Trump: Cuts to Food Stamps and the Detriment of Right Wing Politics

President Trump wants Congress to drastically cut federal support for food assistance to the poorest Americans by some 25 percent over the next decade. An astonishing 43 million of the US’s poor people rely on America’s Food stamp program, now called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program SNAP. Most recipients live in households with children (about 72%) and more than a quarter live in households with seniors or people with disabilities.

To make matters even worse Trump in a really devious ploy proposes to penalise (charge) retailers who accept food stamps.

Please sign and share the petition below which now needs only another 500 signatures

“Once again our country’s most vulnerable citizens are the target of President Trump’s brutal cuts. This time the it is the 43 million Americans that rely on the SNAP program – formerly known as the US Food Stamp Program – that could be hit hard. The Trump administration is proposing $191 billion dollar in cuts to the program over the next 10 years but what’s more he now wants to charge – read penalize– retailers for accepting the food stamps that often serve as a temporary lifeline for America’s poor. 

The proposed fee to SNAP participating retailers could encourage independent and smaller grocers to leave to program. This means that there would be fewer retailers available to SNAP participants, many of whom already live in food deserts. For example, the National Association of Travel Plazas and Truckstops has come out against the president’s plan because, while most city dwellers view truckstops as a place to grab a quick snack, for many of the rural poor it is the only place to shop and get sustenance. “

Please continue reading and sign the petition

Congress: Don’t Let Trump Stamp Out Benefits for Food Stamp Recipients

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/880/854/517/

Millions of people like Reginald Porter-Bey will suffer as a result of this gravely unjust proposal:

“Reginald Porter-Bey, 59, who used to work as a printer at the Pentagon, started using food stamps a decade ago when he was homeless and jobless. “They’re very important to get through the month. You’ve got to know how to find bargains.”

Porter-Bey, who has five children, added: “It would have a hell of an impact. That’s taking food out of my mouth and other people’s mouths who’ve got kids. That’s not fair. People voted for Trump and he slapped them in the face. There are people in West Virginia who are poor just like here. He doesn’t care because he’s all right.”

Read more stories of people who reply on food stamps to survive:

Food stamps: a lifeline for America’s poor that Trump wants to cut

Residents of the Congress Heights section of Washington DC tell of the devastating impact the president’s plan to cut food stamps would have on their families:
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/may/28/food-stamps-lifeline-trump-america

Note the following in the article

“Conservative media outlets such as Fox News have previously referred to food stamp users as “moochers”, “parasites” and “takers” instead of “makers”. Last week Trump’s budget director Mick Mulvaney said: “If you’re on food stamps and you’re able-bodied, we need you to go to work.”

But according to the government’s own figures, most families on Snap – 55% of them – do have a family member working. The issue is that they do not make enough money to feed their families. “This budget is not an evidence-based exercise in policy-making. It’s oriented at cutting government spending in order to lavish tax cuts on the wealthy,” said Dean.”

If you live in the UK the above rhetoric is very similar to comments made by the media here and implied by the Tory government referring to benefit claimants – including sick and disabled people and people who simply cannot get jobs because there are few jobs available too them – as scroungers fraudsters , parasites, skivers, work-shy, lazy, stupid, feckless with terms such as”handout” “something for nothing” .  Note also like the UK many of the people who claim SNAP are working people whose wages are too low to support them sufficiently even to put food on the table. Yet another similarity is that cuts to Snap and other benefits are made in order to cut taxes to the rich.

I cannot understand the mentality or the purpose of these constant attacks on the poor though of course the language of “scrounging” “parasites”and so on is meant to poison people’s attitudes to benefit claimants. Whether here or in the USA such treatment of vulnerable people is deeply unjust, grossly immoral and not worthy of any country that wishes to be considered civilised. To deny people enough food to nourish them when enough food is available is surely a violation of a basic human right. To go hungry even die while food stores are overflowing with an abundance of food is a great social injustice and frankly a crime against humanity. The US is a rich country, it is shameful that a government of millionaires led by a fabulously wealthy president sees fit to attack the most vulnerable of its citizens while giving tax breaks to the rich.

