Is this really what people want?

(294 Posts)
mcmooncup Wed 17-Oct-12 21:00:04

I don't post much on the threads about benefits but here goes......I'm going to start.

I have a company that works in the Work Programme with long-term unemployed people. Over the last few weeks / month I have seen a dramatic shift in the provision of benefits.

Many many many many more people are being sanctioned (i.e. their benefits are being taken away from them) for missing an appointment, calling in sick for an appointment or not filling in forms correctly.

If you make a mistake with ANY of these 'obligations' under the Jobseekers allowance contract, you, from Monday, can have your benefits taken away for 3 months for the first offence, 6 months for the second and 3 years for the third.

So, I can recount a few stories for you:
Severely dyslexic man provides his job log sheet to the jobcentre and has filled out as much as he can. The jobcentre is not happy with this and sanctions him, probably for 3 months. His response....."I'm going to go homeless, I can't stand this anymore"

Man goes to an interview for a job instead of turning up for an appointment with his WP provider, called in to tell them this. Sanctioned for 2 weeks for not turning up for the appointment. Message was never passed on, and despite phone records showing he called, he was still sanctioned.

Man sanctioned for 6 months for missing an appointment because he was poorly. He is a single parent. He is thinking of suicide.

Is this really what people want?

Homelessness? Suicide?

Do people really think it motivates people to get a job? Because to believe that you have to believe that people like being on benefits, I guess?

What am I missing?

VolumeOfACone Sun 21-Oct-12 09:58:09

My young sister is working for £2.60 an hour on one of these apprentice schemes. She supports herself, is not at home with parents, hence she's living in a horrible mouldy shared room in a flat with no heating, and no cooker. Now it's getting to winter sometimes when I ring her she cries because she's so cold. She can't even have a hot dinner.

VolumeOfACone Sun 21-Oct-12 10:00:08

I've got one of those plug in oil radiator things but I don't want to give it to her because she won't be able to pay for the bills, they're so expensive.

Xenia Sun 21-Oct-12 10:15:45

Why can't she live with a relative or you?

Solopower1 Sun 21-Oct-12 10:18:37

Xenia - why should she have to??

If a person is working for £2.60 an hour, how many options do you think she has? Feel very sorry for her, Volume, and angry on her behalf.

Xenia Sun 21-Oct-12 12:11:08

As a nation we have never been able to afford for young people to be set up by the state in their own place even renting a room in a house. The apprenticeship gives people a chance to make something of themselves.

I think we need a massive shift from state responsibility to family responsibility. As we can afford nothing else it is likely to happen anyway.

VolumeOfACone Sun 21-Oct-12 12:13:42

I have asked her to move in with middle aged me, my middle aged husband and our small child and our marriage problems (appealing or what?), to sleep on our living room sofa, and commute two hours to this job thing.
But when she moved for the job, she borrowed money to pay the deposit for an 18 month lease, which she'd lose, so she's stuck really. She wanted to do it all by herself anyway, she was trying to do it properly. Be independent.
I didn't know landlords could get away with being so awful these days, even to those who can hardly pay anything. It isn't right, and I don't think it's right to expect people to live on less than minimum wage either. sad

AmberLeaf Sun 21-Oct-12 12:17:33

What about people that don't have family support Xenia?

Xenia Sun 21-Oct-12 12:26:58

We all have parents and some relatives. I am not saying have no where for anyone to go but if the general obligation were as I think in Scotland and much of the rest of the EU your parents have a legal obligation to support you that might help us a bit out of the current mess.

The minimum wage for the very young does not exist and then for under various ages it is a veyr low sum mostly because they tend to be living with parents. Even those of university age tedn to be living with parents in university holidays.

SaskiaRembrandtVampireHunter Sun 21-Oct-12 12:35:53

I think this might be the apprenticeship scheme Xenia is talking about.

What they are offering are not apprenticeships. Some of my DS' friends are doing/have done apprenticeships. They last several years, involve learning real skills (plumbers, electricians, mechanics, computer technicians) and at the end the apprentice has a real, recognised qualification.

What is being offered at these nursing homes is 6 weeks of cheap labour. The only ones who benefit are the owners; the young people gain nothing, and the people who live in the homes are being cared for by staff who have no interest in being there - I wouldn't want my mother to be treated like that!

Solopower1 Sun 21-Oct-12 12:46:36

Volume, you don't have to justify your/your sister's decisions to Xenia. Although maybe she does need educating.

<Still angry at such blind indifference/wilful ignorance of what some people's lives are like.>

What is the State for, Xenia? I thought it was to work in the best interests of all the people - not just some. It can't just bow out completely, because the way things are set up at the moment, the big boys would just flatten us all.

If you want to get rid of the State, you need to do it in stages: 1) Educate people that sharing what they've got is a win-win situation. All for one and one for all. 2) Once you have a level playing field (and we all have exactly the same amount of everything), you need to educate people about their responsibilities. 3) Once you've done that, you need to eliminate all illnesses and accidents. 4) Finally, genetically modify human beings to make them more caring and sharing and less selfish, oh, and all the same.

