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New Workfare Bill; Collective punishment & £130 million in new welfare cuts.

quoteYesterday the Government introduced a new workfare bill to retroactively change workfare legislation judged unlawful by the High Court, so that it has always complied with the court ruling, even though for two years it did not. Its aim? To avoid paying back the JSA money it unlawfully stopped when people were ‘sanctioned’ on its workfare schemes. That the government would try to avoid paying was expected. What no one expected was how it plans to do so.

In its arguments to justify withholding social security people are due – an average of about £500 per person, £130 million pounds in total – the DWP has stated that:

“If the Department cannot make these retrospective changes, then further reductions in benefits might be required in order to find the money to repay the sanctions”

In short, if the government is made to obey the high court’s ruling, it will inflict collective punishment on those who can least afford it by finding £130 million pounds more in new cuts from the welfare
budget. Shockingly this is supported by Labour. Yet again the poorest will be made to pay for the mistakes of the powerful.

Iain Duncan Smith wants to ride rough shod over the law to continue his reign of incompetence, arrogance and punitive policies at the DWP. In a move which can only be interpreted as a desperate attempt to circumvent law and democracy, the second reading; committee stage; and third reading are all scheduled for one day: this Tuesday. Rather than face the consequences for his failing and unlawful schemes, he wants to rob £130m from people who should never have been sanctioned to start with.

The DWP argue that:

“A retrospective transfer of public money to this group of claimants would represent poor value to the taxpayer and will not help those unemployed enter employment… It is vital that in the present context of austerity measures the public purse is protected from such claims which could cost up to £130 million…”

This means that as of today YMCA, the Salvation Army and others are not only involved in profiting from workfare, they are now involved in implementing a policy in which the government threatens the poorest with collective punishment on a vast scale. Workfare is being used as an excuse to potentially introduce £130 million of additional benefits cuts by the back door. Those involved are propping up a government policy which clearly states that it will use collective punishment by lowering benefit payments to everyone.

Those sanctioned were on placements at the likes of the Salvation Army and the YMCA. Let them and other workfare providers know what you think.

Email your MP to tell them to vote against this disgusting piece of legislation.

Take part in our week of action beginning this Monday.

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Peter

IDS needs to be shot before he "kills" more sick, unemployed and disabled people.

The Nazis would love to have IDS on their side. He's a danger to socitety!

tony

SUE THE ARSE'S OF THEM.

Breaches of Regs 29 and 35 of the ESA regulations 2008 stating that risk to appellant and public must be assessed and taken into account of the risk of exacerbating or inflicting their conditions to deteriorate. This is law made by the Goverment,yet it appears the laws everyone else has to adhere to can be ignored by those who are unable to understand our English language who govern us.

If anyone,has a fall, accident anything, during travelling to WRAG ,ATOS medical or job interview arranged by DWP and you hurt yourself or members of public, find a no blame no claim solicitor and sue the shit out of them,you wouldn'tt of been there if they hadn't forced you to attend.This includes mental health related issues, ie, causing disturbance in a public arena, ie police being called out to you in a job center, this is evidence of breaches Regs 29b as you would not of attended had they not forced you there

Tony

Don't worry you brave little fighters we will make them pay back into 2015 voting. They can push us around and kick us when we down, But they can not keep us down. It's funny in one way they say breaking the law is wrong and that you should be locked up. But its OK for them to break the law and get away with it. Now what message is that sending out to the younger kids who try to be good:-)

Groc

If they have to pay back people the benefits they illegally stopped from people - and the govt. can't afford it - then make IDS sell his house and possessions to go towards it. It's his responsibly and he's the one who acted illegally. As a good Christian he's supposed to do that anyway.

Lee J Jepson

I am a Brain Injury survivor who has been through the system of having to endure these tedious medicals undertaken by unqualified people on several occasions, paid by results by a company who sponsored the 2012 London Paralympics.

Bernard Pencilcase

Fine. So, by that reckoning all those who paid poll tax should be able to claim back what they paid before it was abolished.

Jacqueline Perrie

This government, the DWP, are abusing sick and vulnerable human beings, why do they seem unaccountable to anyone? This is not saving money, it will result in chaos and misery totally inhumane. As for saving money, how are they funding illegal wars? Its all insane! Disgusted.

leedsjon1

As disgusting as this latest news is, there may lie beneath it at least 1 tiny glimmer of progress or hope - if DWP is saying that it, effectively, cannot afford to pay back the £130 million it has taken off claimants in sanctions and now has to reduce future benefit payments to fund this, this at least shows that they are now accepting the fact that they do have to pay people back - which is a far cry from the IDS's & DWP's comments a few weeks ago that no sanctions would ever be paid back. This is a small sign I know but at least it shows that the tide may in fact be starting to change.

Colin Ryan

Nobody wants there money cut so they are trying to turn people against the people who should get back payment for unlawfully being sanctioned. Divide and conquer. That's what the Tories do. They are trying it with people who are working on low wages to to turn them against people who are unemployed. There aim is to get working class hating working class who are unemployed. The comments from Osborne and Cameroon prove that.

Jj

I'm sorry, did they mean "we can't afford to make £130M illegal maladminastrative errors"? Because they seem to word it like it just sort of emerged from the ether like some phantom tax.