Both here and in the USA it seems that poor people are under constant threat of cuts to their meagre incomes by the right wing governments that for reasons beyond my comprehension millions of working class people continue to vote for. Here in the UK once again the electorate which comprises mostly working class people (60% of Britons regard themselves as working class) return a right wing government to five more years of power, five more years of austerity: cuts to benefits for sick and disabled people, including the removal of mobility vehicles, cuts to the NHS , to schools and recently voting for a one percent pay rise cap for firefighters, nurses and other pubic sector workers, to name but a few of the austerity measures implemented by the present government. And we must never forget the latest casualty of austerity the Grenfell fire where well over 80 people lost their lives    – though the final toll could be far higher – as result of cut backs and profits before people. I can well envision that if the Tories, propped up by the equally extreme DUP, continue their term in government for the full five years we will see an end to the NHS and universal free health care.

I fear for our future and for future generations, the other species with whom we share this earth and the very earth itself. I can well imagine a world where the vast majority will have no or little food, shelter and the basics of existence while the tiny minority will live surrounded by obscene wealth supported by the labour of those who will barely have enough to subsist on. Furthermore as a result of automation there will simply be millions thrown on the scrap heap, their services not required eking out a living from a dying planet destroyed by the insatiable greed of the one percent – seemingly aided and abetted by the very people whose lives are detrimentally affected by the right wing polices of greed, inequality and social injustice which the electorate seems so keen to support.

Related Links

Behold the full horror of Donald Trump’s 25 percent food stamps cut

President Donald Trump wants Congress to slash federal support for food assistance to the poorest Americans by some 25 percent over the next decade, the White House budget unveiled Tuesday shows.

Such a deep cut could be backbreaking for the more than 40 million Americans — many of them children — who qualify for the nation’s premier anti-hunger program.

Please read more:
Austerity’s violence, aimed at hollow stomachs
https://thinkprogress.org/trump-budget-food-stamp-cut-7c612489fe9e

Trumps cuts to food stamps is not the only austerity measures which will effect poor people.

Trump’s budget: major slashes to social programs – but $1.6bn for the wall

Millions of people stand to lose Medicaid access, alongside cuts to welfare and food stamps, under a proposed budget that still has numerous hurdles to jump

Donald Trump will embrace hardline rightwing economics on Tuesday with a budget that proposes severe cuts to social safety net programmes while allocating $1.6bn to a border wall.

Read about the history behind SNAP. Again similar to the UK the US is proposing to take a step back in time and undo all its social progress concerning welfare which again like the UK requires improvement rather than reducing its effectiveness, I can well imagine that both here and in the US such welfare programmes will eventually be dismantled after years of gradual cuts.

Donald Trump’s Budget Cuts Would Leave Many Americans Hungry

Their bellies were swollen and their fragile limbs covered with sores that would not heal. Clothed in rags, these children of the Mississippi Delta huddled in crumbling shacks with empty iceboxes, not a morsel of food to be found.

It was a level of human suffering and despair that brought a New York Senator to tears. Walking, stunned, from one hovel to the next, Senator Robert F. Kennedy saw conditions that rivaled what he’d seen in third-world countries.

It was 1967. Kennedy had headed south in response to a report by civil rights attorney Marian Wright that detailed levels of childhood hunger unconscionable in the richest nation on earth. What he saw there helped galvanize a nationwide response.

Please continue reading:
http://time.com/4838245/trump-health-care-congress-food-stamps/  

Since Trump has been in office he has inflicted the most  brutal cuts on the working poor  “The Senate health care bill he seeks to pass targets the sick, elderly, disabled and impoverished with breathtaking precision. His proposed budget threatens not just SNAP but heating aid, legal services, student loans and mental health care for those most in need. And, while that budget cuts hundreds of billions of dollars from policies to empower the working class, his tax plan would give even more than that to the very richest among us.”

