I’m back on my soapbox after a couple of hours catching up with emails and applying for another voluntary job, I do hope that the application form doesn’t end up in the shredder like all my other application forms and CVs.
To rub salt in my wounds the Tory MP Phillip Davies has said today that people with disabilities and mental health problems should take lower wages!
I know there are a lot of us that are desperate to get back into the workplace, but seriously, would you take less than minimum wage? I’d like to be able to keep the roof over my head and be able to feed myself thanks. I think it’s just pure exploitation. Talking of exploitation, there were rumours floating around the internet that the minimum wage would get axed, well it almost did, there was supposed to be an amendment that would enable the minimum wage to adjusted to reflect the local job market, so therefore if I did a minimum wage job back in my home town of Llanelli, which is economically deprived I would be paid less than if I did a minimum wage job here in Coventry. This would be a disaster; luckily the reading has been cancelled.
Amongst the right wing vitriol that’s been banded about by the media branding ESA (employment and support allowance) claimants and DLA claimants as lazy layabouts, leader of the Labour party, Ed Milliband has been at it to.
Doesn’t he realise that unemployed and disabled people can vote to as well as his precious “squeezed middle”, I don’t mean to bleat on, but what about us severely squashed bottom? The Welfare Reform Bill has been a hot topic, not just in our house, but nationally, currently it’s being read in the House of Lords and is been pushed through a bit to fast for my liking. The Welfare Reform Bill encompasses a lot of things, from “workfare” and sanctions for Job Seeker’s Allowance claimants, ESA time limits, Personal Independence Payment to the new Universal Credit. Currently, I don’t really have that much faith in the DWP, the day before yesterday I phoned one of their call centres to make a claim for ESA, as my GP has signed me off sick and the operative hung up on me as I was confirming my name, address and National Insurance number, I guess he had never spoken to a person with TS before, let alone coprolalia. I phoned again and spoke to another operative and the forms that she completed arrived through my letterbox yesterday, I knew I suffered from depression, but I wonder what “Terrets” is, if you know please let me know, because I like to try and keep tabs on my health.
Less about me and more about the Welfare Reform Bill, we have been told by staff in the local Job Centre Plus that the “workfare” scheme for JSA claimants should be rolled out by the end of the month. While the right wing press are all for getting the benefit scroungers off their backsides and do some work, I wonder if they have really thought this through. Amongst these benefit scroungers are people with disabilities and mental health problems being pushed through a system by employment advisors that have very little or no experience of the problems that we face, both coping with the disability itself and the discrimination that is rife amongst employers. (I’ve lost count of how many jobs I’ve applied for). Back to the workfare, I found out today that it will be mainly big businesses that will be gaining from this scheme, in all seriousness what employers would turn down the opportunity to have free employees? So if you’re on JSA at the moment, or find yourself unemployed you may find yourself working in well known budget clothing store where the customers throw things on the floor (you know where I mean) or a well know store where everything costs £1. So these companies rather than hire a permanent member of staff will take on a string of free employees for a period of four weeks, then it’s back to signing on as before. The idea of “workfare” is all well and good, but in the private sector I feel that these big businesses are benefiting from an unfortunate, unemployed person, (slave labour), if however this scheme was restricted to community projects (not-for-profit) or charities this would be far more beneficial, both for the organisation involved, the JSA claimant and the community as a whole.
If you have any questions you would like to ask me about the Welfare Reform Bill, please be my guest, ask away.