C4's Dispatches on Universal Credit - an end to victim-blaming?

Tue, 28/10/2014 - 14:21 -- nick

Universal Credit was this government's big idea on benefits, and its only attempt to make work pay that doesn't focus on reducing welfare to an unliveable level.

Iain Duncan Smith went travelling around Glasgow to speak to the poor and came back with the conviction that what was needed was a default online system that joined many - but not all - benefits together, and which people could use to declare any amount of work without ending their claim.

UnemployedNet live tweeting on tonight's Universal Credit doc

Mon, 27/10/2014 - 11:53 -- nick

UnemployedNet will be live tweeting during tonight's Channel 4 Dispatches documentary on Universal Credit.

The doc has uncovered some huge holes in the scheme, with a jobcentre whistleblower calling it "completely unworkable" and describing it as "sinking".

There are still major problems, and Dispatches will focus on some of the human costs of these, including an interview with a pregnant woman who could only ate a packet of crisps a day because of delays to her claim.

Lame duck Universal Credit is still unproven and could actually cause unemployment

Thu, 23/10/2014 - 14:06 -- nick

The latest report on Universal Credit has been released, and shows how desperate Iain Duncan Smith is to make a silk purse out of his personal sow's ear.

The scheme's timetable slippage has been well documented, as has its hugely increased cost and the money wasted on unusable IT systems.

It is no surprise that Smith has fought back through commissioning this positive report, but its findings are highly dubious at best.

Advisor's blog shows why government is to blame for poor jobcentres

Wed, 22/10/2014 - 14:47 -- nick

Unemployed people may not enjoy reading this, but frontline staff at jobcentres are not to blame for its poor record.

A new blog by a jobcentre insider shows how low morale has sunk among its staff - and why the government is really to blame for causing such misery to those signing on.

The anonymous writer has been working for the service for six years, and says he is 'disillusioned' with the way it has changed under the coalition.

Unemployment down - but quality jobs remain a problem

Wed, 15/10/2014 - 12:50 -- nick

The UK's unemployment fell below two million people for the first time since 2008 according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) - but the squeeze on pay and quality goes on.

There was a fall of 154,000 in the overall unemployment rate to 1.97 million between June and August, although the number actually in work only went up by 46,000 over this period.

Inflation drops but the unemployed are still getting poorer

Tue, 14/10/2014 - 13:13 -- nick

Inflation has fallen to 1.2%, its lowest level in five years.

But it shows how impoverishing the government's restrictions on benefit rises has been that this still means unemployed people and other claimants are getting poorer.

The Tory-led coalition capped annual increases in welfare at 1% from 2013, and inflation has been above this level since then.

Oh Clacton, what have you done?

Fri, 10/10/2014 - 13:36 -- nick

The nightmare scenario has come true.

Last night UKIP won its first seat in Britain's parliament in the Clacton by-election and is firmly established as the third biggest party in national polls.

It could find itself with more MPs after next year's general election, and, given how close Labour and Tory support is, it could conceivably find itself in government as part of a coalition.

Clacton's unemployed must end UKIP's advance

Mon, 06/10/2014 - 14:00 -- nick

Following the defection of right-winger Douglas Carswell from the Tories to UKIP, this Thursday will see a by-election in Clacton-on-Sea.

The Essex resort is seen as a prime target for UKIP, and if the polls are to be believed the party will have its first MP in the House of Commons by Friday.

Clacton has an older, whiter population than most of the UK, and these are prime voters for the upstart UKIP, which bases its appeal on a mixture of EU hatred, nostalgia, immigrant bashing and pure contrarianism.