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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?

ttosca Wed 17-Oct-12 21:36:17

I think the problem is that it's not what the majority want, but the Tory scum have managed to get in to power with the Lib Dems who are enabling them to destroy people's lives.

I keep on asking myself how the hell can 30% of the population vote Tory when they are destroying the NHS, killing disabled people, wrecking the economy, increasingly poverty and homelessness, and generally making the UK a nastier, more brutish place to live.

But then a large portion of the Tory voter base are pensioners and rich shire-dwellers, totally disconnected from the lives of most people. These are also the people most likely to vote.

It's a sad state of affairs and the UK is going to be a worse country when the Tory scum are booted out of office.

mcmooncup Wed 17-Oct-12 21:51:52

There has been a concerted effort to stigmatise and demonize unemployed people since they came into power. Now, those who work on the front line have been given powers to act upon these stereotypes...........everyone is a liar, everyone is a scum bag, everyone is taking the piss. And the green light has been given to destroy what little they have left of a life.

The people I meet have been let down at every step of the way..........

Do people who support these cuts then give to homeless charities and buy the Big Issue, I wonder?

wannabedomesticgoddess Wed 17-Oct-12 22:00:38

I dont think people realise that what they think will happen and what will actually happen are two completely different things.

The feckless benefit cheat has become the only type of claimant due to the propaganda being circulated by the government and the media. People are forgetting that the majority are honest people trying to get by.

Xenia Wed 17-Oct-12 22:01:36

May be it will push some of them into finding work. there is a company with 500 apprenticeships - care home business - available and had only 100 applicants - this is for young people. They don't turn up, they won't do the work. I think it's in tonight's Evening Standard. If those people would not eat unless they turned up may be they would attend the work.

Viperidae Wed 17-Oct-12 22:13:35

Unfortunately the decent majority are being punished for the sins of the scroungers and much as I dislike that we cannot, as a society, afford to continue as we are.

I work in a deprived area and there is a sizeable minority of people who, by choice, will always try to stay on benefits. If they put the same effort into jobsearching as they do into trying to claim extras, appealling decisions, etc they would be great employees

wannabedomesticgoddess Wed 17-Oct-12 22:19:39

On the news tonight, 7 suicides in 10 days in East Belfast.

Now Belfast has some more complex issues than just these cuts. So they cannot all be down to this and that isnt what I am saying.

But times are getting desperate for deprived areas. I think that this time next year there will be a significant increase in the number of deaths in the UK. Not just suicides, but people dying from illness, malnutrition etc.

This country is at the start of a long miserable road.

mcmooncup Wed 17-Oct-12 22:21:19

That's what I'm saying Xenia - it doesn't seem to push them into work. After 6 months of unemployment, most people are in a state of depression and these sanctions just seem to push them further down into the depths. I have not met one person for whom these actions does as it 'should'.

I promise I am not making this up. If you are motivated and full of self-esteem, it may work, but I have yet to find a long-term unemployed person who actually is motivated and with self-esteem, as uncomfortable as that it.

mcmooncup Wed 17-Oct-12 22:22:31

Just a note on the apprenticeships. These are jobs that are not even at minimum wage - usually about £2.60 per hour. So although it sounds great, a person could probably not afford to live even working full-time unless they have support from elsewhere too.

Xenia Thu 18-Oct-12 06:50:38

Well lots of people from abroad manage to motivate them to mvoe countries as many of our own relatives and ancestors will have done to find work because if the choice is not enough food (although I am not suggesting most people on UK benefits cannot afford food), suicide or move to find work the latter may be the right solution.
The apprentice care home programme was for young people. His company was paying £4 an hour and he said that was well over the £2.60 but many just could not get into the routine of getting out of bed and being on time. I presume the idea is tha if you rae 16 you might still be living with your parents. Perhaps we need a shift ni attitudes in the UK that family supports you when you are young, ill, old rather than the state, a new kind of personal responsibility which many other countries still have and which perhaps benefits them in difficult times such as those through which we are going.

I moved hundreds of miles from family to find work as lots of people have done in earlier recessions. It is not always easy and I know it is harder for those with no money to fund say a night bus to London but it is not impossible.

EdithWeston Thu 18-Oct-12 07:03:12

Missing one appointment or calling in sick does not automatically lead to sanction (I have direct personal experience of this), and people go through forms carefully with you, so errors arising from dyslexia will not lead to sanction. So the examples cited in OP cannot yet have happened, and there is no reason to believe they will start.

Forms filled in incorrectly because you are putting inaccurate information may lead to suspension, whist the claims adjusted or as sanction in fraudulent cases (which may be less than MN's favourite newspaper splashes, but which does exist). Missing multiple appointments may lead to sanction, as can repeated illness with no doctor's note.

These are not new obligations, even if it's being portrayed as such now. They have been in place for at least a decade.

