Working for nothing, accused of fraud, sent on unchanging CV courses: owned by the DWP when you’re older and unemployed

Back to Stockport jobcentre – where I recently spoke at length with Ben (named changed). I’ve posted the transcript below.

Ben was 58 and long-term unemployed. Ben did not think that his situation would change soon.

The DWP was after Ben on several fronts.

The DWP is often after people on several fronts.

The department refuses to leave people alone for five minutes. The department drags people to compliance interviews, sends people on useless “employability” courses and makes people attend jobcentres to sit in front of computers and apply online for jobs they never hear about again.

None of this is about helping people find work. It’s about something sinister. It’s about standing over people who are least likely to find work. It’s about reminding people who are out of work that they are not entitled to even a little autonomy. There’s a whole industry devoted to making sure that people who are long-term unemployed are permanently under the thumb.

If you’re out of work and signing on, the DWP owns you.

The DWP certainly owned Ben.

For starters, the DWP was coming for Ben on compliance.

People are called to compliance interviews when the DWP wants to accuse them of earning while claiming, or having secret savings, or whatever. I’ve seen more compliance letters over the years than I care to count. The amounts of money are rarely startling and anyway, the DWP’s accusations are often completely wrong. This doesn’t stop the department frightening the hell out of people by firing out fraud accusations. If you’re out of work, government likes to take any opportunity to rough you up. If there isn’t an opportunity to rough you up on the immediate horizon, government creates one.

Ben had received a compliance letter and a call from the DWP that morning.

The DWP had accused Ben of earning a bit of money and not declaring it.

Ben was furious about this. He was angry about the accusation and, it turned out, about the problems that working a few days had caused him.

Ben had worked as a security guard for three days and had been paid, and declared that. Then he worked another three days as a security guard, but the company he’d worked for that time never paid him.

This happens ALL the time, just so that you know. People land few days’ work with some fly-by-night company and/or sub-sub-subcontracted contractor, but they never get the pay they were promised. They can either go to war with the company in question to get their money, or they can let it go and hope things work out better next time. It’s not much of a choice.

Said Ben:

“I’ve just had an accusation this morning… they sent me a…I have a [compliance] interview… that’s the letter [Ben showed me the compliance letter that the DWP had sent]. It’s a compliance thing. I’ve been accused of working…and I haven’t… this other company, I worked for them in August in the hospital for three days – three 12-hour days. They never paid me. I didn’t get slips or anything. They [the DWP] said, “Oh, you were working.” I said, “I never got anything except a uniform they sent me…” They’re [the security company] probably saying, “he’s got the uniform. We’re not going to pay him…”

So, there was that.

Ben’s second problem was the pointless jobsearch activities that the jobcentre was forcing him into right then.

Ben had been sent on “employability” courses and shown how to write a CV so often that he literally couldn’t stand it. He was 58. He felt that he’d been shown to write CVs by every dodgy course provider in the country.

Nonetheless, the DWP was really going for it. The department does this from time to time:

“They put me on a course recently at the football stadium. It was three weeks. It was Monday to Thursday, Monday to Thursday, Monday to Thursday.. I told her [Ben’s jobcentre adviser] – what was the point of it? … I’m 58. This other chap [on the course] is 64. We said, “it’s pointless. We’re doing the same things that we did when we were on the careers scheme when we were children. We’ve all got CVs and we’ve all got the necessary letters and cover letters. All that was the same thing.”

Someone’s doing well out of these courses, but it isn’t the people who are forced to attend them.

Ben’s third beef was the meaningless online job applications that he had to make all week. He had to fill in and send five online applications each day. Like absolutely everyone I talk to at jobcentres, he never, ever heard back about any of these job applications.

I’ve written about this before. How many thousands and even millions of these never-to-be-read job applications are sent across the web each day? What sort of pervert gets off on making people dance this way every day for their measly Universal Credit or JSA?

Said Ben:

“I do five a day. I send five applications away a day, but it’s only clicking on…you’re getting away with it. If you get an application form, you’re going to spend ages on it and when you get to the end – [the application says] “references, please.” If you haven’t got those, it all folds up…it’s a waste of time, because they don’t get back to you. They receive it and that’s it. I’ve had no offers. I’ve only had these zero hours offers in security.”

I’m saying it again. This is twisted. Chills me in a way: this endless money and endless resource devoted to making sure that people get nowhere and go nowhere. It’s sick.

“I haven’t got anywhere,” Ben said. “I’m annoyed, though, that they there’s a lawless aspect in it.”


Here’s the full transcript:

Ben said:

“They’re [jobcentre advisers] are difficult when I often think that they might be breaking the law.