 

 

Lies Lies and More Lies: Demand that Ian Duncan Smith Resign

19704991611_5c16cc9196_z

Welfare Culture?  Byzantine_K

https://www.flickr.com/photos/november5/19704991611/in/dateposted/

Please read and sign the following petition

Demand Iain Duncan Smith resign over lying to public in DWP sanctions leaflets

The Department of Work and Pensions has admitted that ‘case studies’ showing the benefits of sanctions on peoples’ lives were ‘illustrative’ only. That is – they were pure lies. The people described did not exist, the photos were stock images, and the stories were fantasy.

The Government has lied to the British public.

Stopping people’s benefits such as job seeker’s allowance, known as sanctioning, is driving people to suicide. People are resorting to stealing food in order to not starve. Sanctions do not encourage people to get jobs. Sanctions are known to be given to people for extremely minor reasons such as being five minutes late for an appointment. If someone has a heart-attack or has to attend a family members’ funeral and misses an appointment – they could be sanctioned and lose their benefits.

Please read more, sign the petition and share widely:
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/386/241/736/

Even if you doubt this vile man will resign adding you name and a comment to a petition voices your opinion and is well worth signing. Maybe if more of us were outspoken this nightmare of injustice would have ended long ago before it even began. Led astray by right-wing biased media propaganda those in our society who do not think for themselves but sadly think only of themselves have swallowed hook line and sinker the rhetoric of scroungers and skivvers. Time to wake up to the shocking reality of what is happening here in the UK before unemployment or disablity and sickness come knocking on your door and there is no state provision in your hour of need.

More about the injustice of benefit sanctions

As part of the unremitting pressure or should I say bullying tactics of the government to reduce welfare payments and force people to work who are unable to do so is the introduction of benefit sanctions. For anyone not familiar with this latest injustice, benefit sanctions are the reduction and sometimes a complete suspension of a benefit claimant’s welfare payments. The rules vary according to which benefit you are claiming such as ESA and JSA. 

Extracts From Disability Rights UK Factsheet F70

Sanctions are used most often to enforce the work-related conditions that can be applied to benefits such as jobseeker’s allowance (JSA) and employment and support allowance (ESA). It is these sanctions that we will look at in this factsheet.

JSA

In each case, your JSA will normally be stopped for a fixed period of time. This can last from four weeks to up to three years. In the case of intermediate level sanctions, your JSA claim may also be disallowed.

ESA
Sanctions (also called ‘reductions’) can be applied to your employment and support allowance (ESA) if you fail to meet a ‘compliance condition’ for the benefit…

… your ESA will be reduced by £73.10 (equal to the personal allowance of ESA for a single person) for a period of time. This period comes in two parts: one open ended, one fixed.

This is very complex you will need to consult the following link for more details:
http://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/sanctions

In some cases your benefit can be removed entirely for three years! Hard to believe that this can happen here in the UK. I just couldn’t believe it partly because it was so difficult to find any verification that said this in so many words, but its true you can have your income stopped entirely.

If a claimant breaks any part of their Commitment, they will be subject to sanctions, which will mean a deduction, penalty or suspension of all their benefits. A claimant receiving three sanctions can see their benefit stopped entirely for up to three years.
http://www.unitetheunion.org/uploaded/documents/Guide%20Sanctions11-21537.pdf

Maybe it was difficult to comprehend this was a fact because it is not easy to accept that this is allowed to happen here in the UK and that few people protest.

Basically if a Job centre representative decides you should be sanctioned you can lose some or all of your benefits from between four weeks to three years! That’s right three years!!!! Reasons for withdrawing benefits can and are for the most part trivial, ridiculous ,unjust, callous and downright stupid and can result from such petty things as being late for a meeting – sometimes as little a three minutes – and or even attending a job interview instead of your appointment with your supervisor. Indeed sanctions can be imposed for all manner of callous and senseless reasons such as

“A man with heart problems who was on Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) had a heart attack during a work capability assessment. He was then sanctioned for failing to complete the assessment”

Army veteran Stephen Taylor, 60, whose Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) was stopped after he sold poppies in memory of fallen soldiers.

