Tagged: Stephen Timms

Need cheering up? This latest update on Universal Credit should do it!

The lovely wibbly wobbly old lady

Reposted from ComputerWorldUK

Universal Credit digital staff up from just three to 160 during 2014

There are now 160 people working on the Universal Credit digital service, according to minister for disabled people Mark Harper.

It is a dramatic increase in manpower compared with last January, when just three members of DWP IT staff were working on the digital system, which will be the eventual platform for all benefit claimants.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) plans to recruit a further 50 staff members between now and April to work on the beleaguered benefit reform project, Harper said in a written answer to shadow work and pensions minister Stephen Timms.

Harper said: “The number of people working on the Universal Credit digital service is tracking very close to recruitment plans.”

The DWP has adopted a ‘twin track’ development model for the new benefit, with existing systems for national implementation developed alongside the new digital solution. The government eventually plans…

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Labour say they will end sanctions targets

Rachel Reeves ,the shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and Stephen Timms, shadow Employment Minister have said that if labour is elected next year they will end targets for sanctions. But how much difference would this actually make?

According to Reeves and Timms:

“. . . we urgently need to get a grip on the delays and administrative errors that can mean the difference between eating and not eating for people trying to make a few pounds last for days.

As MPs we have had to refer people to food banks because of problems like this. In one case a mother who worked three jobs as a cleaner but ended up living on payday loans because she had been forced to wait months on end to get the tax credits. We should take this kind of system failure as seriously as we do a delay to an important medical appointment or a failure to respond adequately to a crime report.

“We also need to ensure that sanctions are fair and proportionate, and based on transparent procedures and appropriate safeguards. Sanctions have been part of our social security system since its foundation, and the principle of mutual obligation and putting conditions on benefit claims were integral to the progressive labour market policies of the last Labour government, from the first New Deals to the Future Jobs Fund.

“We in the Labour movement have always believed that the right to work goes hand in hand with the responsibility to prepare for, look for, and accept reasonable offers of suitable work.

“That’s why we have pledged that there will be no targets for sanctions under a Labour government so that jobcentre staff are focused on helping people into work, not simply finding reasons to kick them off benefits. We will also ensure that rules and decisions around sanctions are fair and properly communicated, and that the system of hardship payments is working properly.”

But, without a change in the criteria for sanctions and a change in the attitude towards claimants of both politicians and the civil servants at the top of the DWP, how much difference would ending targets that are never explicitly stated in the first place actually make?

Let us know what you think.

You can read the full statement on the Labour List website.

Source –  Benefits & Work,  24 Nov 2014

http://www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/news/2948-labour-say-they-will-end-sanctions-targets

Workfare Starts Today – Slave Labour Britain Is Here

The coalition government’s ‘Help To Work’ scheme comes into effect from today, Monday 28 April 2014.

Under the new scheme unemployed people who have been out of work for longer than two years, and who have completed the Work Programme, will be expected to undertake tough new requirements in order to continue receiving benefit.

 Claimants may be required to take part in unpaid community work placements, such as clearing up litter and graffiti in their local neighbourhood, enrol in local gardening projects or restoring war memorials.

Community work experience placements will be for 30 hours per week and could last up to six months. If participants have failed to find a job by the time the six months are up they could find themselves being recycled back onto the programme, in what could become a never-ending cycle of work for your benefits.

> How are you expected to find a job while serving a 30 hour sentence each week, when you couldn’t when you had more time to look for work ?

The long-term unemployed will also be expected to visit their local JobCentre every day to ‘sign on’ and will receive up to fours hours intensive job search coaching for each week they are on the ‘Help To Work’ Scheme.

> I don’t think Jobcentres would be able to cope with the numbers just signing on each day – forget 4 hours ‘intensive job search coaching’ ! Which in any case would actually amount to 4 hours trying to sanction you.

Failure to comply with the strict new regime could result in jobseeker’s losing their benefit for four weeks at a time or longer for repeat offenders.

According to the government, jobseeker’s with learning difficulties will also receive educational support to improve their literacy and numeracy skills.

Sick and disabled benefit claimants in receipt of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) will not be required to take part in the scheme.

Prime Minister David Cameron said:

“A key part of our long-term economic plan is to move to full employment, making sure that everyone who can work is in work.

“We are seeing record levels of employment in Britain, as more and more people find a job, but we need to look at those who are persistently stuck on benefits.

“This scheme will provide more help than ever before, getting people into work and on the road to a more secure future.”

Secretary of State of Work and Pensions Iain Duncan Smith said:

“Everyone with the ability to work should be given the support and opportunity to do so.