In respect of your comments leedsjon1, this isn't anything like recognition or a step forward. This is the DWP disfiguring and abusing the legal system to make illegality into legality. Even though it will probably be a failed exercise, it is potentially the first steps to the downfall of the entire UK legal system and all to save a measly £130M.

Mb

As tony above says we will make them pay in the next election BUT don't vote for bloody UKIP on the backlash as they really are the right wing bastards that even the Tory Naxos didn't want so dont fall for their lies either. Labour is nobody's friend in all this as they brought in Atos so whoso we all turn to???

Steven

Labour also brought-in the so-called 'New Deal' which was anything but for the unemployed. It is LABOUR who are to blame for the hatred and bile directed towards the unemployed, the disabled ect. All the Tories have ever done is to ratchet-up what LABOUR started. If that warmongering, evil, anti-British prick Tony Bliar hadn't been elected I very much doubt whether any of this would have come to pass. Put simply, the Tories wouldn't have had the political courage to do this without the so-called 'people's party' laying the groundwork first. It is time ordinary people punished 'their' party (ie Labour) for abandoning them in favour of foreigners and Brussels commisars!

Bluebell Eikonoklastes

Dear Fabian

From the bottom of my heart I appeal to you to oppose the 'Jobseekers (back to work schemes) Bill, which I understand is to be rushed through Parliament tomorrow.

Why is it an emergency to deprive some of the poorest in society of the money they need to live on and which the Courts have said they are entitled to? Why, if the Grauniad is to be believed, is this being supported by the 'Official Opposition'?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2013/mar/15/dwp-law-change-jobseekers-poundland

furthermore, doesn't such retrospective legislation strike at the very heart of the Rule of Law?

and it is a rotten principal that because it is taxpayers money it should be denied. On these grounds similar legislation could 'protect the taxpayer' from claims of compensation against say the Police Service. It is after all taxpayers money. Of course since they are responsible for the cock up Chris Grayling and IDS could always be held personally responsible if we were really to protect the taxpayer.

One final point, as Cait Reilly (the Geology Graduate forced to give up voluntary work in a museum to work for nothing at Poundland) rightly pointed out, unemployed people wish for help into paid employment or failing that education and training. Forced Labour Schemes (Scab for your Giro) and punitive withdrawal of benefit do not create employment or get anyone back to work, so the Bill's title is a complete misnomer, a blatant lie.

It is beyond shameful that IDS is proposing this Bill, I trust that as my MP you will ensure its defeat including working with other MPs or all Parties.

Be in touch for any reason

Bluebell Eikonoklastes

Birmingham Trades Council » 24 hours to stop IDS rewriting history and robbing £130 million – Day 1 in the Workfare Week of Action

[...] one of his most disgusting manoeuvres yet, last week Iain Duncan Smith laid legislation to rewrite history to stop the 225,000 people who were sanctioned on his unlawful workfare schemes being able to [...]

george

Make duncan smith and george osbourne sell off some of their riches and contribute to the "were all in this together crap "He regularly forgets people have already paid thousands in Tax, Ni, corporation tax, vat etc etc etc, and who are now down on their luck due to evil greedy bastrd bankers sitting in the sun and laughing at us all.

Jj

To be honest George, Mr Duncan Smith would do well to remember he has an unemployed, albeit rich, wife, four child benefit-enriched children and his own periods of claiming unemployment benefit.
He must have some choice information on his Conservative colleagues or some really influential friends, because he has no demonstrable qualities, skills or experience to justify his position in government.
I really do hope the EU make an example out of him. You don't get to act illegally, ignore the opportunity to modify your schemes, ignore the opportunity to use the Supreme Court, retroactively change the law, all without benefit of ever being elected to be there.

annymous

So what happens when the stress causes someone to flip out and kill someone, in the Jobcentre, or on their Workfare 'placement'?

I am surprised it has not happened already!

Jj

Actually incidence and severity of assaults on JCP staff are up allegedly.
Frustration and confusion about sanctions are cited as the cause.

I can see this soaring, to be fair. The Bedroom Tax is going to start squeezing people and every new measure on top of that is turning people into anger-filled human Buckaroos.

Birmingham Trades Council » Boycott Workfare call for sanction stories

[...] return for supporting the passage of a retrospective law to steal £130 million from claimants who were illegally sanctioned, the Labour party were promised by the government that there would be an independent investigation [...]

Information on Sanctions wanted by Boycott Workfare « HADAG.org.uk

[...] return for supporting the passage of a retrospective law to steal £130 million from claimants who were illegally sanctioned, the Labour party were promised by the government that there would be an independent investigation [...]

Boycott Workfare » Blog Archive » Workfare at the Supreme Court: What’s Changed?

[...] government was appealing even though they enacted retrospective legislation in March, which obliterated the Appeals Court judgement.  The Jobseekers (Back to Work Scheme) Act [...]

Boycott Workfare » Blog Archive » Court of Appeal says the government breached claimants’ rights, but the retrospective legislation stands

[…] legal proceedings, inflicting collective punishment. The act only passed with Labour’s support. Here’s what we wrote about it. Now, the Court of Appeal judges say that ‘constitutional respect’ has […]