Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Work For Your Dole & Karadžić Captured

New Labour has embarked on a much needed round of benefit reform and I thought as this is a field I've some experience of, mainly working with young unemployed, I'd blog on their new proposals (announced by this strange looking man).

First up is the idea of making long-term unemployed, ie: 12 months on the dole, work for their benefits. A similar scheme already occurs with young people, it's called New Deal and jobseekers avoid it like the plague, so it acts an an incentive to find work but not in the way intended. Personally, I don't think this is going to make a great deal of difference because any job seeker worth their dole, will just get a temp job after seeking for 8 or 9 months and then sign on again, resetting the work clock back to zilch.

You've got to remember (and this is from experience), anyone job seeking for more than 3 or 4 months does not want to work; there is no real need, even in the current economic climate, to be seeking for that long unless you don't really want a job or have unrealistic work expectations. Add in the fact that JSA is a 'gateway benefit', ie: enables you to claim other, more lucrative (I use this word loosely) benefits, getting people out of a cycle of benefit dependence is very hard. I also think that aside from when the scheme first comes into play, the take-up of people having to work for their benefit will be very, very low. So, in summary, it's a move that looks politically good, in terms of ticking all the right-wing boxes but actually won't impact much at all.

The far more interesting reform is the end of Incapacity Benefit by 2013, this is something I'm a big fan of because in reality (again from working in this field), many people claiming this are actually fit and able to work but a system of complicity, both by GPs, claimants and benefit officers themselves, has left a vast raft of people able to work, able to sit out of the economic process on long since passed medical grounds, breeding a culture of benefits-poverty existence. In some parts of the UK we now have third generation benefits claimants, raised in a world of being on the drip.

I'm looking forward to see if this policy is fully followed through to impact on those abusing the benefits system, or whether it is all political bluster. Place your bets...

On a more positive note, brilliant news is that Radovan Karadžić has at last been caught and that the Serbian war criminal will hopefully be bought to justice, now all we have to do is the same to Mugabe, Bush and Blair...

(Shout out to Kirky, hope you're all well and good and reading this on your lunch break)


  1. dictators, Kirky, news, politics, poverty, terror, twat, UK

    ......have I offended you?

  2. No you spaz, just slipped you in to give you props!


  3. LOL I know! Good speaking to you again last night....take care x

  4. I am one of the long-term unemployable. I can't explain it, but maybe my face just doesn't fit. I am one of those folks who has always found it incredibly difficult in gaining employment. Perhaps it is my interview technique? I don't know. When I left university with my degree in publishing back in 1993, I spent just over a year unemployed. It was a horrible, soul-destroying time. A time in which I had to prove I was actively seeking work. This wasn't a problem as I set myself a target of applying for betwen 5-10 jobs a week in my chosen field of publishing. I aimed low, didn't set my expectations too high and soon found that I could impress the D(SS) clerk with my 100 or so job rejection letters that I kept pristine in a nice red box folder. When I got made redundant back at Xmas 2001, I started applying again - but this time I had nearly a decade of experience of working in the media industry. Again, the same thing happened, but this time there were no rejection letters. I just didn't hear anything back. Out of about 30 applications, I'd get one rejection letter. So I started working self-employed as a freelance writer and scaled down my search for "proper" employment. I did get the odd interview and these were always invariably odd. The interviewer sees that you've been made redundant and realises that you've lost that fear that other candidates have, that fear of losing your job, that carrot and stick they use to beat you with, and already the relationship between employer and potential employee is already defined. When my freelance writing work started to disappear (I've been involved in more magazines that have closed that I've had hot dinners, heck - I'm an albatross) I realised that I needed to do something different. So I bought a shop...and have regretted it ever since.

    While I agree with the changes in the benefit system, I don't think there is enough support for those who are seriously looking for work. The expectation is that you should take ANYTHING just to survive. But I'm not going to last five minutes on a building site or in McDonalds, so some flexibility should be available. But I hated having to sign on - it was a wretched time.

    The End.

    By Darren Lock, aged 37 and six months

  5. Thanks as always Darren for your comments, I wasn't haven't a go at long term unemployed but I do stand by my comment that those signing on for over 6 months are those avoiding work, in the current climate.

    I would argue that if you are going for work in very competitive industries, as you and I are, that is our choice and that does not mean the government owe us a benefit while we chase the dream, we should fund that ourselves.


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