Here a really ridiculous reason:
Sean Halkyward, 24, said his benefits were sanctioned because he looked for too many jobs in one week.

Read more of the idiotic and unreasonable sanctions imposed often on sick and vulnerable people – consider the fact that in some way or another everyone who on benefits whether sick, disabled or unemployed is vulnerable, struggling to cope, worried, afraid and insecure.

The 11 most senseless benefit sanction decisions known to man
http://i100.independent.co.uk/article/the-11-most-senseless-benefit-sanction-decisions-known-to-man–x1dmkd2_Me

Never forget that benefit sanctions apply not only to people who are able-bodied who are on Job Seekers Allowance but also to sick and disabled people on Employment and Support Allowance ESA. People who are too sick to work have their already difficult lives made more miserable and indeed more traumatic by the constant harassment to find jobs that do not exist or which are not suitable or which they are not well enough to do. It is important to consider that even with a person who is well and able all jobs that are available may not be suitable. Depending on level of intelligence, education, skills and other abilities or lack thereof not all people are capable of doing every job, there is no one job fits all. It’s so obvious right? Yet this is rarely pointed out.

The insidious evil of benefit sanctions that leave people with little or no many at all destroys people’s lives. In many cases the reasons for someone getting sanctioned are an outrageous injustice of the most extreme nature. Sanctions are never justified in any circumstances, you cannot leave anyone with no means to feed themselves.

Things are about to get worse and more lives will be destroyed as Duncan Smith  prepares to announce a radical reform of sickness benefits that the government expect will force up to 1 million more disabled people into work.

Sanctions are a violation of human rights that have driven people to despair destitution and suicide and have forced people to break the law. Read this shocking story of a hungry women whose benefits had been sanctioned being fined £330 for stealing a pack of Mars Bars, the cheapest item she could find in the shop.

Famished woman fined £330 for stealing a 75p pack of Mars Bars after benefits stopped
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/famished-woman-fined-330-for-stealing-a-75p-pack-of-mars-bars-after-benefits-stopped-10455635.html

“Just for being Hungry”, what better justification could there be. This woman is not a criminal, the real criminal is Duncan Smith and the rest of the callous Tories hell bent on turning the clock back to times we thought were consigned to history.

Related Links

Benefit sanctions ruin lives. No wonder the DWP turned to fiction
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/aug/19/benefit-sanctions-ruin-lives-dwp-fiction

Where to get help
http://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/sanctions

http://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/how-we-can-help

Five More Years of Hell

What the hell is wrong with the British people?

Why have they voted for five more years of hell under the Tories? Why!!! Why!!!! Is it simply ignorance or greed? Do people think that the improving economy, if indeed it really is improving, is going to make them more wealthy? If there has been any improvement it has been at the expense of the poorest in our society who have been hit the hardest by austerity measures. Also you can be certain that any improvement to the economy will affect only the wealthy. Foolish people have condemned us all to five more years of Tory policy which benefits only the rich.

I cannot tell you just how shocked and angry I am.

If you voted Tory consider:

Just on the issue of the NHS alone you should not have voted Conservative – Your vote just brought us closer to the end of the NHS

Basically if you voted Tory you have voted for the privatisation of our NHS, the eventual end to free health care?

Consider do you really want private profit hungry big business carrying out surgery, performing scans, X-rays and other diagnostic tests. Never forget that with all private business profit is the main motivation. Making private business responsible for your health care is a slippery slope to the end of the NHS as we know it.

So far a third of  the NHS has gone to the private sector, after five more years how much more will be sold off.

If you voted for the Conservatives you also voted for:

Zero hours.

“It’s the uncertainty that gets to me,” Shirley says, despondently. “These contracts only work one way – they don’t offer any flexibility even if you wanted it because if you turn down hours you suffer. One of the girls had her hours permanently reduced because she asked the line manager for a day off to take her child to the doctors. From that day on her card was marked”.