“The previous system wrote too many people off, which was a huge waste of potential for those individuals as well as for their families and the country as a whole. We are now seeing record numbers of people in jobs and the largest fall in long-term unemployment since 1998.

“But there’s always more to do, which is why we are introducing this new scheme to provide additional support to the very small minority of claimants who have been unemployed for a number of years.

“In this way we will ensure that they too can benefit from the improving jobs market and the growing economy.”

The move has come under heavy criticism from both Labour and the unions. Unite’s assistant general secretary Steve Turner describing the new scheme as a form of “forced unpaid labour”.  He  told the Independent newspaper:

“This scheme is nothing more than forced unpaid labour and there is no evidence that these workfare programmes get people into paid work in the long-term.

“We are against this scheme wherever ministers want to implement it – in the private sector, local government and in the voluntary sector.

“The Government sees cash-starved charities as ‘a soft target’ for such an obscene scheme, so we are asking charity bosses to say ‘no’ to taking part in this programme. This is a warping of the true spirit of volunteering and will force the public to look differently at charities with which they were once proud to be associated.

“It is outrageous that the Government is trying to stigmatise job seekers by making them work for nothing, otherwise they will have their benefits docked.”

Labour’s Stephen Timms added:

“Under David Cameron’s government nearly one in ten people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance lack basic literacy skills and many more are unable to do simple maths or send an email. Yet this Government allows jobseekers to spend up to three years claiming benefits before they get literacy and numeracy training.

> Yes, we’re a pretty ignorant lot, us unemployed – obviously we wouldn’t be on the dole if we weren’t thick.

What proof is there actually for these kind of claims ? 

“A Labour government will introduce a Basic Skills Test to assess all new claimants for Jobseeker’s Allowance within six weeks of claiming benefits.

“Those who don’t have the skills they need for a job will have to take up training alongside their job search or lose their benefits.

> Here we go – Labour so eager to prove that their stick is as least as big as the ConDems.

Labour’s Basic Skills Test and our Compulsory Jobs Guarantee will give the unemployed a better chance of finding a job and will help us to earn our way out of the cost-of-living crisis.”

> Yes, but unless there are actually more proper jobs to apply for, you can have all the mickey mouse qualifications in the world – you’re still limited by the number of vacancies.

Whilst the number of available job vacancies have increased significantly in recent months many area’s of the country are still witnessing a severe shortage of jobs, with the North-East of England and parts of Scotland fairing the worst.

> See, the problem is that it’s all very well saying the number of available job vacancies have increased significantly in recent months , but no-one breaks down the numbers.

How many of these jobs are actually full-time ? how many part-time ? How many are zero hour jobs ? How many are dodgy ‘self-employed’ leaflet distribution jobs ?

As someone who needs a full time wage, I know all too well that the number of these is all too small a percentage locally.

This is in stark contrast to area’s in the South-East of England where the number of available jobs are greater than the numbers of people looking for work.

However, figures due to be released on Tuesday are expected to show that competition for jobs has fallen to a new low of 1.42 jobseeker’s for every advertised job vacancy. This will no doubt come as good news for the coaliton government.

> If anyone actually believed it…

However, those figures are also expected to show that the average advertised salary has dropped by £1,800 over the last twelve months, providing more fuel to Labour’s  ‘cost of living crisis’ argument.

Sourc e – Welfare News Service  28 April 2014

http://welfarenewsservice.com/long-term-unemployed-expected-to-work-for-their-benefits-in-launch-of-new-government-scheme/

Labour’s Workfare Plus A Sandwich Scheme Could Be The Most Exploitative Forced Work Yet

You know, if the Greens really got their act together, they could clean up at the next general election. Who else is left for us to vote for ?

the void

miliband Ed Miliband pretended he has a real job as he announced his latest forced labour scheme.

Labour’s workfare plus a sandwich scheme is no better than the Tory’s current workfare and is every bit as badly thought out.

Labour’s Compulsory Jobs Guarantee takes the worst elements of almost all previous welfare-to-work style schemes and has rolled them all into one giant and hugely expensive fuck up. Possibly hundreds of thousands of people are to be forced to work in part-time temporary jobs with wages pegged at the minimum wage or face their benefits will be stopped.

Many people in these compulsory jobs may find themselves worse off then someone on current Tory workfare schemes.  The jobs will only be for 25 hours a week, meaning those over 21 will receive just £156.70 under current rates.  For the vast majority of claimants, who have rent to pay, this is likely to…

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