based companies to be a leading force in. It also offers free
debt advice to New Deal 'beneficiaries' while A4e's delivery of
'Community Legal Aid Centres' threatens the future of Citizens' Advice
Bureaux and prospective impartiality of the advice offered to society's
most economically vulnerable members.


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Alan Wheatley said...

In retrospect, it would be more accurate for me to describe the welfare reform stuff as 'implementation of the Freud Report', than publication of the Welfare Reform Green Paper as such.

David Freud is the investment banker commissioned by first Tony Blair and then Gordon Brown to reform the benefits system. He has admitted that he knew next to nothing about the benefits system when he started his three weeks research and writing, but believes that he had the system sorted by the end of three weeks.

Note by Alan Wheatley
Disability Spokesperson for London Green Party

Unknown said...

Now let me see... byt the end of 2009 we'll probably have 3 million people actively claiming jobseeker's allowance and far fewer vacancies than the 800,000 or so that are supposed to currently exist (calculated by taking the number of Jobcentre Plus vacancies and multiplying by three). To implement Purnell's rediculous plan we will need to generate one million jobs for people on Incapacity Benefit by 2015 and a million jobs for unemployed men and women over fifty and another million jobs for people who lost their positions in the recession and a further 500,000 or so jobs for single parents et al. Going out on a limb I kind of think, post credit bubble, that NONE of that is going to happen. So workfare. Are we really going to see unemployed women in their forties, fifties, late fifties - almost at what used to be at pensionable age - forced by private employment agencies to wear orange boiler suits, like petty criminals on a chain gang, and sweep the streets or pick up litter under threat of homlessness and destitution if they refuse? Is this the bold new "socially just" twenty first century England the Conservatives or neo-Conservatives (New Labour) plan for us all to enjoy? If it is it stinks on ice! If Purnell cannot muster a majority amongst Labour MPs and pushes this welfare "reform" through the House of Commons with the help of the opposition surely that will finish him as a potential future leader of the neo-Conservatives? As they say: every cloud has a silver lining. I for one would be delighted to see the smirking charmless amoral and golem-like James Purnell become extinct politically. His welfare reform might cause terrible suffering to so many innocent and helpless men and women in society but if it gets rid of its author, sooner rather than later, it might achieve at least one positive result.

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