I’ve never liked that thinking that, because you’re in a position of vulnerability. They can sort of twist things and have it their own way, but I don’t see what can be done about it…

They put me on a course recently at the football stadium. It was three weeks. It was Monday to Thursday, Monday to Thursday, Monday to Thursday.. I told her [Ben’s jobcentre adviser] – what was the point of it? … I’m 58. This other chap [on the course] is 64. We said, “it’s pointless. We’re doing the same things that we did when we were on the careers scheme when we were children. We’ve all got CVs and we’ve all got the necessary letters and cover letters. All that was the same thing.

I mean…[we had to search for jobs] on little laptops like that that didn’t even work… and then when I’d done it, I don’t know when she’s going to say, “oh, do this and do that, do the other.” They’re just throwing people on the same course and they don’t like them…because you’re trying to get a job. I’m a security guard and you’re looking for…

The course at the football ground – CVs, letter writing, interview techniques… they showed you a video and told you when you did the wrong thing. It was that sort of business – all barriers, 15 barriers, things in the way to getting a job.., well of course there are barriers. I’ve been out for so long, so many years.

Nobody’s going to bother [with me] and they wouldn’t have it… it’s just sheer asinine, you know, for the sake of nothing and I’ve got other things to do. Some of them [people on benefits] do five hours [jobsearch each day] on the computer. Why do you come in here [to the jobcentre] just to do five hours jobsearch on the computers in here? Do it in the library. One guy here, he’s a glutton for punishment. I never use it [the computers] in here. I always do it on the phone, or in the library.

“I do five a day. I send five applications away a day, but it’s only clicking on…you’re getting away with it. If you get an application form, you’re going to spend ages on it and when you get to the end – [the application says] “references, please.” If you haven’t got those, it all folds up…it’s a waste of time, because they don’t get back to you. They receive it and that’s it. I’ve had no offers. I’ve only had these zero hours offers in security.

I’ve just had an accusation this morning. They sent me a…I have an [phone] interview… that’s the letter. It’s a compliance thing. I’ve been accused of working…and I haven’t, because that’s it there… and I said to her, well, I did three or four days with their basic pay, but when I got that I went in there [to the jobcentre] and I told them that’s what I’ve been paid and then they adjusted the benefits, so they know full well about that.

But this other company, I worked for them in August in the hospital for three days – three 12-hour days. They never paid me. I didn’t get slips or anything. They [the DWP] said, “Oh, you were working,” and I said, “I never got anything except a uniform they sent me and I got that.” They’re probably saying, “well, he’s got the uniform. We’re not going to pay him…”

They still sent me a payslip saying “uniform deducted” and so I couldn’t declare anything in there and so this [compliance accusation] has just come through today.

I told them that I’ve been absolutely honest with them and it’s despicable, because someone has just sort of written in and made the allegation. I’ve never all the years… I’ve been absolutely honest, so I don’t like the way it goes on. These compliance interviews. They seem to increase…it’s more coming through…

She didn’t ask for the bank statements this time, because it was on the telephone. She [the DWP compliance officer who rang] didn’t ask for the bank statements, or how much have you got.

I said, “I haven’t earned anything. If they didn’t pay me, they didn’t pay me.” How can I prove that you know unless I showed them the bank statement and there wouldn’t be anything in there. So, it’s ridiculous.

The other thing I don’t like is the fact that you do this little bit of work and it throws everything out, because you’re going up to the housing benefit, you’re coming in here [to the jobcentre], they’re sending you more paperwork – “we’re taking it away for two weeks… all goes back again.”

It’s mentally distressing. There’s no regularity with anything. If you just got the benefits all the time that let you work a couple of days on top of what you get and then with all your bills… when you get that zero hours situations, they’re all zero hours.

I haven’t been offered anything else five days a week, or anything like that, so it’s a failure. It’s all right for people who are married and the wife works. You can go out and do any job you want whenever it arises. A lot of it is seasonal now – the festivals and security for that…

Oh a long, long time [since I worked consistently]… I did a year in a shop as a supervisor was all I did, but that was a minimum contract of 6 hours – a Sunday supervisor. That was only extended, because the managers in other shops weren’t there. I went in and filled in for the week, so one week I did three days, but it was generally just a Sunday supervisor’s role. So I did that for a year, but before that, oh, it goes back donkey’s years. I haven’t done anything for a long, long time, but I’ve always lived on it what they have given me until this silly accusation.

I think when they’re trying to get you to work… you say, “Oh, it’s worse. I might as well stay on benefit…” you feel worse it’s more of a trauma [to work] and it is. You don’t get the security. I said to the manager of this firm, I said, “well, I’ve got to pay £145 a month in water, gas, electric, telephone, mobile – and everything like that has got to go out.” They said, “thanks for being honest with me.”

