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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?

Yika Tue 23-Oct-12 20:57:48

Re. Family support in Europe. Indeed Mediterranean countries do rely heavily on family support in their welfare system. Funnily enough, it's not those countries that are weathering the recession well. (And Isnt the obligation to support their children well into adulthood also one reason behind their very low birth rates?) Nordic countries have fairer systems where generous welfare benefits are combined with active support to get people back into employment.

I do agree with Xenia however that tax levels must be 'felt fair' otherwise they encourage large scale avoidance, such as happens in my high tax country of residence. I don't think income tax is unreasonably high in the uk however.

Xenia Tue 23-Oct-12 21:49:46

52% is unreasonably high when you add on 8% stamp duty, 20% VAT and all the petrol and air ticket and other taxes we pay.

We don't want to get like those countries where people simply don't pay - the Greeks have a culture of non payment almost and many many more Germans have hidden money abroad than British have.

The Indians and Chinese have a culture where children support parents etc.

Solopower1 Wed 24-Oct-12 20:16:21

Young Chinese people would find it very difficult indeed to look after elderly parents - plus their childless aunts and uncles, and now grandparents, who are living longer - especially if they are an only child. I expect the State helps out in China, does it?

But most countries are better than us when it comes to looking after old people, imo.

I would find it a huge burden. All my efforts are going into supporting the next two generations - I really wouldn't want to have to choose between aged parents and my children! And my parents, if they were still alive, would hate it even more than I would.

But a lot of people are going to have to make those choices in the near future.

nkf Wed 24-Oct-12 20:23:03

The sister's decisions were poor though. She borrowed for a deposit. That was bad. She shouldn't have taken out a loan to rent somewhere. Unsecured debt is a bad idea. That's one message I want my kids to learn. Don't debt.

nkf Wed 24-Oct-12 20:27:10

And if that apprenticeship scheme was any good, it would be innundated with applicants. It's probably rubbish.

ThatVikRinA22 Wed 24-Oct-12 20:27:50

how nieve xenia to say we "all have parents and relatives"

No actually.
we dont all.

some people are literally on their own. I was one of them. I know of a plenty young people, who have no one to rely on, one of those is now in prison since the death of both his parents within 8 months of one another.

i cannot actually believe that anyone can think in this way - im gobsmacked tbh. it must be lovely to have come from a stable, loving back ground in which the family all support and look after each other - but there are literally hundreds and hundreds of people for whom this is just not the reality.

i left home at the age of 15 due to abuse in the home that i could not longer stand. At that point, i had no one other than my older sister, who is now also dead.

words really do fail me.

ThatVikRinA22 Wed 24-Oct-12 20:31:38

my other sister is also now claiming JSA despite having been a secondary school teacher (she cannot go back into teaching as she has been out too long) and her bank closed her business account and literally gave her business to her husband....she is now fighting the legal system, the bank and trying to find a solicitor who will help her as she has no income any more.

JSA is a joke. She has had no advice at all in getting back to work, despite being highly qualified and working for herself for the last 20 years. she has been told she has to seek min wage within a 60 mile radius of where she lives - by the time she has paid fuel she would not afford her rent!

ThatVikRinA22 Wed 24-Oct-12 20:34:32

....and a friend with an autistic adult son who has just completed a degree in genetics from a top uni has been told to drop his disabilities from his CV....he is severely affected and its obvious on meeting him that he has ASD and Dyspraxia - yet the advisers are saying that his disability on his CV are preventing him from getting hired in lowly paid retail jobs.

how can anyone think this is working?

Solopower1 Wed 24-Oct-12 20:47:16

How sad, Vicar. No it isn't working, not at all.

Have a brew.

niceguy2 Wed 24-Oct-12 22:23:26

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.

