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From: The Socialist issue 708, 7 March 2012: 28 March: Strike back against the Con-Dems

Search site for keywords: Claimants - A4e - Jobs - Unemployment - Workfare

A4e - The inside story

A former worker for a workfare provider
Workfare protest targets A4e, photo Socialist Party

Workfare protest targets A4e, photo Socialist Party   (Click to enlarge)

The welfare state is now a lucrative business - Emma Harrison's contract as A4e chief was worth around 200 million.

According to the Department for Work and Pensions, under the new scheme a company such as A4e will receive 600 for each claimant who starts on their programme.

If that person was previously receiving a sickness benefit and moves into work the private provider will receive an additional 3,500 - on top of that they are given a further 9,600 if the claimant is in employment at the end of the 104-week period.

No wonder businesses without any prior interest or experience, such as G4S security, were clamouring for contracts during the bidding phase.

There are two or three Work Programme providers in most urban areas. By 2015 the best performing businesses in each locality will receive an additional 1,000 for each job outcome.

Workfare protest targets A4e, photo Socialist Party

Workfare protest targets A4e, photo Socialist Party   (Click to enlarge)

Market forces and incentives now overrule any attempt to see claimants as individuals; we are not told where these jobs were going to come from and how targets will be met in areas of mass unemployment.

Jobcentre staff have the power to order claimants aged 18 or over to undertake four weeks, for 30 hours a week, of 'work related activity' for up to six months.

Failure to attend Work Programmes and placements, or refusal to carry out instructions while on the scheme will result in JSA being stopped for up to 13 weeks.

The inevitable detrimental effect this has on established housing benefit claims makes this punishment even harsher.

But there seems to be no requirement for businesses to provide evidence that there is a real possibility of a job. Travel, clothing and child care issues are also not addressed.

This government has created a culture of blame and shame. They are forcing unemployed people into jobs that don't even exist and paying private companies bonuses for achieving what should be a right, not a privilege - a paid job and a living wage.

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