I got [my security guard badge] for nothing, because I did it through a Manchester firm. They said if I did a two weeks course before it… they’ve changed the rules about it now. It’s not five days. It’s three weeks and the first two weeks are not the door supervisor role. They’re customer service, fire safety handling, all these certificates. You get ten certificates and then you do your door supervisor’s week and you get that certificate, your conflict management certificate. The badge was free, but it’s £220. It only lasts three years and then it’s another £220…

The old one had a chip in there like a credit card, so it’s actually some kind of biometric now. They have changed the way… you can’t forge it now. I got it free, but when that expires, I’ll have to pay it…this time for another 3 years, but why when I’m not earning anything…

[With security jobs] it’s easier, because it’s more straightforward to send through without filling out masses of forms. If they’re keen on you, they’ll just send you a form and you put some details in, put your badge in and upload your badge and everything and that’s more or less it. You do an interview and if they like you, that’s it, so it is easier, but some of these proper jobs, 5 days a week, it’s all this rubbish of filling in everything that you’ve already filled in so many times.

I feel really that they should interview people first and then fill in the application, because it is all so pointless.

I think they have a sort of template that selects out… and it throws out [the rest]… Marks & Spencer have a thousand [job applications] a week. It’s totally pointless. They closed Marks & Spencer here [in Stockport]. They’ve closed everything – Toys R Us and then in there [in the jobcentre] they’re saying, you know, “try to get into retail.”

I tried everything. I’ve got the food hygiene certificate. I did it just over there in that building, but it was last November…[the jobcentre said] “you have to do courses now.” I must do English Level 2. I must do a warehouse course certificate. I must do hygiene. So I went in and I did all three, but the hygiene certificate [is pointless]. I have no catering experience, so when I send it off [applications for catering jobs] I know that they’re not going to reply

If it doesn’t say chef or something that relates to food, they just kick you out.

I haven’t got anywhere. I’m annoyed, though, that they there’s a lawless aspect in it.”

53 thoughts on “Working for nothing, accused of fraud, sent on unchanging CV courses: owned by the DWP when you’re older and unemployed

  1. I sympathize with ‘Ben’, I’ve never been in a Compliance situation that I can think of but I am a late 50s longterm unemployed man and I certainly know how it feels to be owned by the DWP, never left alone and constantly badgered either into applying for irrelevant unsuitable jobs or into endlessly doing pointless courses for the sake of it. The Department for Worry & Persecution wants to own your Soul. Still, at least we now have a Suicide Minister so that’s alright then.

  2. How this resonates with me! The complete and utter pointlessness of it all. I’m not claiming at present, but it’s quite possible that I will have to in the not too distant future, as unless I’m extremely fortunate, my age will count against me. It seems that Ben is still on the ‘legacy’ JSA, as he mentions having to visit the council to report change of circumstances due to temporary work. Given that, what he is experiencing from the DWP is indeed horrendous, and one only shudders to think what the situation would be if he were on UC.

    I was recently chatting with some acquaintances about the 35 hour job search requirement, which they thought totally ridiculous, and how this was going to affect people in work from next year, (relevant in this context as we were in the pub post Cardiff’s strike by TGI Friday’s, Wetherspoons, Uber, Deliveroo and McDonald’s workers for a £10 an hour minimum wage for the indoor workers, and a £5 per deilvery plus £1 a mile for the courier workers, who are likely to be profoundly affected by this phase of UC). AS we were discussing, it became apparent that the DWP has effectively no certain means to check the veracity of claimants’ worksearches, as, with the demise of Universal Jobmatch, mainly because it wasn’t GPDR compliant, and its replacement with Find a Job, which doesn’t allow DWP advisor access, (AFAIK) and the medium of reporting is still entirely up to the claimant. 35 hours is such a ridiculous amount, and anyway, could really only be justifiable if the amount of benefit matched the basic minimum wage.

