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 Government's workfare scheme 
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Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm
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This was in the grammar thread in the Social Club, but I've moved the posts on the workfare scheme here so then be discussed separately.

An 'F' in grammar and comprehension for Chris Grayling, Minister of State in the Department for Work and Pensions:

Chris Grayling; Remedial Student
Quote:
I attach, below, the open letter Chris Graying sent to Polly Toynbee on #workfare, corrected. This Government seems determined to treat us like children. This is especially evident whenever Cameron adopts that vile let-me-tell-you-a-story voice, as if he is about to explain The Princess And The Pea to a kindergarten class. It seems only fair to respond, in kind.

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February 25th, 2012, 4:54 pm
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Excellent piece of grading there!

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February 25th, 2012, 5:25 pm
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Maybe, this is going off topic. But it needs to be said. (IMO, at least! :))

Yes, indeed, Grayling's letter is appalling.

But what a shame it is, that Polly should make such a clumsy fist of her economics. Rather spoils it all.

Quote:
"The protest against Tesco has done nothing but good. Now Tesco is offering pay and a guaranteed permanent job to all on the scheme – and that makes all the difference to its worth. Well done protesters!“


Except that the protesters have destroyed the whole basis of the scheme, and in typical trade union style, have raised the barriers to employment against those who need help most.

Tesco's (and their ilk) have been accused of effectively "stealing" the labours of the weakest in society, to add to their bottom line. And on the face of it, there is a point to answer. But on the other hand, Tesco are accepting people into their workforce who, in all likelihood, are not going to be the most employable, and not the sharpest knives in the canteen. There are risks and costs associated with this. That is without question. And the companies themselves have gibbed at some of the rules concerning loss of benefits if the work-trial does not work out as intended, so they are not without conscience. I think it is wrong to imply that Tesco's and others are merely seeking cheap labour. Certainly, I would be more comfortable if the system were different, but it may well be that, for whatever reason, the rules don't allow it.

The sort of solution I would like to see is that the trainees are paid the minimum wage, but that maybe Tesco's are reimbursed the equivalent of their benefits. Remember that the people they are taking on have zero experince. Tesco's will need to spend a lot of money on them, with absolutely no guarantee of any financial return.

Apparently, 50% of such trainees are taken on permanently. Of the remainder, some don't want the jobs, and others are so pathetically useless, that despite the best efforts of Tesco's, they can't even stack shelves. A proportion of them don't even last the course. Tesco's have gained precious little, and expended much. The unemployability of the candidates is not Tesco's fault. We are talking about not getting up in the morning, not caring about the task in hand, being illiterate and so on.

So, thanks to the actions of Polly and her friends, what is the situation? Tesco's go back to sifting the CV's of school leavers and choose who the hell they want. And the most disadvantaged can go hang. A student in further education is, in a sense, undergoing "unpaid labour" in the hope and expectation of landing a job, or maybe a better job. So what's the difference?

The end result is that the most disadvantaged have had a way out of perpetual unemployment snatched from them. The vital first job has been taken away from them by the arty-farty Grauniad intelligensia who think that providing a service that people want is somehow not a real job. Who think that an entry level jobis to be disparaged as a "McJob". That is a disgrace!

Polly, you misguided soul! Tesco's have no reason to "provide pay and a guaranteed permanent job to all on the scheme". They will offering "pay and a guaranteed permanent job" to those who meet their criteria, and all those who might have been given a leg up are being denied the only chance they may have had to escape their dismal future. Shame on you, Polly, shame on you. Just because you are capable of earning a living from your pen, doesn't give you the entitlement to codemn a whole raft of your fellow citizens to perpetual unemployment. Especially as they are the product of a state education system "designed" to provide them with everything they need for their future.

Grrrrr!


February 25th, 2012, 11:26 pm
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Sorry for being pedantic Nick (not :) ) I have been having a bit of a barney on the shetlink thread re Tesco, (a very lively thread) Tesco the company, is Tesco and ever more shall be so.
Tesco's is an abomination.
Ha! Even the spell check red lines it. :wink:

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February 25th, 2012, 11:44 pm
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Did you know that Tesco's philosophical stance is, "Treat others the way you want to be treated."? Yes, a rehash of the Golden Rule! So, from their normal behaviour Tesco's wants to be treated as though they do not have any discrimination, can be fobbed off with poor quality produce, maybe have two brain cells to rub together if they really search for them, wish to be disappointed by not finding what they want on the shelves for weeks on end . . .

This has been mentioned at least twice in the past few days on R4 when discussing the employment thing. Though, to be fair to them, they have managed to work out that the way the government want it will do Tesco's no good in the eye of the public - so they must have found those two brain cells after all.

I do agree that if there were work opportunities available, even short term ones, that offered a premium over the dole I am for it. I remember the mind numbing situation of simply finding something to do with my time - I would have topped myself if it had not been for the library (partly to keep warm in because I could not afford heating in my bedsit)and a couple of day's employment a week. But. although it seems like means testing, they are some who need that more than others and would possibly make better use of the money.

See also here

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February 26th, 2012, 12:17 am
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There seems to be a lot of confusion about the different schemes, who is on them, whether they are mandatory or not, whether sanctions are placed on those who refuse to work, give up or perform badly (if at all), what the companies get out of it, what the Government has said about it and probably several other questions.

Any chance of teasing these things out so we can understand it better?

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February 26th, 2012, 12:53 am
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Nick wrote:
Apparently, 50% of such trainees are taken on permanently.