Read More:
http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2013/06/forward-march-zero-hours-contracts-must-be-halted

Low Pay – in 2014 two out of three people took jobs with low pay

16568567849_56b6fac338_h

Two thirds of people who “found” work in 2014, ended up in a job which pays less than the living wage (which is not that much higher than the minimum wage). Many have found themselves in work that is “employment” in name only: in zero hours jobs which for many means just that – no hours = no pay. Many have ended up in workfare and training schemes all designed to coerce people into working for little or no pay.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/november5/16568567849/

Food banks – over one million people now use food banks including 330, 000 children

Every day people in the UK go hungry for reasons ranging from redundancy to receiving an unexpected bill on a low income. Trussell Trust foodbanks provide a minimum of three days emergency food and support to people experiencing crisis in the UK.

2013-14 foodbanks fed 913,138 people nationwide. Of those helped, 330,205 were children.
http://www.trusselltrust.org/foodbank-projects

“In spite of the erroneous signs of economic recovery, people are becoming poorer as more people are relying on food banks than ever before.”

Read About food Banks in Maidenhead:

“At just pushing 9.30 AM, the Maidenhead foodbank was rammed with people. Shelves were stacked ceiling-high with tinned food and bags of pasta and it felt more like a UN posting in a war zone than sleepy Berkshire.”
Read More:
http://munchies.vice.com/articles/people-are-relying-on-foodbanks-in-the-uk-more-than-ever – Maidenhead is a well to do town in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead. Not the sort of place that springs to mind when we think of people who need food banks.

The continuation of the unfair bedroom tax – Tories propose to raise this unfair tax.
http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/tories-could-raise-bedroom-tax-5642236

More cuts to welfare for sick and disabled people and the unemployed – The Tories want to cut benefits by 12 billion:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-32084722

16753988102_59becc1419_h

Relentless cuts, low pay and welfare sanctions and other policies have sent millions of the already poor into even deeper poverty, and have pushed many into poverty who weren’t before. And for some there have been tragic results. Who thought that in 21st century UK we’d have people driven to suicide, people starving to death, and unnecessary deaths triggered by stress and hardship.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/november5/16753988102/

Homelessness

Since 2010 when the coalition came into power homelessness has risen by as much as 55 percent and in London people sleeping rough has risen even more dramatically by a huge 80 percent since 2010!

HOMELESS levels in England have increased every year since the Tory-led coalition took power, the government’s own figures revealed
http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-a196-Tories-oversee-ever-rising-scourge-of-homelessness#.VUxgE_lVhBc

Continued Austerity

“…the Conservative Party promises to continue cutting government spending by a further 2% over the next two years if it is returned to power. This would not be as fast as the rate of cutting from 2010-2012, but it would be faster than the rate from 2012-2014. This will only serve to hinder British growth further.

According to Oxfam, the government’s austerity policies have devastated Britain’s middle and working classes in a variety of ways:

  • As a result of austerity, an addition 800,000 British children will live in poverty over the next decade.
  • Over the same period, 1.5 million working age adults will fall into poverty.
  • By 2018, 900,000 public sector workers will have lost their jobs.
  • The bottom 10% of British earners will have seen their incomes fall 38% over this government’s five year term.

Indeed, when we adjust for inflation, British workers have seen continual reductions in their wages over the course of this parliament”:
Read More
http://benjaminstudebaker.com/2015/05/02/britain-for-the-love-of-god-please-stop-david-cameron/

https://www.oxfam.org/sites/www.oxfam.org/files/cs-true-cost-austerity-inequality-uk-120913-en.pdf

The Killing of our wild animals

Don’t forget that your vote condemns wild animals to suffering and death. If you voted Tory you have voted for the possible reinstatement of the barbaric so-called sport of fox hunting and the continuation of the badger cull/ massacre.
The badger cull will be extended across the country

Cameron wants to repeal fox hunting ban:
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/david-cameron-says-he-wants-to-repeal-the-fox-hunting-ban-10091571.html

Badger culls would continue under new Tory government:
http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/feb/24/badger-culls-will-continue-under-new-tory-government-liz-truss-says

With regard Cameron’s obsession with repealing the fox hunting bill, ask yourself:
What does this say about the mentality of this man who has the power to affect people’s lives?  With the exception of the very rich, for most of us his policies have been a serious detriment. Most particularly for benefit claimants: sick, disabled and the unemployed. Also for the “hard working people” who are rewarded with low wages and zero hours contracts.