    Ben also makes some very valuable comments about the job application process, and how it is all paperwork, with application forms that often include some bizarre forms of assessment. Whilst this might be justified in a minority of jobs, for the vast majority i suspect that the only reason these questions are included is to justify the existence of HR departments. Ben, like me, is old enough to remember an age when having to complete an application form was a rarity, and basically all one had to do was to contact the firm advertising the job, arrange an interview, and as often as not, an immediate decision was made one way or the other, with it being a norm to start on a month’s trial, (but unlike today, that was waged!). If, at the end of the month either side was unhappy, there was an amicable partition, and no serious sanction if it was the worker who decided to leave – I think there was a delay of about a fortnight instead of three days before a claim could be made – and I think even then, in cases of extreme need, Supplementary Benefit could be paid, but most didn’t bother – and even if Unemployment benefit were claimed, like as not you’d be back in work, before the claim was sorted out, as no-one seemed to spend that long as a claimant unless they really tried as there was just so much work about. Things didn’t really start to get bad until Thatcher, and that infamous poster with claims that ‘Labour isn’t working’ in reality referred to an unemployment level of about 1.5 million, so probably significantly less than now, but based on far more accurate means of counting the unemployed – under the Tories the way that unemployment figures were arrived at changed no less than 29 times between 1979 and 1989! It’s also quite important to remember that the Tories under Thatcher were encouraging doctors to sign people onto Incapacity Benefit so that they wouldn’t show up in the unemployment stats, totally contrary to what the Tories are doing now, which is attempting to scapegoat the sick and disabled for the 2008 financial crash.

    I don’t know about anyone else, but I have been struck recently how the political class is all of a sudden now taking a real interest in Universal Credit, with Gordon Brown calling for its reform, and John McDonell calling for its abolition and replacing with something different. There is also the disgusting show of the PCS calling for the abolition of UC, but that just rings hollow for me, as it is PCS members who have been at the forefront of implementing the inhuman conditionality of UC and of being responsible for the sanctioning of millions of JSA claimants. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t welcome these calls for the abolition of UC, but I do think we need to remind both the politicians and the PCS that ordinary unemployed people are human too, and whilst it is certainly unconscionable to enforce increased child poverty, it needs to be recognised that poverty is good for no-one, and where were they when single people were being severely negatively affected by sanctions and a ridiculous conditionality regime? John Major is claiming that UC could be May’s equivalent of the Poll Tax which could lead to social unrest next summer when UC starts to be rolled out to families and those in work who will be up to £2400 a year worse off. Owen Jones in the Guardian is calling for a nationwide anti Universal Credit movement, but whilst I’m in favour of this, I’d advise that lessons be learned from the basic failure of the Poll Tax movement, which succeeded in getting rid of Thatcher, but not really in removing the Poll Tax, as in reality Councll Tax isn’t a lot different – it should, in my view, have been replaced with a local income tax. If we are going to have this big national movement, I’d suggest that it is ensured that the SWP or Trots in general aren’t allowed to hijack the movement, and that it remains a grass-roots and fundamentally democratic movement that crucially works out at the outset the kind of benefits system it wants to replace Universal Credit, and not allow ourselves to be fobbed off with something like Universal Credit Light, which is what we’re quite likely to get unless that outcome is seriously challenged.

    It’s just worrying that the likes of the political class and the PCS are only now starting to be concerned about the iniquitous nature of UC.

    • It is interesting, this late concern about UC – I’m guessing that one reason is because Labour and others can finally see the shitstorm coming when people who receive tax credits are moved to UC.

      PCS has been hopeless from beginning to end if you ask me. That includes pre-UC rollout on sanctions with JSA, ESA etc. They should have backed their members (financially as well as in the ideological sense) to refuse to implement sanctions. They didn’t and so there hasn’t been much of a precedent set for refusing to implement UC. Total mess. The big unions have a lot of answer for re: austerity cuts, at DWP and councils. They should have backed their members to refuse to comply.

      • I couldn’t agree more, however, this lack of solidarity from the mainstream unions isn’t anything new. Go back to the 1920s and 1930s and the story is remarkably similar. I recently read online about the unemployed workers movement in those times, and then, as now, the mainstream unions more or less ignored the unemployed. The unions also hardly made a murmur about the concentration camps for the unemployed set up in the 30s, and operated under a Labour government! (Source: ‘British Concentration Camps – A Brief History 1900 – 1975. Webb, S. Pen & Sword, Barnsley 2016) Even the smaller unions aren’t much better when it comes to the unemployed, though the IWW does consider the unemployed members as full members, which is more than can be said about Unite Community. Whilst I was still a member of the IWW some three or so years ago, I expressly set it up as a claimants’ union rather than as just a union for the unemployed, as it was plain to me that UC was going to include all those that were at the time claiming Tax Credits, and I guessed that there wouldn’t be much traction on UC until those in work started to be seriously affected, and they would likely be in complete shock and close to meltdown as these people are the ‘strivers’ in Tory parlance, who woudln’t have a clue what had hit them. The unemployed, bless them, aren’t always the easiest of people to organise.