As I said, there is a lot to take in here, but one of the fundamental questions is whether the 'workfare' schemes actually work (ie improve job prospects). That 50% figure has been bandied about willy-nilly, including by Ian Duncan-Smith
Quote:
The fact is that 13 weeks after starting their placements, around 50 per cent of those taking part have either taken up permanent posts or have stopped claiming benefits.


As one blogger put it:
Quote:
This is indeed a fact, backed up by DWP analysis here. But it's not a very meaningful one, because in itself it proves nothing; we don't know what would have happened if they hadn't been put on the programme in the first place.

Indeed, he wonders why this figure is so low (see the blog post for more details). But this one is interesting:
Quote:
remember that - as Iain Duncan Smith is careful to make clear, albeit only implicitly,in the quote above - that leaving JSA doesn't actually mean getting a job. Especially for young people, many people who stop claiming benefits don't get a job; they may return to education or training (generally a good thing) or drop out entirely (not so good). But it is reasonable to conclude that far fewer than 50% of this cohort actually got a real job.

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February 26th, 2012, 1:47 am
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Alan H wrote:
There seems to be a lot of confusion about the different schemes, who is on them, whether they are mandatory or not, whether sanctions are placed on those who refuse to work, give up or perform badly (if at all), what the companies get out of it, what the Government has said about it and probably several other questions.

Any chance of teasing these things out so we can understand it better?


Here is a start:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/global/realit ... me-welfare

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February 26th, 2012, 2:01 am
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Lord Muck oGentry wrote:
Thanks for that Lord M. Have you any thoughts on this?

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February 26th, 2012, 2:25 am
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Here's some interesting information about the relevant schemes: http://www.boycottworkfare.org/?page_id=663

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February 26th, 2012, 7:55 pm
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On much the same subject...

It appears that ATOS - the private French IT company given the contract to assess sickness benefit claimants to make sure they really are sick - has been making its staff sign the Official Secrets Act:

Private sector medical staff assessing benefit claimants told to sign Official Secrets Act

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April 12th, 2012, 5:37 pm
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I forgot to mention this a few weeks ago, but someone submitted a complaint to the ASA about an advert by ATOS being misleading. The ASA investigated and asked ATOS for evidence to substantiate their claims:
Quote:
Atos IT Services UK Ltd t/a Atos Healthcare (Atos) did not respond to the ASA's enquiries.
Disgraceful. They lost the adjudication, of course.

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April 26th, 2012, 10:26 pm
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According to The Daily Telegraph: 500,000 to lose disability benefit
Quote:
Half a million people are set to lose disability benefits as the Government pushes ahead with plans to rid the system of abuse and fraud, Iain Duncan Smith says.

And an interesting rebuttal to it: An open letter to the Telegraph: get your DLA facts straight

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May 14th, 2012, 4:11 pm
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It's just been pointed out to me that ATOS, the company who have been carrying out the controversial screening of claimants of Employment and Support Allowance, Disability Living Allowance and Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit and deciding large numbers of them are not entitled, are the top sponsors of the Paralympics.

I need a new irony meter.

Maybe their screening was actually a undercover operation to find the best athletes?

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May 23rd, 2012, 10:00 pm
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^ A CIF (comment is free) article in the Guardian today on this subject.
Paralympians deserve our support despite Atos sponsorship of the Games.

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May 23rd, 2012, 10:26 pm
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While you are ordering your new irony meter, Alan, Perhaps you might order a spare for me. :D On the one hand, we are told to sit up and take note now amazing handicapped athletes are, (which is true), while at the same time appreciate how unable others are to do anything, thus requiring the compulsory taxation of the poor able bodied, so that other handicapped need not try.

Of course, it is vastly more complicatd than that, so I'm not suggesting my post is the end of the story. But I bet some benefit claimants are pretty pissed off with athletes with a similar or worse disability than their own, who are demonstrating fabulous resilience.

As I say, my observation should not be the basis for social policy, but to my mind, it might alter the perspective one takes to the problem. Hideously complex of course. No easy answers. But it's a thought....


May 23rd, 2012, 10:44 pm
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Er... we can start simply by not using the word 'handicapped' :exit:


May 23rd, 2012, 10:50 pm
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Absolutely no offence intended, Fia. But I can never understand the new fashion.

If an engine is "disabled", it means it doesn't work. At all.

If a competitor (or a racehorse, say) is handicapped, s/he may still win the race. Handicaps in sport are there to be overcome.

It bugs me that we are being told that a word with a clear meaning, now, somehow, means something completely different, though it is often hard to know quite what....

Only words, I know, but still....


May 24th, 2012, 10:25 am
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I understand the objection from disabled people to the word 'handicap' comes from the belief that it refers to the 'cap in hand' used by beggars, though this source disagrees http://www.snopes.com/language/offense/handicap.asp.

Whatever the truth, the word is definitely not on the pc list nowadays.


May 24th, 2012, 11:06 am
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I have heard the expression, "less-abled," before now.

I think "handicapped" is accurate and explicit as well, Nick. You cannot really compensate for a disability in the sense as you used it. If your legs do not work you have to overcome that hurdle (handicap) by strengthening other parts of the anatomy and finding activities that you can achieve. The legs might be "disabled" but the whole person is not!

But once has to accede to the wishes of those described if they wish certain words to be used and not others - even when no insult is meant.

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May 24th, 2012, 11:20 am
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