Yeah cos the UK was utopia under the 13 years of Labour rule wasn't it? The rich coughed up their taxes and the poor didn't go without. There were no unemployed and pensioners had to wear bikini's at home because their homes were so damn warm. And surely they only left because of some conspiracy. After all, there was plenty of money left yes?

mignonette Wed 24-Oct-12 22:25:22


ThatVikRinA22 Wed 24-Oct-12 22:54:09

niceguy ive read several of your posts recently and can only conclude your mumsnet nickname is an oxymoron.

the less well off, the disabled, the elderley, the nhs, the police, public services were all better cared for under labour, yes.

MiniTheMinx Wed 24-Oct-12 22:57:15

The more I read the more I conclude he has the repeat button switched to go.

Sarahplane Wed 24-Oct-12 23:29:12

Xenia 'everyone has parents and some relatives' my dh's mum died when he was 17 and his fathers a sex offender who for obvious reasons he has had no contact with for years as soon as he found out. He lost all contact with his relatives on his mums side after get death so literally had no family. He is now 30 and has myself, our children and family through me, but where do you propose someone in the situation he was in as a young adult should turn to if there is no financial support available from the state. He always worked apart from brief periods between jobs, but even when he was unemployed he did full time voluntary work for a charity while looking for work and still remained working for them whilst employed as well. To be honest I think the 3 years he spent working/volunteering for Bethany had a major part to play in how he managed to grow up to be such an amazing and well adjusted adult after his upbringing. Today he would be penalised for doing voluntary work while unemployed

FizzyLaces Wed 24-Oct-12 23:56:04

Xenia, I hate your values and think you are the personification of what is wrong with our compassionate country.

ThatVikRinA22 Thu 25-Oct-12 00:21:22

my step father beat me, almost daily, for 8 years, (he broke my fingers using a garden cane) the last thing i would have ever done, after getting out, would have been to go back there. Had it not been for 2 people, i would have been on the streets. being homeless at 15 is no fun, there is nothing you can claim, and there was no help available. i turned 16 soon after leaving. i had to give up my A level studies and get a job that paid £55 a week. i was offered a room in a shared house that cost £46 per week. at 16 i could not claim anything at all.

that is some peoples reality.

to dismiss this and flippantly say there must be parents or relatives you can live with is astonishing.

if it were all as easy as that there would be no homeless people, yet, there are, im sure given the option, they would rather not be.

it shows a kind of thinking that is so blinkered as to be useless when debating the issues that people enduring any hardship in life face.

i am very lucky, and have been very lucky since the day i was made homeless at 15, but i remember what that feeling of absolute desperation felt like, i really do, and i would never wish it on anyone.

Now i work as a police officer, and i have a disabled adult son. i see and feel the changes markedly. i have friends who have disabled children or young adults, my eldest sister claims JSA now for the first time in her 54 years.

the realities are shit. The only people to say otherwise would be those safe and sound in their ivory towers.

ThatVikRinA22 Thu 25-Oct-12 00:40:35

just seen xenia comments re servants. i have a horrifying feeling that they are not tongue in cheek.

and im sorry i knocked this discussion away from JSA and the current benefit system, but i would refuse to care for my abusive parent. i have no contact and nor do i want any. i will care for my children, and my autistic adult son for as long as he needs it ( i am currently skinting myself to put him through university)

(awaits with annoying familiarity for some fuckwit to come along and tell me that if he can do uni he can care for himself blah blah)

niceguy2 Thu 25-Oct-12 07:01:39

Vicar, I respect what you have been through and personally I am against the idea that there should be a blanket withdrawal of HB support for young people because of the exact experiences you went through. Tighten up, yes. Total remove. No.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not against a welfare state. I want one. Just not the current one which is far too big, traps people in a lifecycle of claiming and unaffordable. You think I don't care? Is it uncaring to point out we can't afford the status quo? Is it uncaring to ask where the money comes from and point out 'tax the rich' isn't a realistic solution? Is it uncaring to point out that if we continue blindly down this path, we'll end up like Greece? If so then yes I am guilty. Those who shout me down are usually the ones who want to carry on regardless and whose solution entails taxing 'someone else'.

