Welcome to the Jungle

Welcome to the Jungle

So far I’ve only had on question relating to the new “Universal Credit” which will be phased in from next year – so here goes.

“I have never heard of Universal Credit! What is it? A new name for an old benefit?”

A new benefit, with a new name, lots of hot air coming from politicians about how the new Universal Credit will “incentivise” people to start work and remain in work. I’m a bit more analytical and can’t really see this at the moment. In a nutshell Universal Credit will be replacing the following benefits –

•Jobseekers Allowance

•Income based Employment and Support Allowance

•Housing Benefit

•Working Tax Credits

•Child Tax Credits

•Income Support

The reasoning behind this is that it will cut out beurocracy as these benefits I’ve just listed need to applied for and are administered by different bodies and also make the transition from unemployment to work smoother, for example make it worth your while working for a temping agency who have work some days but not others. It remains too been seen however how this could improve the lot of ticcers like myself who would love to go back to work but couldn’t handle working fulltime. One of the changes that will be implemented is that unlike benefits at the moment that are paid fortnightly they will be paid monthly in a lump sum – the whole Universal Credit, which also includes a sum for your rent which replaces Housing Benefit/Council Tax Benefit that is paid by your local council. At the moment some councils pay HB direct to landlords (Coventry does) and some pay direct to the tenant (Nuneaton & Bedworth do). One might also hope that the creation of a new benefit and all it would bring (new IT systems, clerical staff etc) some new job would be created, but so far the IT systems are being developed and created in India. I didn’t see those jobs down the local Job Centre. If you’d like to find out more follow the link - turn2us.org.uk/information_... as I find out more, I will blog about it.

On a similar but different theme I’ve been looking into Beecroft’s report on Employment Law, this is not good, some might say that the Condemns are out of touch with reality and bringing in such legislation would take us back to a Victorian way of life. Err….that’s the effect that they’re after. For those who haven’t come across this news yet the Condemns would like to bring in some of Beecroft’s recommendations into law to “help the economy” anybody with half a brain can see that it doesn’t create jobs, it doesn’t help the economy, it just creates misery for those lucky enough to land a job. Here’s a couple of little changes they’d like to make –

•Make it easier for employers to fire staff.

•Employers should also no longer have to advertise jobs at local Job Centre Plus offices before hiring a foreign worker.

•Ditching flexible parental leave.

•His report took aim at the Equality Act 2010, suggesting scrapping the part of the law which makes employers responsible for discrimination harassment by one employee or customer against another member of staff.

•Employers could opt in to certain regulations if it was stopping them hiring people.

Here’s more - telegraph.co.uk/news/politi...

This sounds familiar, at the moment I’m reading Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle” it seems as though this is where they've found their ideas. Written in 1906 after Sinclair undertook his research which involved working in the meatpacking factories and stockyards of Chicago(see picture). The novel is about a young man who emigrates from Lithuania along with his fiancée and her family to start a better life, the novel is based on the information he was given by the workers he met in the factories and in the saloons. The grinding poverty they endured and the common practices that the meatpackers (large companies) practiced both in terms of employment law – virtually none, if an employee fell into a lard vat for instance, it would be pointless to retrieve their remains, which entered the food-chain and families were told that their loved one had “gone away”. Workers were sacked at a whim and replaced with willing workers from the next wave of immigrants, there was no sick pay or compensation, these places were dangerous, I know the average Friesian Holstein cross dairy cow weighs around a tone, about the same as a small car, a dead one landing on you would hurt. Also with regards to welfare – there wasn’t any (Tory utopia) so you just had to carry on till you dropped and sent you kids to work also. This also one of the recommendations made in Beecroft’s report – he’d like to see it easier for employers to hire kids. At the moment I have a picture in my head of a sweatshop full of kids in a back street in Mumbai, I thought society was meant to go forward and hopefully there wouldn’t be any sweatshops manned by kids anywhere in the world.

I would recommend reading “The Jungle” here’s some more info about it and its writer Upton Sinclair.

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