        By my reckoning, if I could see the way things were going to shape up, and let’s face it, it was never a well kept secret what IDS intended for anyone claiming any kind of benefit, then it should have been crystal clear to all politicians. Not two years ago, Labour largely abstained over a vote on UC, merely suggesting that it be reviewed. Owen Jones was incandescent in his condemnation at the time, and fair play to him, he is at present making a call to arms over UC, even to the extent of claiming it is more of an important issue than Brexit – which is yet another shit storm. He’s likening it to the Poll Tax, but if it is to be of such magnitude, I hope lessons have been learned from that campaign, and not accepting being fobbed off with the equivalent of the Council Tax. Claimants need to have a voice in suggesting what a replacement for UC is, and be proactive rather than just accepting what the governing class decide is appropriate. Apart from that, the only note of caution I’d suggest is that any legitimate, grass roots claimants’ group that sets themselves up be wary of being infiltrated by sects of the hard left, as they will just want to use the campaign for their own entirely cynical ends – just as they did with the Poll Tax.

        On a slight aside, I was clearing through a box of old photographs earlier, and came across a leaflet giving the rates paid for JSA for 1996, which was £47.90 for someone over 25, which, adjusted for inflation comes to a sum of £87.77, nearly £14 more than the current rate. Quite a difference. The Tories in the 90s were bastards, but seemingly a bit more generous bastards!

        • Even back in 83 under Tha tcher there was the Community Enterprise Programme(CEP), you worked 4 days a week, go t double your dole and didn’t have to sign on or any jobsearch/applications & r had never heard of a “CV” !

          In ninety …95 I did something called TrainingFor Work, didnt have to sign on or apply for jobs and got an extra tenner aweek.

          • Yeah, I did a couple of stints on the Community Programme, working on archaological digs in West Wales. As a result of that I decided I wanted to go to college, and that is what I did. As I didn’t have any formal qualifications, (well I had a history O level that I got at night school) I applied and got a place at Coleg Harlech, (now sadly closed) and then on to university. Not sure it did me any good, but immediately after uni I was briefly unemployed before taking up a place on a TfW scheme that was an urban historical geography project in the centre of Cardiff. I then got a pretty well paid job which was okay, but really quite boring.

          • I wish I’d have done Archaeology, always interested me, but I enjoyed my time at Art College.

    • They’re only starting to show interest now for Political reasons because it’s about to affect the working masses, the ‘hard-working’ mugs who vote, they don’t really give a shit about the Underclass. Labour won’t really scrap it anyway, they’ll alter it a bit and call it by another name – New Credit or New Universal Benefit or something. I’m beginning to hate the word ‘Universal’, why not call it Multiversal or Intergalactic Credit? Or Global Credit, National Credit. Semantics. We’ll still get shafted, we always do. Universally Shafted.

      Regarding Find A Job, my previous (until very recently) JCP Adviser DID once look at my Find A Job account, at an application I had made, and was able to see what I had put in the application, somehow, I don’t know how because I never granted them any permission to view it or gave them my password.

    • yes, I picked up on that little telling phrase myself; “…in its current form”. Says it all. They’re not scrapping anything, the PWE prevails and Hegelian Synthesis nears completion. There is no Left and Right, just us and them. Plato warned us of Democracy’s imperfections but we didn’t listen. Perhaps we really are all chained up in a cave, mistaking shadows for Reality. May as well be.

      • Indeed. People are informing me that the “uncertainty” is of course the result of the party’s centrists and their refusal to get behind the notion of scrapping UC. Perhaps. I also suspect they’ve done their own polling since McDonnell’s announcement and not liked what they found.

        They want to be in power and will jettison anyone to get there.

        • Could be. Bloody neoliberals. I think I preferred it when Left & Right were diametrically opposed, you knew where you were then, now the lines are getting too blurred and any hopes of advancement in our favour are frustrated and dashed.

          • Well, I can’t say that I’m too surprised about this, though of course dismayed. However, let’s look on the bright side, as this is when the insurrectionary politics of taking to the streets, al la Poll Tax comes in. None of them can say they weren’t warned, as we have Brown from Labour and Major from the Tories basically saying the same thing. These are very moderate polticians not given to hyperbole, so anyone ignoring what they say deserves everything they get. The announcement ‘clarifying’ Labour’s position has already enraged two of the disabled groups, and I’m guessing the so called strivers are still in blissful ignorance. probably still under the illusion that it isn’t going to affect them.

            All we need is the names of those neo-liberals in Labour and we can start to persuafe them of the error of their ways. It’s not as if we have that much to lose now, and a good strategy for those groups close to Labour would be to threaten to withhold their votes, and publish this widely.

            There are quite a few million disabled people, certainly enough to make a government, or dash their chances. Those groups, plus the many millions of newly disgruntled workers on low wages shifted onto UC with cionditionality add up to a pretty persuasive force. Even it we get another Tory government, UC could still be a cause we can win, as it will just be too hot potato. Labour could well have just shot themselves in the foot.

