1) ‘Help To Work’ comes into effect today
A new government scheme starting today will put tough new requirements on the long-term unemployed to continue receiving benefit.
‘Help To Work’ will affect those who have already completed the Work Programme and have been out of work for longer than two years. These claimants will now have to take part in community placements for 30 hours a week, which could include picking up litter or removing graffiti. They will also have to ‘sign on’ at the job centre every day, and receive at least 4 hours of intensive job search monitoring with advisers each week.
Should claimants not find work after six months, they will be re-enrolled on the programme and sanctioned if they do not comply.
Recent statistics show that only 3% of those on the Work programme have gone on to find gainful employment, which suggests problems within the government system and approach. Community placements also seem a lot like community service under threat of sanction, a worrying treatment of the unemployed like criminals and once again an attempt by the coalition to fix unemployment by fixing the unemployed.
2) Occupy Wonga – May 1st
Occupy, DPAC and UK Uncut have joined to stage an action on May 1st against ludicrous interest rates and pay day loans. The action will form part of the Worldwide Wave of Action running from April 4th to July 4th.
The plan for the day is:
“May Day Itinerary:-
12:00 (High Noon) Assemble at Clerkenwell Green.
13:00 March sets off
2:30 Rally in Trafalgar Square in Honour of Tony Benn and Bob Crow.
As soon as the rally is finished, we march. When we arrive at the target we will occupy a space and Occupy London will hold a General Assembly on site; the assembly agenda will be confirmed on the day, by those present.
Supporting this action on the day will be:- *Occupy London *Disabled People Against The Cuts *Fuel Poverty Action *ClassWar *The Resistance Movement Of The UK”
3) Councils are sitting on £67m of emergency help
A Freedom of Information request obtained by the Guardian revealed that councils are sitting on £67m of the £136m given out to help with emergency appeals.
Record numbers of families are being turned down for help despite many being left penniless and hungry by benefit sanctions, welfare reforms and the bedroom tax. 4 in 10 applications are turned down for emergency help. In some places as few as one in 10 receive crisis loans.
Councils told the Guardian that they had given out less help than in the past because the public knew less about the schemes, with some failing to advertise that there was help available.
4) Real Talks: A Job’s Worth
Real Talks’ first event went well on Thursday last week with a great discussion about current experiences, unemployment, policies and alternatives. Keep an eye on RealFare for the video and photos! Thanks to all those who attended.