So only once we are clones of each other can we reasonably be expected to have the same life's chances.

This must be the Tories ultimate goal, since it's the only logical outcome of removing the State. Weird, isn't it?

Of course there might be a secret plan. Maybe, just maybe, they don't actually want things to be fair.

Leithlurker Sun 21-Oct-12 12:47:07

Xenia you really do need to put a bit more thought in to this (fairy) land of yours For example these "other" family members that are to be found. Would you penalise them if they did not take on the care? How would that work? How far away should these family be before they are discounted, next city, other end of the country, different continent?

If the old person has friends, social life, hobbies, other responsibilities, and does not want to move away, do they get forced? If you as a grand daughter go off and have your own family, work, house, other costs involved in supporting your family, and paying your taxes. What would you do to find your the last relative left standing and are now to be responsible for the care of an adult? I suspect part of the answer would need to be cut back on your work so putting the rest of your family plus your responsibilities at risk.

Xenia Sun 21-Oct-12 15:42:41

I am just saying we cannot afford the current system and care by family members has been the default in just about every culture. I believe even in Scotland there is a legal obligation to support adult children up to a certain age.

MiniTheMinx Sun 21-Oct-12 17:50:02

Hasn't Duncan Smith said to get on your bike to go where the work is. Well I live where the work is and there is not enough housing, it is also extremely expensive and with caps on housing benefit it will be very difficult for unemployed people to relocate here in order to find work. What is more, not all young people want to move miles away from their families and support net work and so moving north to south is not the answer.

Then we have young people who do want to move to take up work and then they are told no HB and work for 6 weeks for less than minimum wage.

I do wish these muddled up Torries (and Xenia for that matter) would get a grip and realise that none of their policies are coherent or joined up.

Lilylightfoot Sun 21-Oct-12 20:59:33

We had to move with my DH's job.So when my Ddad ill I was not there to help my DM.then when DM was ill I was still a 150 miles away so again I was little help 'On your bike' all very well but it dis brake up familys

stargirl1701 Sun 21-Oct-12 21:07:09

If you don't vote you won't be courted by politicians. You want change - vote for it.

niceguy2 Mon 22-Oct-12 09:04:06

...I thought it was to work in the best interests of all the people

Yes except 'best interests' is subjective.

Your interpretation is that we should share the money in the country around fairly and ensure the poor/disabled are looked after. If the world was as simple as that and that statement could stand alone then I'd be right behind you.

But the world we live in is complicated. In order to 'share' the money, we have to have money in the first place. And clearly when our deficit is so large we don't. Despite a crackdown on tax avoidance and tax rises we're still borrowing £120 billion per year.

So...do we look at the short term, stick our heads in the sand and keep borrowing?

Or do we look longer term and accept that if we live within our means that more people can be looked after for longer?

You only have to look at Greece to see what happens when a government just keeps borrowing regardless of ability to repay that debt.

MiniTheMinx Mon 22-Oct-12 11:00:41

But the world we live in is complicated. In order to 'share' the money, we have to have money in the first place What about if we had NO money?

We could share equally all resources and commodities far easier than sharing money! The reason for this is that money is both a commodity and the exchange medium between all other commodities. It is precisely because we have more that we can never hope to even come close to equality or even providing half the globe with a life worth living.

Xenia Mon 22-Oct-12 13:00:28

The more you tax the rich the less is available for the poor they have found so I expect the poor would rather like the rich to be taxed at say 20% so they can enjoy their benefits as now. That is the perverse effect of high tax rates.

Also most people wouldn't work at all if they didn't have to so simply doling it out like sweets never does those who are choosing not to work but could much good.

ttosca Mon 22-Oct-12 15:21:34

'nice'guy-

But the world we live in is complicated. In order to 'share' the money, we have to have money in the first place. And clearly when our deficit is so large we don't. Despite a crackdown on tax avoidance and tax rises we're still borrowing £120 billion per year.

Please quote your source for £120 billion. Whatever the figure, the larger amount is the current deficit, not the structural deficit. The current deficit is the amount we're paying now because we're in the midst of a recession, and tax receipts are drastically reduced.

Secondly, the Tory scum are not cracking down on tax avoidance. In fact, they're doing the opposite, as they have reduced funding for 'HM'RC.

So...do we look at the short term, stick our heads in the sand and keep borrowing?

We invest in infrastructure and create jobs, thereby bringing us out of recession. Bleeding the patient is not a cure. It makes the patient weaker.

Or do we look longer term and accept that if we live within our means that more people can be looked after for longer?

The goal of this government is not to 'live within our means', as we can already see that the drastic cuts are harming the economy and thereby increasing spending. The goal is to reduce the size of the state.

If the UK actively and aggressively went after tax avoidance, it could collect tens of billions of pounds annually in revenue. We can start by doing that before removing disability living allowance which is killing disabled people.

You only have to look at Greece to see what happens when a government just keeps borrowing regardless of ability to repay that debt.