  3. I turned 50 this year and am long-term unemployed. These pointless courses run by the DWP, or for the DWP by a private company are a complete waste of time and money. I’ve been on a fair few, and you are treated like an idiot, a scrounger or like you are 6 years old. I’ve been shown how to write ‘the CV that will get you that job’ about 60 times and they’re all different, worst place I went to was in a town near to me, this was on the Governments ‘Work Programme’. After my 2 week induction, I was called in twice a week to see an ‘advisor’ for about ten minutes, this went on for almost 2 years.In the end my advisor on the WP finished my ‘sentence’ 6 weeks early, as she felt she couldn’t help me any more, because I kept refusing to go and work in big supermarkets and Pound shops for nothing.

    • Hey the same thing happened to me too! Was finished off the Work Programme 6 weeks early, they couldn’t wait to get rid of me cos I kept forwarding all my job application confirmation emails to my work coach en masse at the end of each week and filling her inbox, and they had realized by then that there was nothing they could do with me. Then after that I got sent on Mandatory Work Activity for 4 weeks. And so it continues…Community Work Programme (kicked off that straight away), put on Skills Conditionality for 2 months with a 4 weeks unpaid work placement at Pets At Home (in another town, took one&half hours to get there), then Work Experience at Oxfam for another couple months, then sent to Learndirect for ECDL course, then sent to another city for Manual Handling Certificate, then they started on about the Work & Health Programme, I refused and got badgered onto the Right Steps To Work scheme instead for 12 months… never ends. And I do voluntary work anyway of my own accord but the Jobcentre aren’t interested in that.

      • I recently got myself some voluntary work at a local museum, when I told the ‘work coach’ signing me on last month, I was subjected to a long barrage of statements like ‘well you have to keep looking for paid work’. It was only the previous signing on session the same woman had told me how volunteering would boost my employment chances.

        • Exac6rly…phones playing up!….Exactly, tha t’s what I encountered too. First encouraged, then warned. There’s no pleasing them. They’ve also asked me more than once if i t will lead to paid employment, it’s a foodbank!

  4. A 61 year old man I know who has been unemployed for a few years just told me that the Jobcentre have said something to him about doing (mandatory) “Intensive Jobsearch” for one month. He was a bricklayer for 32 years until a hand injury that never fully recovered, along with advancing years, put an end to that line of work.

    • It’s digusting isn’t it Trev? At 61 we should be retired and claiming our pensions, as the country can easily afford it. And anyway, getting us old gits out of the way would give the young ‘uns more of a chance! Us older people could then concentrate on doing the kind of stuff that needs doing in society, but that capitalists can’t make a profit from, so it doesn’t get done.

      • Yep, true. And in this case it’s hard to see what job he could do, all he’s been usedto is building sites, no admin or customer service skills/experience, not suited to Office/Retail, unable to grip things properlywith left hand. Intensive Jobsearch would be pointless for him. He has a bad back too.

        • Wow, just ran a search on Find A Job for jobs posted in last 24 hours within 10 miles of my town (with irrelevant words excluded in the Advanced Search box) and it returned “No Results Found” ! I repeated the search with no exclusions and it returned 10 jobs, mostly Drivers (I don’t have a Driving Licence). So what is the point of making people do ‘Intensive Jobsearch’ ?

          • That’s it trev the job JCP find-a-job site is a con as was it’s predecessor, the name escapes me, I would do a search on there and put within 5 miles knowing full well that it should find only jobs in one village but it always came back with 100 plus jobs as far away as Halifax and Sunderland, now if that was within 5 miles of Micklefield I’ll buy the whole internet a drink. the find-a-job site is as much a scam as its predecessor, filled with agency work.

      • @Padi,
        One of my cousins, a really nasty piece of work who never ceased to criticise me when I was out of work, worked for the DWP for twenty years, and retired last year aged 56!
        How the hell can he have the front to criticise people who are older than him.
        This latest article from Kate, has really hammered home to me what a nasty bunch of psycopaths the DWP are.

  5. I even know a 64 year old bloke who’s just been badgered into enrolling on the ‘Right Steps To Work’ course! They’re clearly now scraping the Welfare-to-Work barrel and milking what’s left of the EU Social Fund under the tickbox guise of “helping” people back to work, work that doesn’t exist and work they can’t do. The Emperor’s new clothes have been taken to the cleaners, washed and ironed.

      • Hopefully things might be different under a proper Leftwing Labour government lead by Corbyn & McD. if they can keep the Rightwinger “Centrists” at bay. And look at how many Benefits related deaths there have been under the Tory regime, poverty has increased, so has homelessness,and foodbank use, whilst the richest people have seen a threefold increase in wealth. The Tories are Public Enemy Number One as far as I am concerened. I just wish Labour would get their act together and renew my faith in Socialism.