I despair this morning I feel sick at heart at the very thought of five more years of austerity for those of us who are sick, disabled, unemployed, and poor, those whose lives are already a living hell. If you voted Tory, do you not care that the rise in wages are the lowest since Victorian times. Do you not care that your fellow citizens have to use food banks – most are people in work who earn so little they do not have enough to eat!!!!! Do you not care that as a result of the Tories welfare reforms a diabetic died because he had no money to keep his insulin refrigerated , he was sadly was just one of thousands who died as a result of these wicked reforms.

Tory voters: Do you not care that the NHS is falling apart.

Are the British people so selfish that they no longer care for the underdog. Are they so stupid that they are willing to pay more and more for their energy. Are they so ignorant that they really believe life will now improve for us all in this the land of multimillionaires and billionaires who have accured more wealth while the rest of us have suffered under austerity.

Do you Conservative supporters think it is right that the UK now has more billionaires in residence than anywhere else on Earth while people rely on food banks, low income and in some cases no income as a result of benefit sanctions?

It has been announced that BT have made Two and half billion pounds profit , does it not bother you that they are allowed to make this money at your expense while people in our country starve to death? Live in poverty with no hope, no future?

While the Tories strive to end our welfare system they hand out tax breaks to corporations.

Does it not bother you Tory voters that while the government cut vital benefits to sick and disabled people and the unemployed they handed out what amounts to benefits to corporations to the tune of £85 billion.  During the last four years the drastic and unfair welfare reforms instigated by Labour have been progressively slashed still further by the coalition government resulting in thousands of deaths, including suicides, huge increases in homelessness misery and despair with more and more poverty-stricken people needing to resort to food banks. As unbelievable as it is people here in the UK have starved to death as a result of the government’s vicious welfare reforms.

Did you know that our privately run train service is kept afloat as a result of billions of pounds of grants provided by you the tax payer and that Amazon have paid less in corporation tax to the UK than it has received in government grants.

While the poor get poorer the rich get richer aided by government hand outs. Since the last election the wealth of the richest has increased by 11% while most of us have suffered the consequences of austerity measures, the most devastating of which have been the drastic cuts to benefits to sick and disabled people.

… research by the Equality Trust, which campaigns to reduce inequality in the UK, found that the richest 100 families in Britain in 2008 had seen their combined wealth increase by at least £15bn, a period during which average income increased by £1,233. Britain’s current richest 100 had the same wealth as 30% of UK households,

http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/jan/19/global-wealth-oxfam-inequality-davos-economic-summit-switzerland

Do you conservative voters not want a better world where all people have enough to live on, not only the essentials of life but enough to have a quality of life. Doesn’t the rise in capitalist greed and exploitation of our fellow human beings, other animals and the environment disgust you? Don’t you Conservatives feel ashamed that while the one percent own and of course control the majority of the vast resources of our world people die from want of food and clean water. While BT share holders enjoy their two billion plus people struggle to survive in Nepal – this huge amount of money would seriously help the thousands who are left in poverty after the earthquake in one of the poorest countries in the world.

Five more years of a Tory government will see the end of us all, the end of just and fair society.

Shame on anyone who voted Tory while benefits are being stripped from disabled people, people who are too sick to work who can in many cases barely cope with day-to-day living yet are considered fit to work and for non compliance are left destitute with no income, not even the means to obtain food, shelter or warmth, all of which are basic human rights that we all should demand. While food banks open at an alarming hitherto unparalleled rate and people die in their own homes from cold here in the sixth richest country in the world, the rich get richer.

Well I could go on and on the list of misery as a result of the Tory government is long and protracted.

Frankly if I had the wherewithall I would leave this damn country.

…the real victims of the Tory triumph will be the poor, disabled and workers on low wages and zero hours contracts. The welfare state itself is under threat.

