Tagged: out of work

The minimum income is 2.5 times what people get on benefits – but still they are labelled scroungers

Vox Political

140630minimumincome The numbers speak for themselves: Under ‘Adequacy of safety-net benefits’, EVERY SINGLE INCOME GROUP has lost out. While others have suffered a great percentage drop, single working-age people remain the least able to make ends meet.

“How much money do you need for an adequate standard of living?”

That is the question posed every year by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation – and every year the organisation calculates how much people have to earn – taking into account their family circumstances, the changing cost of these essentials and changes to the tax and benefit system – to reach this benchmark.

This year’s research finds:

A lone parent with one child now needs to earn more than £27,100 per year – up from £12,000 in 2008. A couple with two children need to earn more than £20,200 each, compared to £13,900 each in 2008. Single working-age people must now earn more…

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Work Camps in depression-era East Cleveland

They were supposedly part of a charitable scheme that offered alternative employment to the region’s young out-of-work miners.

At their height, the work camps of East Cleveland attracted the great and the good of depression-era Britain and even received a visit from Prince George.

But new research into archive documents and the writings of a self-styled “English Fuhrer” reveal the sinister true motives behind the camps – the Nazi creed of Heartbreak Hill.

During the Great Depression, between 1928 and 1933, the closure of many of East Cleveland’s ironstone mines devastated thousands of families as unemployment soared to 91%.

Under the guidance of their friend Rolf Gardiner, husband and wife Major “Jim” and Ruth Pennyman, of Ormesby Hall, began buying stretches of land around Margrove Park, Boosbeck and Lingdale.

The scheme, known as Heartbreak Hill, worked by providing plots of land that the miners could cultivate as farmland, the miners were then paid in produce.

The plan was lauded as a great success and attracted the attention of 1930s high society with Prince George’s visiting 1933.

Yet behind the plaudits and royal visits, it appears the scheme was designed to promote an ideology founded in Nazism – and the connection can be traced to Rolf Gardiner.

Aristocratic and charismatic, the blond haired, blue-eyed Gardiner spoke fluent German, was a prolific writer, folk dancer and a rural revivalist.

He helped pioneer organic farming and co-founded Kinship in Husbandry, a forerunner of today’s Soil Association.

But Gardiner was also an anti-Semite, a Nazi sympathiser and the self-described Fuhrer of German-style youth movements in England.

In his writings found by the Gazette at Tees Archives in Middlesbrough, Gardiner rants of how a “Jew-controlled press, cinema, wireless and advertising,” had “corrupted the soul of England”.

In another piece Gardiner wrote: “Germany has the innate power to claim captaincy of European civilisation at a time when it is menaced from without and within.”

Perhaps most unsettling is the letter Gardiner wrote on April 25, 1933 to the infamous Nazi propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels.

Gardiner begins: “Esteemed Herr Reich Minister,” before introducing himself as the “Fuhrer of a young English generation”.

Explaining the difficulties he had faced while setting up a far-right youth movement in England he wrote: “An entire old world stood opposed to our direction and wanted to reverse it. For we sought the new order of a third Reich…

“We wanted to bring about not brotherhood but spiritual combat… We thought in an undemocratic and un-pacifist way.”

Goebbels immediately published the letter as an example of Nazi support in Britain.

It was in 1929 that Gardiner first wrote to the Pennymans with his idea of politicising Cleveland youths under the guise of work camps for the unemployed.

Beginning, “My dear Jim and Ruth,” Gardiner wrote: “Our business is to create something new, something rooted in faith and obedience which may survive the storms which loom and break over England.

“Here’s your job! To initiate something new, and to kindle the life quality where it has been quenched.

“In the neighbourhood of every fluctuating industry today, we ought to be starting some form of rural activity which will about and train the surplus young men.

“Try to get the young socialists and communists to meet the “Imps”… Start your smaller discussion groups.

“Get them to report the result of their discussions to the united assembly afterwards, but be careful whom you put in charge of the groups.”

“You’ll have to sift your human material somewhat cunningly at first and pick out the live-wires from the furred ones: for upon your original nucleus, your larger one will later on depend…

…Have organization and real discipline whenever it is necessary.”

Throughout the 1930s, Gardiner set up similar work camps across Britain, all following the same ideology.

The Gardiner’s camps received regular visits from Nazi youth groups led by Georg Gotsch, director of the Musikheim in Frankfurt, described by Gardiner as being “a true executor of the ideas of the National Socialist state”.

In an Evening Gazette interview after his visit to the 1936 Berlin Olympics, Jim Pennyman said: “So much had been said about the bullying of the Jews and political opponents that Hitler’s constructive ideas had been overlooked in many circles.