      • Don’t forget too that the Tories have frozen JSA for 4 years, and under them we’ve been forced to pay some Council Tax out of our dole, effectively another cut. Then there’s the bedroom tax, and cuts to housing benefit for young adults. Theyve privatized Royal Mail, The NHS is in crisis, Policing underfunded, Council services run on a shoestring, Library closures, etc. The list goes on. They’ve got to go.

  6. I do sometimes wonder if the staff from these ‘Learning Providers’ are not falling about about in their offices, helpless with laughter, as soon as their ‘clients’ have left the room.
    We have a course locally run by two Neuro-Linguistic Programming practitioners.
    ( NLP is nothing more than pseudo-science, and has been widely condemned by the scientific community ).
    The employabilty course includes a session where the unemployed claimants sit in a semi-circle facing the two staff members giving the course. Each unemployed person wears a name-badge. One by one, they have to rise, turn to face the group of other unemployed people and introduce themselves, and say why they think they are unemployed.
    So something like: ‘’Hello I’m John, age 59, and I’ve been unemployed for 5 years since they closed the local factory. I do try to find work, but what with my age and the time I’ve been out of a job, it’s been very hard….’’ You get the idea. Then the other claimants in the group are asked why they think John still hasn’t got a job. And what they think he could do about it.
    It’s strangely like the group-criticism sessions of the Chinese Communist Party under Chairman Mao Tse-Tung. Turning the unemployed against each other. Paying no regard to the facts of structural unemployment, the limited market opportunities, and the realities of jobseeking at this age. Instead John will be told that if only he can ‘change his attitude he can change his life.’ This is apparently the Golden Rule, (and one of the many secrets of life that you have the opportunity of learning on this course ). Along with ‘ It’s not what you don’t do that counts, it’s what you do’. These priceless gems of wisdom and others, are continually repeated. It is pure Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, so beloved of the DWP. Putting the fault for unemployment firmly back with the claimant, a question simply of attitude. And deliberately ignoring the actual reasons for unemployment. And the genuine difficulties of the situation.
    But let’s face it, if you were getting £412 per claimant in groups of ten, for putting out stuff like this, wouldn’t you be laughing ?

    • Jeeeesus fucking God Jeff seriously if it ever came to me having to attend one of those meetings then I or they would be stuffed.

      Just having to put a name badge on would push me over the edge never mind the psychobabble claptrap they would try to spout.

      I have this crazy mad mental health issue where individual freedom and the right to be is paramount and any pressure to change should be resisted at any cost.

      When I tell people my CV has probably cost the state £5K they look at me gone out.

      • I wouldn’t be able to participate in that scenario either. I’d be likely to lose it and storm out of there, or just refuse to do it in the first place. But f if I did have to stand up and qualify my existence I might say somethin along the lines of “I am either blessed or crsed with an acute awareness of the illusory nature of physical Reality”, or perhaps simply say/state that I have an untreatable mental disorder. Or I might just have said “mind your own fucking business”.

      • How did your signing go today Mr Chimp? Mine was a breeze, not that much different to how it used be 40 yrs ago, not asked any tricky questions or grilled in any way, not asked for jobsearch evidence, just signed on paper not the electronic pad then given my next appointment time and that was it! Done! Now all I have to do is last out to Friday…

        • I think there is a softening of the regime everywhere trev which helps with the stress and yep it does feel a bit like the old days of supplementary benefit when its like that.

          I had to explain again to the new work coach who told me I had to write my jobs search down the rules for actively seeking employment and 3 steps per week or less in certain circumstances and why I do not write it down as it easy just say conversation one human being to another.

          They not need every excruciating detail its not a trial, I should be believed unless I say something contradictory or highly improbable.

          They just snorted and signed me on.

          The regular work coach I was supposed to see for the first time was off ill so still yet to see my new work coach but I think I know who they are now, I got the name and they were OK last time I met.

          Found out today from 2 work coaches that they have reduced the time for staff training on UC to only 2 weeks previously it was 3, this explains in some part why it so easy to gain more knowledge than they have, and why maladministration is rife and folk suffer.
          Job centre today was chaos never seen it so full and this place is big.
          Queues out of the door, nowhere to sit to so security moved everyone standing to other areas of the building then work coaches running around like headless chickens trying to find claimants.

          Good news for me is I have been excused from signing until the 13/11/2019 due to the fact they cannot refer me to a 3rd party provider instead, as the office is closed.