The UK is nothing like Greece in either debt or deficit. The two are not comparable in the least.

ttosca Mon 22-Oct-12 15:26:22

Xenia-

The more you tax the rich the less is available for the poor they have found so I expect the poor would rather like the rich to be taxed at say 20% so they can enjoy their benefits as now. That is the perverse effect of high tax rates.

What absolutely nonsense. Do you just say any old thing because you want it to be true? Do you have any proof whatsoever that the optimum rate for tax intake would be 20%? Or is it, as per usual, just hatred and contempt for the poor coupled with nasty Tory ideology?

Also most people wouldn't work at all if they didn't have to so simply doling it out like sweets never does those who are choosing not to work but could much good.

There are more unemployed people than there are jobs. Many, many more. The rate of people committing fraud on JSA is less than 1% according the governments own statistics.
Welfare provision in the UK is not particular generous compared with the EU. You should try living on £68 per week and then see whether your statement 'dolling it out like sweets' rings true.

niceguy2 Mon 22-Oct-12 16:30:15

Ttosca, see my other thread for the £120 billion deficit link.

2000 new tax inspectors

I think you are mistaking the idea that reducing funding = less tax inspectors. It may well be that simply less money is spent on areas which are not priorities. Tax inspectors clearly seem to be a priority. And rightly so.

Thankfully i agree that UK is nothing like Greece. But if we don't sort ourselves out then one day we may well end up in the same situation. What's caused their problems? Very simple. Decades of spending more than they take in tax and borrowing the rest from practically anyone willing to lend. Thankfully we have a much larger and stronger economy but all that means is we don't hit our day of reckoning for longer. But mark my words, that day will come unless we change course now.

Lastly I don't see a problem with having a small state which is just big enough for its purpose. I don't see anything good with having a huge state simply for the sake of it.

Xenia Mon 22-Oct-12 17:45:06

This gives a lot of information on the debt www.debtbombshell.com/ much racked up by Labour who obviously chose to risk the lives of the poor for their own agenda as ever.

It is well proven that when we reduced UK highest tax rate to 40% tax receipts went up, the economy got going. They had been up to 60 - 99% in my lifetime. If tax feels fair and is not too high people buy into the system. If too much is taken they simply move where they can pay less or structure their affairs legally so as not to pay. Clever rich people can always do that . It is not about illegal evasion just the right to live where you choose. I can work from anywhere. if take got too high I would just move somewhere where it was cheaper as most of my work is over the internet. When tax rates get higher couples decide things like both will earn the single person allowance rather than onl one work or that savings will go in the no earnings spouse's name./ This is tax avoidance although in my view the latter is illegal tax evasion and also encourages women to remain at home as housewives./ That is evasion I would like to see stamped out as there is so much more of it than the very very very few rich people who illegal avild tax. There are far too many housewives sitting with savings in their name they never earned - nasty little tax evaders that they are. Let us imprison them all for tax evasion.

MiniTheMinx Mon 22-Oct-12 18:53:28

Why exactly do we have such a massive welfare need. Forget the cost for one second and ask about the cause. We have huge levels of welfare sat beside uninvested capital, we have rising profits and those profits are not invested into creating jobs, we have rising unemployment, that money is syphoned off out of the "real" economy. As the profits increased and wages fell, so tax receipts have also fallen.

Niceguy and Xenia are right, the government are faced with having to shrink the state, what else can they do? but is it right to do so? Welfare needs are growing so how will these be met?......... Well we have private corporations queuing up to make money out of welfare, education and health. As always unfettered capitalism doesn't just create the goods and entice you to buy, it brilliant at creating the conditions under which you have few options. Which is the real reason why so much HAS to be outsourced (if you subscribe to Tory small brained thinking)

You are always pretty keen to talk about China, a _state capitalist economy_ that is the second largest in the world by GDP. They don't have small state grin most of their _industry is under state control_

‘big government’ was established in the UK after the war when utilities and much of our industry was nationalised and the bulk of the welfare state was set up and expanded. By the mid 70s, government-managed expenditure was almost half of national production, and state spending on investment and services had risen to 27% of GDP by 1975 compared to between 10% and 12.5% during most of the years between WW1 and WW2.

Yet at the same time as this _huge growth in ‘the state’, the debt was reduced so rapidly that between 1946 and 1975 it fell from 252% to 45% of GDP_

So a shrinking state is good for business......private business and nothing else. Because neo-liberalism has created the conditions for businesses to prosper but also for states to fail. What would you suggest.....do you think Serco should take up seats in the commons, Atos should take over treasury funds (well what is left) and Murdoch should run schools?

Xenia Tue 23-Oct-12 19:13:55

I don't think it's helpful to include war debt in figures as it is more of a blip around the times of war.

So we will have a smaller state but I imagine nothing like as small as it has been in most of modern English history and people will provide for themselves which they always do better than the state anyway.

MiniTheMinx Tue 23-Oct-12 20:29:21

I give you two examples of how a big state capitalist approach strengthens the economy, lowers debt and increases GDP and still your answer is to shrink the state confused

which they always do better than the state anyway could you give some examples?

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