1) Universal Jobmatch carrying thousands of fake jobs
Universal Jobmatch, the system which jobseekers must sign up to if they want to claim benefits, has been listing thousands of ‘fake jobs,’ making up nearly a third of all listings in some parts of the UK, according to an investigation by Channel 4.
Claimants must prove they have used the system and applied for jobs on the site in order to continue receiving benefits. But this investigation proves that some jobseekers may have been wasting their time, calling into question the commitment of the DWP and government to reducing unemployment.
The investigation found that around 11,000 jobs apparently posted by nine different recruitment sites were actually posted by one man, Mark Coward from Coventry, a businessman and baptist deacon who makes money from each person who uploads their details and CV to CV library. Watch the Channel 4 report here:
2) Scotland axes ‘bedroom tax’
Scotland has vowed to abolish the bedroom tax, with Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirming that Scottish government were “more than willing” to put in the extra £15m required to pay for those affected by it.
However, benefit caps are stopping the Scottish government from being able to put money into the councils that need help, and so Sturgeon has written to welfare reform minister Lord Freud to lift the cap. She said:
“The bedroom tax penalises some of the most vulnerable people in our society. We know that more than 12,000 children are affected and 80 per cent of households hit contain an adult with a recognised disability.
“We have already provided as much help as legally possible to those suffering from this unjust policy but we are unfairly restricted in what we can do.
“For example, despite Scotland having 20,000 more households affected by the bedroom tax than London, the DHP allocation for Scotland in 2014-15 is £35million less than London.
“The Scottish Government are currently spending up to the legal limit in order to mitigate the effects of the bedroom tax on people across Scotland.
“We are more than willing to put in the extra £15million, which would increase the amount of help available to a total of £50million.”
The move has highlighted the unpopular and damaging tax again, as thousands of councils across the UK struggle to help constituents who are falling behind or are unable to pay.
Lord Freud will face questions from the Work and Pensions committee on Wednesday at 9:30am on the ‘bedroom tax’ and the benefits cap.
3) Charities warn Osbourne against housing benefit caps as study reveals rise of 57% in homelessness advice
The Citizens Advice Bureau have warned the government against the scrapping of all benefits to those under 25, as the number of 17-24 year olds facing becoming ‘actual homeless’ has risen 57% since 2007/2008.
Osbourne has vowed to scrap benefits for under 25s if the Conservatives win a majority election in 2015. However, several charities have warned against this as it may risk plunging thousands of young people into homelessness and is yet another move which turns it’s back on youth unemployment and social issues.
Citizens Advice Chief Executive Gillian Guy said:
“Supporting young people into work should be looked on not as a burden but as an investment in our country’s future. Without support and training to help people move out of education into work and paying taxes, securing the economic recovery and building a sustainable economy for the long-term will be significantly harder.
“Young people are interested what they can offer not what they can take. As Citizens Advice enters its 75th year, the number of young people volunteering with us is at a record high.”
4) Big Benefits Row helpful in revealing facts but overthrown by ‘Hopkinsisation’
Channel 5’s Big Benefit Row aired on Monday night bringing in ratings of 2.1m for the channel. While the show did reveal some myth-busting facts about welfare and benefits and challenged the usual media coverage, the show was overshadowed by the personal attacks and shouts from Katie Hopkins and Edwina Currie, stopping what reasonable and interesting debate there could be, by repeating “the mantra of mainstream politicians about people at the bottom of society, but with even fewer facts and more venom,” as Owen Jones said.
Further the show stirred up more controversy when Disability Rights Campaigner and author of the blog ‘Diary Of A Benefit Scrounger’ Sue Marsh was dropped from the show at the last minute. Marsh explains what happens in her post here.
by Kam Sandhu – @KamBass