“The treatment of individual Jews is to English eyes inexcusable but this is not the first time, that in a revolution, people have been deprived of their property.

“There are two classes of Jews to whom the Hitler regime objects, namely the international financier and the Jews who filter in from the East.

“They say Germany is for the Germans, and no foreigner will be allowed to own land or have an important position in the state service.”

While this doesn’t look good in retrospect, it should be understood that in the early 1930s, the true nature of Nazi ideology was poorly understood by most.

At that time there was widespread feeling that the Treaty of Versailles imposed unfair punishment on Germany and that the Nazi’s demands were in some ways justified.

And it should be noted that when asked if he would like to see any form of Hitlerism or Fascism introduced into Britain, Jim’s reply was: “Most decidedly No”.

Also “Red Ruth” Pennyman, as she was known, considered herself to be a communist.

It seems that towards the final years of the scheme, Ruth’s influence succeeded in marginalising Gardiner.

Finally, the record shows that towards the outbreak of WW2, the Pennymans distanced themselves from Gardiner.

Major Pennyman was promoted to Colonel and remained steadfastly loyal to Britain.

Gardiner himself turned his back on Nazism but did keep in touch with his friend, the convicted war criminal and Reichs minister for agriculture Richard Darre.

And history shows that despite the efforts of a fanatical few, the ideals of National Socialism never caught on with the people of East Cleveland.

Source – Middlesbrough Evening Gazette,  24 Feb 2014

Unemployment Falls – Sanctions Rise. Coincidence ?

The UK unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest level since 2009, official figures show.

At 7.4%, this is the lowest rate since the February-to-April period in 2009, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

The number of people out of work fell by 99,000 to 2.39 million in the three months to October, the ONS said.

The number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance in November fell by 36,700 to 1.27 million.

In Northern Ireland the unemployment rate was slightly higher at 7.5%, while Scotland’s figure was 7.1.%. England and Wales matched the national figure of 7.4%.

The North East of England had the highest unemployment rate, at 10.1%, while the lowest rate was 5.6% in the East of England.

The North East also had the highest claimant count rate at 6.1%, compared with the South East, which had the lowest, at 2.3%.

Employment Minister Esther McVey wasn’t slow to grab the credit –  “It is really encouraging news that the number of people in jobs has increased by a quarter of a million in the last three months, bringing the total number of people in work to a record-breaking 30 million.

“Together with a big fall in unemployment, this shows that the Government’s long-term economic plan to get people off benefits and into work is proving successful.

“It’s also thanks to British businesses up and down the country who are feeling increasingly confident about taking on workers. This is a great sign that the economy is growing.”

Good of her to give a mention to the businesses employing people – “It’s also thanks to British businesses up and down the country” – you might have thought that it’s entirely thanks to them.

Or would you ? Perhaps, against all probability, there is actually some truth to be found in her statement – “this shows that the Government’s long-term economic plan to get people off benefits and into work is proving successful”.

Now if you were to amend that to – “this shows that the Government’s long-term economic plan to get people off benefits is proving successful” you might be getting closer to the truth.

 Sanctions !

“Latest figures show Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants who failed to do enough to find work had their benefits payments suspended 580,000 times.” – https://www.gov.uk/government/news/benefit-sanctions-ending-the-something-for-nothing-culture

The government’s propaganda site was quick to trumpet their “success” a few months ago.
Julia Unwin, chief executive of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, commenting on the above statement:

‘Figures published today show that half a million people face the threat of destitution as their benefits are taken away in a bid to mould behaviour and encourage people to take jobs.

International evidence is that while conditionality, has its uses, it is a blunt and uncertain instrument for driving behaviour. In the US the evidence is that people disappear below the radar altogether, which may recue the claimant count but creates huge risk.

’The threat of destitution is a poorly evidenced high risk way of trying to influence the behaviour of the poorest people in the country.’

Vanishing under the radar – that’s all part of the government’s long-term economic figure-manipulating plan. It’s not about tax payers money being saved – Jobseekers Allowance payments only amount to around 3% of the budget. Almost three times that – around 8% – is paid in benefits to those IN work.

Consider the words of a Job Centre whistleblower – from 2011, and its got worse since…

A whistleblower said staff at his jobcentre were given targets of three people a week to refer for sanctions, where benefits are removed for up to six months. He said it was part of a “culture change” since last summer that had led to competition between advisers, teams and regional offices.

“Suddenly you’re not helping somebody into sustainable employment, which is what you’re employed to do,” he said.