The victims will be everybody who relies on a National Health Service threatened by privatisation and cuts.

We fear for everybody who isn’t rich or wealthy.

The Mirror
http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/disastrous-labour-election-leaves-poor-5657479

I fear for the future of the NHS and the welfare state, I fear for us all including wild animals and the environment – whats to stop this government steaming a head with fracking our countryside. Nothing absolutely nothing.

Thank you all you self-centred, ignorant, easily led Tory voters,  you have taken us further from social justice, a fair and equal world and a safe environment not only for us but for future generations.

 

Stop Workfare : Action Week 29th March-6th April

The wealthy have never liked to pay for the labor that enriches them. Ever since slavery was eliminated, they have been trying to keep it as close to slavery as they can without violating the slave laws.
Michael Moore

welcometoworkfare

Would you like to work for thirty hours each week for no pay. No of course not, such an idea is unacceptable. Yet the government are demanding that the unemployed work this number of hours for their benefit. Jobseekers allowance is not a wage, it is paid for one purpose only and that is to support those who are unemployed whilst they look for work. It is not payment for work. If it were the payment would be ridiculously low and therefore unlawful. On the lowest rate of £56.25 per week for those between the ages 16 to 24 it would amount to working for about £1.90 per hour. Not enough for even a single person to live on, let alone anyone with a family – by age twenty-four of course a man or woman could well have a family to support. It is inadequate as a benefit, it is inadequate as a wage.

In reality Workfare schemes are exploitative systems of free labour often undertaken whilst working for some of the biggest retailers in the UK, such as Tessco, ASDA and Boots. Charities have also taken part in these schemes, most notably the Salvation Army who were once the champions of the poor and the downtrodden. Oxfam have decided not to participate in the government’s workfare schemes because it undermines their work with the poor here in the UK. A sign of the changing times: when I worked for Oxfam a couple of decades ago their work did not include poor people here in the UK. There wasn’t the need.

Take Action

Please join Boycott Workfare’s action week to bring an end to forced unpaid labour here in the UK.

Our action can stop companies, charities and councils from exploiting forced unpaid work and make sure this new scheme falls flat on its face. Wherever you are, however you can contribute, take action on 29 March-6 April.

Read more and take action: http://www.boycottworkfare.org/?p=3353

Included in the above link are a number of actions you can take, please don’t feel overwhelmed, take as many actions as you can, even if it is to write only one letter or e-mail to participating councils, charities and businesses. Their is something everyone can do from writing letters to picketing retailers such as Peacocks.

This link will take you to a list of companies and organisations known to have used or be using Workfare
http://www.boycottworkfare.org/?page_id=16

Among other actions the next link will provide you with a template letter for you to download which you can adapt to send to companies profiting  from workfare and also a template letter which you may adapt and send to your MP along with their contact details
http://www.boycottworkfare.org/?page_id=82n  – You can also  download a poster such as the one above to print out or put on your website or blog or share on Facebook.

There are more actions you can take further down

Remember workfare affects us all. If you loose your job and claim Jobseekers allowance you could be required to participate in Workfare. If you are claiming Employment and Support Allowance ESA and have been allocated to the Work Related Activity Group WRAG  you may be sent to Workfare. Workfare is not voluntary. All three political parties consider it right to force people to work for no wages, so nothing will change after the next election. Workfare does not help people to find jobs. Workfare increases the already over inflated profits of big companies and Work programme providers, it gives millions of the tax payers’ money to the one percent while depriving the 99 percent of a decent standard of living and quality of life. In some way or another we are all affected, even if not personally you are likely to know someone who is, maybe a loved one such as a son or daughter,  a sibling, a friend even your granny – if you are of working age you are not exempt.

More about Workfare

Here in the UK Workfare refers to government schemes whereby welfare precipitants must undertake work in return for their benefit payments or risk losing them. For example, people on one Workfare scheme,  Mandatory Work Activity MWA, can be compelled to work without pay for a month or have their benefit cut for up to three years. As already mentioned it is not only unemployed recipients of Job seekers allowance who are forced to take part in Workfare schemes,  but sick and disabled people may also have to join the Workfare programme if they have been assigned to the WRAG of  ESA

Mandatory Work Activity will be replaced by the government’s new Help-to-Work scheme  from April 2014 .

