Tagged: West of Scotland

Nearly Two Million Jobseekers Could Be Forced To ‘Sign On’ Every Week

Jobseekers could be forced to “sign on” every week to continue receiving benefit payments, under new plans being considered by the Government.

Currently, only benefit claimants who are deemed not to be doing enough to find a job are required to visit a Jobcentre every week.

Trials in East London and parts of the West of Scotland, where claimants signed on every week instead of every fortnight after the 13th week of their claim, found that unemployed people spent “at least an average of 2.6 fewer days on benefits than fortnightly signers”.

Other approaches to the analysis suggest that jobseeker’s spent an average of six fewer days on benefits, but the DWP said they have “less confidence in the higher figure”.

However, the DWP is said to be taking the findings “very seriously” and could eventually force all of the UK’s 1.91 million Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) claimants to sign on every week.

Researchers also tested “speed signing” in other parts of the UK, where claimants had shorter fortnightly jobsearch reviews.

Flexible signing” was also trialled, giving Jobcentre Plus Work Coaches the flexibility to change how often JSA claimants were asked to sign on.

Speed signing had “no effect”, while flexible signing resulted in one day more on benefits. A figure which the DWP says isn’t “statistically significant”.

Pilots lasted for 52 weeks following random assignment. Participation ended sooner where individuals were referred to the Work Programme or where they ended their claim for Jobseeker’s Allowance.

Unions have condemned the idea, with the PCS union – who include Jobcentre staff among its members – accusing the Government of “punishing the jobless”.

The plan would also require “massive investment in Jobcentres and staff”, said PCS.

A PCS spokesperson said weekly signing “doesn’t appear to be designed to help claimants, it’s just another way for the Government to turn the screw”.

Source – Welfare Weekly, 02 Feb 2015

http://www.welfareweekly.com/nearly-two-million-jobseekers-forced-sign-every-week/

Thatcher’s Fatal Legacy

The legacy of Margaret Thatcher includes the premature death of many Britons and a continuing burden of suffering, academics have claimed.

The experts the universities of Durham, Liverpool, West of Scotland, Glasgow and Edinburgh denounce the policies on the well-being of the British public after they concluded their study into social inequality in the 1980s.

They accuse the governments of Thatcher of wilfully engineering  an economic catastrophe across large parts of Britain by distmantaling traditional industries to undermine the power of working class organizations.

> This is not difficult to believe. Nor is it difficult to believe that her current heirs, and their Lib Dem collaborators, are continuing the job of selling off everything and grinding the poor into the dirt.

Dr. Alex Scott-Samuel from Liverpool University said: “Margaret Thatcher’s legacy includes the unnecessary and unjust premature death of many British citizens, together with a substantial and continuing burden of suffering and loss of well-being”.

Dr.  Scott-Samuel added that around 5,000 excess deaths — attributable to chronic liver disease and cirrhosis — were witnessed towards the end of 1980s in addition to 2,500 excess deaths per year because of unemployment caused by Thatcher’s policies. The study said that the poverty rate had witnessed a rapid rise to 12% in 1985 from 6.7% in 1975 in the UK.

So many people died because of increase in infections on wards that were a result of policy changes in healthcare like the outsourcing of hospital cleaners.

Co-author Professor Clare Bambra, from the Wolfson Research Institute for Health and Wellbeing at Durham University, said that their paper draws a very clear picture of impacts made by the politics on health inequalities.

The group also took aim at the coalition government . Prof David Hunter, of Durham Univ’s Centre For Public Policy & Health, said: “Taking its inspiration from Thatcher’s legacy, the coalition government has managed to achieve what Thatcher felt unable to, which is to open up the NHS to markets and competition. It’s task was made consideralby easier by the preceding Labour government which laid the foundations for the changes introduced in April 2013.”

> Yes, and it’s important to emphasise New Labour’s , and Tony Blair’s in particular, role in setting things up for the current government’s excesses. As much heirs of Thatcherism as the current mob.

The findings of the study have been published in the International Journal of Health Services.

Source – Durham Times  14 Feb 2014