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Welfare into Work, the benefits shakeup

From:     Peter 
Category: LifeConsumer
Date:     27 February 2008
Time:     05:23 PM


Ok. They all talk about a private sector shake-up of the benefit system. Let us get people back into 
work. I have been on the New Deal for the long term unemployed, I have been retrained by the private 
sector. Let me tell you how it really is. 

After 18 months or two years on job seekers allowance, where you go in every two weeks and speak 
to a bored usually pleasant job advisor, who presses a key on the computer and you get your 
massive 50 a week (though if you get housing benefit it means you get about 120 a week for a 
single young man). Sometimes they call you in for a review, and a more annoying person questions 
you about seeking work. You show them some failed application letters and then it's ok.

Anyway after a period, think it was two years they put you on the new deal, which mean three months 
of something new. A private sector company will help you back into work and you think something 
might change. The first day you go to a centre in the middle of nowhere and this guy introduces 
himself and say he can see, smell, taste bullhshit and that you will be ok if you don't try to fool him. He 
is talking bullshit of course.

Your retraining consists of having to go in daily and sit in a room with some other unemployed people 
and a few newspapers and some computers which you can't access amazon or ebay on. It is like 
school if you went to a shit comprehensive, occasionaly the person who is helping you get back into 
work will tell you to keep the noise down ro not drink tea by the computers. There is a kettle. You don't 
even need to really spend the whole working day there, as if you sign in the morning you can piss off. 
Actually mr bullshit if you're nice to him or he is scared of you (cos you are big and scary or mad) will 
let you come in about once a week and that is all right too. No one gives you any advice or help. You 
just fill in some sheets of paper saying you looked for work on this day and that day and the private 
company sends these to the benefits office to prove they are helping you look for work, The room is 
filled with mostly youngish men. Some of them want work. I ask if there is help to get a qualification or 
further education or do a course. I am told no, there is no money for that. I meet people who are 
diligent and motivated and want work, but are poorly educated. No one is there to help them. Work 
experience is the only useful thing you might do , and is a compulsory part of the new deal (unless that 
is they can't find you a placement in which case you just go into the dead room each day for the entire 
3 months of the new deal!). And they find you places at low-level local companies or charities, better 
than nothing but not much. Boredom and humiliation and more interviews with bullshitters and petty 
tyrants and the poverty, financial and mental, of benefits are the main sticks they use they drive you 
back into work.

The reality of the private sector welfare into work will be a lot of bullshit and schemes run by private 
sector companies paid large fees, while there is no funding for proper retraining of eager aspiring 
workers. If you have been on the new deal you won't believe the big words and fancy phrases, it's all 
most likely a load of rubbish and some people filling in forms and setting targets for more forms to be 
filled in, and earning fat fees for their  companies.

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