A New scheme “Community Work Placements”launching on 1 April 2014 will force claimants to work for six months without pay. Six months – 780 hours – is more than twice the maximum community service sentence.

More Action for you to take

There are in addition to the above schemes less obvious Workfare programmes such as Traineeships,  a crafty way of introducing workfare for private companies. Unemployed people between the age of 18 and 21 will be forced to attend either a Traineeship, other unpaid work experience position or face a Community Work Placement.

Please read the following from the Void:  Let’s Make Shoezones’s Workfare Scheme Fall Apart Faster Than Their Shoes

Shoezone are in the firing line on social media over their use of unpaid workers after@boycottworkfare tweeted the latest list of companies using Traineeships to avoid paying their staff.

Traineeships are the latest attempt by the Tories to introduce workfare for private companies by stealth.  There is no pretence that Traineeships will lead to a real job with proper wages.  According to the DWP these schemes, which can involve up to six months of unpaid work, are to ‘prepare’ people for becoming Apprentices, at below the minimum wage.

Read more and take the recommended actions:

http://johnnyvoid.wordpress.com/2014/03/14/lets-make-shoezoness-workfare-fall-apart/

Traineeships are not apprenticeships. Note the comment in the above article from a representative of Shoe Zone concerning  what “training” young people can expect if they work for free at Shoezone : “greeting customers and assisting them with their purchases, training on the till, dealing with stock replenishment and deliveries, and general tidying and store presentation.”

Does that sound like an apprenticeship to you? Not wishing to demean shop work as I have been employed myself in retail, but no way is this kind of work an apprenticeship. Apprenticeships when I left school were for skilled trades such as a car mechanic or a hairdresser. Apprentices where never paid well but they were paid and apprentices learnt a trade, a skill. Work in retail as a sale assistant is not an apprenticeship. For my first job in retail I received a proper wage, it may have been slightly less than for a more experienced member of staff, but it was a wage nonetheless and after a short time of only a few months I was paid a full wage. I was trained on the job. The above “skills” can be learnt in a couple of weeks or so most likely less, as for deliveries and replenishments these would be specific to shoe Zone and not applicable else where.

Please be sure to click the link above and take action such as : Boycott Shoezone, “tell them what you think on twitter @Shoezone and facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/shoezone “

Workfare in all its guises is an unjust scheme which benefits the rich by providing them with profit as a result of compulsory free labour, it is a means of coercing the poor by threatening them with the removal of their benefits without which they cannot provide food for themselves or their families, or heat their homes or pay rent – not that the meagre benefit adequately covers these costs of course but to find yourself with no money at all is unthinkable.It also means less paid jobs are available for the unemployed and it undermines wages. For example last Christmas ASDA sent home paid staff and replaced them with people forced to work for nothing on the workfare scheme.

Workfare is slave labour, it is unethical, exploitative and not worthy of any modern socially progressive society which considers itself just .

There are a number of workfare schemes
Help to Work Scheme: 2 Minute Guide:
http://www.money.co.uk/article/1009976-help-to-work-scheme-2-minute-guide.htm – provides basic matter-of- fact  information

Read more about Workfare from Boycott Workfare
http://www.boycottworkfare.org/?page_id=663

It is not only private businesses and charities who take advantage of this pool of free labour, councils across the country have made use of half a million hours of unpaid work as a result of this unfair system. Newport council has used 112 people, mainly in its street cleaning and rubbish collection department for about four weeks at a time. Scarborough council has used 120 people. Bexley borough council in London has taken more than 100 unpaid placements.
Read More
http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/jan/02/councils-benefit-half-a-million-hours-unpaid-labour-foi-request

Please help the Workfare Action Week by clicking the following link if you have not already done so and take as much action as you can.
http://www.boycottworkfare.org/?p=3353

And please spread the word.