I was expecting the letter which I received this morning. Even though I had psyched myself up for it it was still depressing. My contribution-based ESA (Employment Support Allowance) is due to finish at the end of April. The letter is a standard template explaining the reason and how you can continue being credited with NI contributions. I may still be able to receive means-tested ESA (I doubt it very much) or JSA. Under the new Welfare Reform Act ESA stops after one year, as apparently, we should have got jobs by then. The Lords put forward an amendment from 12 months to 24 months as it’s difficult under this current economic climate to find a job in a year. But no…. ConDems voted down the amendment.
Therefore my meagre amount, an absolute pittance of a benefit will stop as I should have got a job. Again, to reiterate, it the most obvious point is where are the freaking jobs? Too few jobs with lots of people scrambling after them. Jobs disappearing everyday with this recession, more unemployment…
Something like 1 million will be affected by the changes to the benefits system. These attacks will doubtlessly lead to more poverty, misery and distress. None of these changes have any economic benefit in tackling the crisis. It’s punishing the poor, ideological attack on the working class (and let’s not forget it was bloody Labour who started this “culture of dependency” nonsense.. along with blaming the individual not the economic situation we find ourselves in).
I wonder what my own professional future holds. For the past year I have been teaching myself short-hand, audio typing, brushing up on my German, and speed typing. Along with taking photos of cute heron chicks. But still no sniff of a job (plenty of interviews… so near and yet soooh far). There isn’t any useful informative training on offer by the Jobcentre nor one of its contracted providers. Instead it’s one big gravy train where the CEOs and shareholders leech off the big bucks provided to run these piss-poor programmes. They see pound signs in their eyes and lip smacking profits while unemployed people and disabled are threatened with sanctions and penalised if they don’t do as they are told i.e. attend piss-poor training courses (where different times are given to you by the different participating providers!) and go after any old shitty job. Cameron et al bang on about “something for nothing” culture… well, can you honestly say these private contractors engage in something for value? Something stimulating? Informative? Worthwhile? No.. it’s money for old rope. There’s no real support without stings attached such as apprenticeships which actually educate young people in learning a trade (earn while you learn), skills centres that give people options in training, free courses and education. Real choices, re-training, education and support. Not bullying, coercing and demonising people. Now I have woken up… and jolted into reality where this government and the previous one was all about punishment and attacking the tenets of the welfare state.
Yes, millions are people are in this predicament, and many will be hitting the wall because of these pernicious and spiteful attacks on the poor. God knows what society is being created and how much blood will be on the hands of the Bullingdon crowd.