Where was the protest then?

ikigai Thu 18-Oct-12 07:03:44

Family support is a nice idea xenia, but what if everyone in your family is poor? My DH's family are all retired, un or underemployed, or scraping by on minimum wage. We can't afford to keep them all afloat. And i imagine it'll get worse.

helpyourself Thu 18-Oct-12 07:12:55

xenia a 19 year old who's got on a coach from Eastern Europe and is room sharing with 3 others can afford to work for £4.
Someone supporting a family, who will lose tax credits, fsm, council tax credits etc. cannot. Did you mean what you wrote about suicide btw, I'm assuming it was a typo.
OP, I've helped with the forms you mention- surely there must be a discrimination issue there. If you have a learning disability you will lose your benefits.

EdithWeston Thu 18-Oct-12 07:16:39

They have stood to have them reduced by sanction since the regime was introduced in November 2002.

The updates are minor compared to the damage that was caused a decade ago when the principle of having a punitive element was introduced.

But in practice, sanctions are applied sparingly and fictional worst cases are scaremongering.

helpyourself Thu 18-Oct-12 07:27:17

(Just reread yr sentence Xenia, I get it)

wannabedomesticgoddess Thu 18-Oct-12 07:45:10

Im going to have to hide this thread now.

I cannot take anymore of xenia.

Wouldnt it be lovely if the whole world operated in the way she thinks it should. But it doesnt. People are going to be homeless, they are going to die.

helpyourself Thu 18-Oct-12 07:57:27

If you are motivated and full of self-esteem, it may work, but I have yet to find a long-term unemployed person who actually is motivated and with self-esteem, as uncomfortable as that it.

Is the key to it. Something needs to be done, but this isn't it.

AmberLeaf Thu 18-Oct-12 09:51:44

Have you ever had to sign on EdithWeston?

The threat of sanctions have been there for some time, but this is a huge change.

Re scaremongering; Edith I remember you saying that on another thread about the changes to welfare some time ago, you poo poohed posters concerns there too, surely now you can see it wasn't scaremongering?

As to Dyslexic customers getting help, excuse me while I die laughing.

AmberLeaf Thu 18-Oct-12 09:54:33

If you have a learning disability you will lose your benefits


That has and will continue to happen, the support for people with learning difficulties is laughable.

MrsDeVere Thu 18-Oct-12 10:03:22

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Startailoforangeandgold Thu 18-Oct-12 10:22:35

Our local job centre has closed, the nearest one is 13 miles away (3 miles to the bus, even if you have the fare).

The well meaning, but hopelessly disorganised, lad next door has huge difficulty getting there. His family never have working cars and he's never got any phone credit.

He does try to find work, but it's almost always temporary seasonal stuff and coming on and off benefits is a nightmare.
(I know because he often comes and borrows my landline, he doesn't run out of credit when they stick him on hold).

I feel enormously sorry for him, it is not his fault that he was born with not very intelligent in to a dysfunctional family. He's really sweet and he really tries.

The system he has to fight with is shit!

MiniTheMinx Thu 18-Oct-12 10:49:28

"His company was paying £4 an hour"

We are talking about work that is poorly paid even at the full rate, where staff are poorly trained, poorly supervised and supported, where there is little or no career advancement. This work is very unlikely to provide a stepping stone into other employment. Where private companies charge more for beds from private patients, offer enhancements for better food that is never provided and then these same profiteers of human misery exploit their workers on poor pay. NO wonder there is so much abuse in residential elderly care.

"Perhaps we need a shift ni attitudes in the UK that family supports you when you are young, ill, old rather than the state, a new kind of personal responsibility which many other countries still have and which perhaps benefits them in difficult times such as those through which we are going"

Make up your mind Xenia, either you want young people wiping bottoms for a pittance in factories of misery (made that way by private companies and their greed) or you want WOMEN to do this work for free in the hidden sphere of home and family. Of course this wouldn't entail you wiping a bum or two you could pay someone to do that anyway!

The chances are you are just trumpeting your right wing spiel about personal responsibility that is as usual ill conceived.

Solopower1 Fri 19-Oct-12 23:34:52

Thanks for posting this mcmooncup. It gives the rest of us just a tiny insight into what it must be like.

Couldn't agree more, MiniTheMinx.

Cozy9 Sun 21-Oct-12 05:00:21

There's no right way of doing it. Either you're soft and you let people get away with doing nothing while on benefits, or your hard and some people suffer. We've been soft for too long. There are too many people living it up on benefits at the expense of everyone else.

Xenia Sun 21-Oct-12 09:42:30

I watched the Friday night programme on BBC2 Servants. Interestingly it quoted from newspaper articles in the 1920s and 30s about young people choosing to go on the dole rather than take work as servants when there was a desperate shortage of servants. Politicians proposed that there should be no dole for those who could do that work. Plus ca change.

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