“You’re looking for ways to trick your customers into ‘not looking for work’. You come up with many ways. I’ve seen dyslexic customers given written job searches, and when they don’t produce them – what a surprise – they’re sanctioned. The only target that anyone seems to care about is stopping people’s money.

“‘Saving the public purse’ is the catchphrase that is used in our office … It is drummed home all the time – you’re saving the public purse. Feel good about stopping someone’s money, you’ve just saved your own pocket. Its a joke.”

Unfortunately a not very funny joke, with a punchline that causes real damage.

“We were told suddenly that [finding someone to sanction] once a week wasn’t good enough, we were far behind other offices, and we went to a meeting where they compared us with other offices, and said we now have to do three a week to catch up. Most staff go into work and they’re thinking about it from moment one – who am I going to stop this week?”

“The young often fall into it, because they haven’t been there long enough, they are generally a major target. The uneducated are another major target. I’ve seen people with … seriously low educational standards and it’s easy to exploit them.”

He said staff had different ways to ensure they could stop benefits for a set amount of people.

“So, for example, if you want someone to diversify – they’re an electrician or a plumber, they may not want to go into call centres or something. What you do is keep promoting such and such a job, and you pressure them into taking it off you, the piece of paper. Then in two weeks you look at the system, you ask them if they applied for it … they say no – you stop their money for six months.”

The whistleblower says his office has been told there is no more money for back to work training from April. “From April, we offer no provision … nothing, no training course, nothing. The funding ends at the end of March.

“[Now] your office can shine through one of two targets. You can either shine through getting people into work, but that’s really difficult. Or you can stop their money, and that’s really easy.”

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2011/apr/01/jobcentres-tricking-people-benefit-sanctions

Well, that was 2011. Things have got worse as it becomes ingrained in the DWP culture. One perceptive reader of the above Guardian article wrote at the time :

” At some point Osborne or Cameron will triumphantly brandish figures about how many ‘scroungers’ they cut off from benefits. Remember, this is how they did it.”

Anyone hearing Cameron in the media yesterday might like to consider that.

And its going to get worse yet –  consider an article published a few days ago on the Boycott Workfare site –

http://www.boycottworkfare.org/?p=3116

100,000 people given historic sanctions

In August 2012 it was ruled in the high court that the letters given to claimants mandating them onto workfare schemes of up to 780 unpaid hours did not communicate to people what was required of them on these schemes. This meant all the sanctions that had been awarded through a range of different workfare schemes were unlawful and had to be repaid. The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) went about appealing this ruling, but in February 2013 the decision was upheld.

After this the DWP rushed through the retrospective Jobseekers (Back to Work) Act, making the unlawful withdrawal of benefits from an estimated 179,000 people now apparently legal – although obviously this Act did not change the fact that people were not fully aware of what was required of them at the time.

This Act was supported by the Labour Party and deprived people who would have suffered significant hardship of a total of £130 million that was unlawfully stolen by the government.

It now turns out that the cruelty of this Act did not stop there. Since the first court case decision in August 2012 they had stopped sanctioning for cases that would be affected by the courts decision, and had started to stockpile these decisions. The introduction of the Jobseekers (Back to Work) Act allowed them to start sanctioning all these stockpiled sanctions. At the time they rushed through the act 63,000 sanctions had been stockpiled, and by the time they started to sanction people in July 2013 this could have reached over 100,000 sanctions.

Over the last 3-6 months people have been notified of these sanctions with letters such as the one shown. As can be seen there can be a year long gap between the alleged event and you being notified of the sanction making it almost impossible to appeal as it is unlikely you have knowledge of what you did on that day (and neither do the work programme providers!).

Not only were all 3 main political parties involved in depriving the poorest people of £130 million that was rightfully theirs, but are now chasing another 100,000 claimants for money through these historic sanctions with little hope of claimants forming a strong case of appeal. All benefit sanctions are wrong, but this retrospective law shows how happy the government are to even sanction illegally – as they’ll just change the law later and sanction people a year down the line.

You wonder that the unemployment rates seem to be falling ? Even though there are apparently no more vacancies than before, still masses of empty shops and factories and the local media continues to report job losses on an almost daily basis ?

Do you wonder why, in Parliament, Labour MPs failed to ask questions about the role of sanctions in the supposed improved figures ?

Or why, on the day the figures were released, the Sunderland Echo – hardly a radical publication – headlined with Bleakest Times For The City’s Homeless ?

Come April 2014 and the introduction of compulsory workfare – allied to all those retrospective sanctions they’re currently harvesting – you can just bet those figures will be tumbling yet again.

Please remember why… someone, somewhere, perhaps even you, will have been sacrificed on the altar of political ambition.

Does that dull the feelgood factor perhaps just a little ?