          4 times in the last year I have been excused from signing on for various reasons, never known a jobcentre to do that and shows how much they are struggling internally.
          Staff workload was 70 odd claimants per week and that is increasing slowly to 350 claimants per week so they do not have the time to do much when they do see us.

          • It’s all starting to collapse by the looks ofthings.II don’t even have a specific workcoach anymore. All the money they mus t have wasted over the years on running jobcentres and punishin bullying people, mus t run to Billions, and all to no avail, unemployment still exists, I’m still alive, and still ge t ting my dole. They might as well have not bothered.

          • £100s of billions been wasted on UC and will be throwing more at it I reckon when they announce the next budget pause it again further delaying the roll out.

            £200 million each year wasted administering the sanction regime a figure far bigger than the money they claw back with adverse decisions.

            A Government department with the highest sick rate and staff turnover.

            They seem very bad at this world of they keep banging on about.

  7. I sympathise with Ben I am only a few years younger. I learned a long time ago to be as aggressive with them as they are with me.
    When I was signing on they sent me on one course after another some of them I refused to go after the first visit as the travel costs far outweighed the remuneration for attending. I learned quickly to record my first day there at least, and if I was told I was to be sanctioned I would send the manager of the job centre an email with a copy of the recording telling them to go to a certain part of the file to hear that the people there were told not to attend if they didn’t want to learn something new, or words similar. All the ones I did attend they paid more than I spent on petrol attending. They started within a couple of weeks of me moving to the area, and those don’t turn up phrases were some of the first words out of their mouths, I think they said that to try and get people sanctioned but I was wise to it and recorded.
    They tried and tried but each time I got the better of the job centre, so they tried other things like I failed to attend and was sent a letter or they handed me a letter. I just asked them for a watermarked copy with proof of postage and receipt or video or photo evidence from the security cameras of me been given the open letter. They tried the we posted it on date BS and the it is up to you to ask the building owner (Telereal Trillium) for the evidence. I immediately told them I would take it to court and ask them if they provided me with evidence of been handed the letter when they were asked for it, they backed down both times! They even mentioned not looking for enough jobs, but I asked in an SAR for a full and complete list of jobs available for a person with my qualifications, either I was lucky or they thought oh not him again! We better not sanction him.
    The burden of proof always lies with the DWP and job centre, fight and you will win accept their lies and you will be in for a whipping time after time from the DWP/JCP.

    • Yep benefit freezes are having a massive impact more so I believe for the likes of me and you trev. No one to share bills or fall back with any other form of income.

      Problem is we live in a democracy and our voices are drowned out because we are in a minority and labours for the many not the few reminds me of that fact although not intended.

      Lots of voices to stop/pause Universal credit very few calling for an end to benefit sanctions or benefit freezes.

      • Divide & Rule? Maybe that’s one for Ken Loach to tackle, or Bleasdale? I think it’s important that events like Peterloo aren’t forgotten though. There was a similar less known event in Huddersfield too in the 19th century, when a crowd of protesters were charged by the Cavalry at Folly Hall. Then there was also the Lister’s Mill strike in Bradford that ultimately lead to the foundation of the Labour Party after striking Mill workers were forced back to work at gunpoint in 1891. We should have a Remembrance Day for the Class War, lest we forget.

  8. The DWP won’t stop this, or any of their staff who have absorbed the relentless
    in-house ‘we are on a mission’ propaganda. They see Universal Credit as ushering in a whole new era of wonderful employment. Proud parents working, kids in warm homes, with smiling faces and tables full of delicious food. Communities revitalised by the God-given power of work. The young, the old, the disabled, all striving together to build a wonderful future.
    What they won’t admit, is the misery and poverty their destructive policies have caused.
    The hunger, despair and homelessness. The real truth is that the so-called increased employment figures they are so proud of, are based on exploitive, low-paid zero-hour contracts, part-time work, and forced workfare.

    • It’s all very reminiscent of Nazi propaganda. By next year though, with UC and Brexit, it’ll resemble that old John Heartfield AIZ cover “The Butter is All Gone” !

  9. Pingback: DWP: we don’t want you studying or improving your life. We want you in low paid work forever | Kate Belgrave

  10. Over-50s who lose jobs much more likely to stay unemployed, study finds

    Amelia Hill

    the Guardian

    Older people more than twice as likely to be unemployed for two years or longer if they lose job

    People aged over 50 who lose their jobs are significantly more likely to suffer long-term unemployment than other age groups, analysis has revealed.”

    State pension age has now risen to 66: Should people be allowed to draw state pension early but receive smaller payouts?

    State Pension Age hits 66 – isn’t it time to consider allowing early access for those who desperately need it?

     September 30, 2020

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