The 4.45pm Link 65

Interesting piece from the curmudgeon on welfare reform.

We should not forget the extent to which every possible step was taken to discourage benefit claimants already under New Labour.

A friend of mine who works in what used to be called a Jobs Centre says it is heartbreaking to see the unemployed who have worked all their lives, sometimes in quite senior positions, now being put through the deliberately humiliating and onerous process of claiming benefit. They have to show they have applied every week for numerous often inappropriate jobs and continually provide evidence of their rejection.

She says that there really does exist a class of benefit scrounger who have no intention of working. They are precisely the ones who are not discouraged. They know how to fill the forms, happily send off a quota of hopeless online job applications every week, and don’t mind explaining themselves to a gormless eighteen year old clerk who has the power to send them and their family to starvation. It is the honest people humiliated at having to claim benefits who can’t cope and fall through the net.

That is the problem with making benefits harder to claim – you discourage the wrong people.

The interesting thing is that the staff do know broadly who are real and who are the scroungers – but they are not allowed to use discretion, but have to make decisions according to set procedures and criteria based on form filling and production of meaningless rejection letter paperwork.. Absolutely symptomatic of New Labour’s Britain.

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65 thoughts on “The 4.45pm Link

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  • Royston

    @JOn – “Work or starve” is not what I meant, and I’m not talkin bout the States – more like Asia and Africa. These folks actually have an easy time of it, some sit in gardens guarding flowers all day. The companies don’t really need the work done, they’re being socially responsible and engaging the jobless, who get some choice in what they do. It helps people who are really keen to work bcos they get a chance to prove themselves. Otherwise as in the UK they’d just languish on the dole getting turned down for every job they applied for bcos they got gaps in their CV. The terminally workshy get pushed by there families to get one of the sleepy jobs so’s they can pull their weight. Don’t know if the Wilkinson book deals with that kind of thing.

  • John Seal

    I would rather pay someone to sit on their ass and do nothing than run the risk of cutting off benefits to someone whose children might go hungry as a result. Soak the rich sufficiently and this would be possible.

  • technicolour

    Craig, if you get this far: I’m not denying there are some people who don’t want to work at appallingly low paid and exhausting jobs just for the sheer pleasure and nobility of it. Even so, what would you do to them? As others here have pointed out, there are simply not enough jobs to go round as it is. I can’t blame anyone for giving up, even if it does mean eking out a miserable and debilitating life on the edge of society, which is the reality of the benefit system (the people you read about in the Mail claiming thousands a week are fantastical, not representative). Seriously, are the ‘scroungers’ not a red herring, and often a deliberate one, floated by the right?

  • technicolour

    Added to that others, as the churches reported in the rosier days of ten years ago, simply cannot afford to work, especially if they have children, because then they would have to pay out of rock bottom wages for childcare. They choose, in a sense, to stay on the dole, and suffer there too: are they scroungers?

  • technicolour

    and finally, I wonder what being left wing (or not) has to do with it? These are facts, I think?

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