I volunteer for our local foodbank, collecting donations of food to later be made up into food parcels. My fiancee works in the care sector who deal with vulnerable people. Both my parents have disabilities, my brother too. In fact he will need full time care once my parents cannot do it anymore. So it's not like I live in some middle class bubble quaffing down champagne every night.

But we are not helping anyone by treading down the path we were on. It was a stupid path which would only lead to ruin.

the less well off, the disabled, the elderley, the nhs, the police, public services were all better cared for under labour, yes.

Firstly things were hardly perfect under Labour. The gap between rich and poor widened despite all their efforts. And secondly I'd argue that they were only 'better cared for' because they borrowed the money to fund their schemes. Right at a time during which they should have been tucking some money aside to help us during a recession. Worse still there was in my opinion a real lack of focusing that money. It was just chucked out there.

I can take out a loan today and give my family the illusion of being better off. But that's all it is. An illusion. And when the time comes to repay that debt, we'd all be worse off. Rather like the situation we're all in today really.

MiniTheMinx Thu 25-Oct-12 09:30:28

6 in 10 children living in poverty live in homes where parents work. Hell, I would borrow myself if I could, to alleviate the poverty of just one more family. niceguy you are very good at trumpeting things you hear in the media or read in the mail, your understanding of economics isn't great and Ttosca has explained dozens of times, some very basic facts which you wilfully ignore.

MiniTheMinx Thu 25-Oct-12 10:12:45

With regard to neo-liberalisation and the shrinking state, cuts to welfare and state intervention and state ownership, there is a correlation between deregulation and falling tax revenues, which points to the fact that workers also pay less in tax on lower wages, have falling incomes and there is LESS demand in the economy.

"The changed competitive structure of capitalism has altered the political posture of big business with regard to economic policy and the role of the state, turning big business from a supporter of state-regulated capitalism into an opponent of it" which is the real reason the state MUST be shrunk, it must be shrunk because a large state is in opposition to the interests of individual capitalists Although this is short sighted and obscured and caused by competition between capitalists.

There are a number of reasons why one would not expect the neoliberal model to promote rapid accumulation. First, it gives rise to a problem of insufficient aggregate demand over the long run, stemming from the powerful tendency of the neoliberal regime to lower both real wages and public spending. Second, the neoliberal model creates instability on the macroeconomic level by renouncing state counter-cyclical spending and taxation policies, by reducing the effectiveness of automatic stabilizers through shrinking social welfare programs,and by loosening public regulation of the financial sector. This renders the system more vulnerable to major financial crises

Shrinking the state and cutting welfare is ACTUALLY DETRIMENTAL to the capitalist economy not to mention the harm that is being done to billions of ordinary people. In fact if you cut welfare when the need for welfare is both growing in terms of expenditure and need it will negatively impact upon ALL of our jobs and actually disinsentivises investment and precludes capitalist accumulation. interesting paper here from the UMAS

mignonette Thu 25-Oct-12 11:02:30

Just had to C+P these from my post on the Hameron thread-

Shameron, Scameron, HamFaced Cameron-

This is enough to give you nightmares (if he hasn't given you them already)-

And this makes me laugh........

Xenia Thu 25-Oct-12 18:15:54

1. I am right because it is true that everyone has a parent - we don't make babies in bottles yet.

2. Although a few people don't have relatives they can stand not even a granny, uncle, sibling, the vast majority of people do so if we started with making them responsible for their relatives not the state that would relieve the burden on hard working tax payers.

MiniTheMinx Thu 25-Oct-12 18:18:26

well, stop moaning about the tax you pay and go and find a relative to care for. Take enough hours out of your day wiping the buns of the elderly and you two can halve your income thus reducing your tax bill. hey presto.

MiniTheMinx Thu 25-Oct-12 18:18:44

bums not buns! grin

ThatVikRinA22 Thu 25-Oct-12 18:35:08

its appears the unreasonable cannot be reasoned with. i am xenia, therefore i am right. Happily for society, i think you are in the minority.

i typed an answer, then deleted it because there are no words. so you just carry on.

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