Posts Tagged ‘Job Centre’
Yesterday’s howling wind had headed off to torment someone else and we walked down to the allotment in a world suddenly quiet and sunlit. Even the pond fish were coming up for food as if to make the best of an autumn that yesterday seemed to have raced into winter. Tonight we have to put the clocks back so to maximise the hen’s allocation of light we all have to foresake our beds somewhat earlier from now on. Annoying though that is it does serve to remind us that everyone needs some reason to get up each morning!
Sadly Phil’s son suddenly lacks that basic spur. A few weeks ago the company he has worked for all his working life announced swingeing redundancies. From that low point he has sunk ever lower for his constant visits to the Job Centre reveal that jobs in this area are as rare as hen’s teeth and there are certainly none calling for his engineering skills. He has been urged to compose a CV, a difficult task for one who has only ever worked for one employer and at one location. His greatest fear now is a long period of job-hunting for prospective employers are reluctant to take on anyone who has been unemployed for a long time.
All this was in my mind when I watched a programme on the Beeb yesterday evening. One of the unemployed featured was in much the same situation as Tom, having worked for British Rail and the privatised companies that succeeded it. The last of these was Jarvis and they ended up in receivership. Suddenly he found himself on the streets and has quickly found that there is no demand for highly skilled train maintenance fitters. He was angry and depressed and talked of being written off at fifty.
Another victim had been unemployed for a long time, yet still bravely pestered every potential source of work. He is now living in a tent which is an appalling fate in the winter months. He refuses to seek state aid and survives on one meal a day provided at a York drop-in centre. This articulate and decent man desires only the chance to work and pay his way. To date the only opportunity has been an agency which provides occasional work and when his phone rings he has to go to local facilities to smarten up for fear of the company finding that he is ‘living rough’.
I am sure that right now there are thousands of people struggling in this way. In constantly banging on about people getting back to work, Osborne is doing many a great injustice. It is simply not true that all unemployed people are work-shy, the truth is that unemployment is rocketing and there are no jobs to be found. Of course there are malingerers and the state must stop pouring money their way, but there must be jobs to force them into.
The depressing aspect of the coalition’s approach is that it addresses only part of the problem of unemployment. It rightly identifies the nonsense of paying benefits so large that there is a disincentive to work. But without vacancies this is a recipe for trouble. There need to be work centres that provide hope for the conscientious and a resource for officials ruling that those less so must pay their own way.
And neither this government nor the last has shown any imagination in tackling this dilemma. Some years ago a group of us retired old ‘uns helped to set up a number of low-cost ‘mini workshops’. They specialised in packaging and in renovation. We avoided the astronomically high management costs which now bedevil every large British Company and were able to set very competitive prices. Today those workshops have expanded and are now profitable.
Such a scheme could become a national blueprint. Young entrepeneurs could be given incentives to launch their own local enterprise, and a small amount of the vast resulting savings in benefits payments could be used to fund the launch on a repayable basis. Many good men and women who want to work would be plucked out of abject misery, the legendary shirkers we hear so much about could be obliged to join or face a life without hand-outs.
Undoubtedly better brains than those of ferret-men could come up with better ideas. It is high time that they did, for to plough on with a massive campaign on benefits wihout an option of employment is to court disaster. If this policy is pursued it will not just be the malcontents who man the barricades and placards. Thousands of men and women who desperately seek employment will eventually be stung into joining the mobs.
Everyone so affected would feel a whole lot better if government was seen to be at least trying to create employment rather than banging on about the private sector solving the problem unaided. That isn’t going to happen anytime soon and stories such as those of British Airways will simply increase doubt and resentment. That company is going to enormous lengths to reduce payments to cabin crews whilst awarding bosses such as Willie Walsh and Keith Williams pay rises of over 12 per cent to pile on top of astronomic salaries. They are far from alone, as this site revealed yesterday all the Directors of our major companies are pocketing millions whilst reducing the number of people employed.
As a chief executive I expected to earn more that the workforce to compensate me for the pressure and time commitment. I always saw a ratio of four to be justified. Now that is obsolete thinking and executives expect to be paid two hudred times the amount of men and women on their ‘shop floors’. Greed pervades the land and job creation is the last thing on the minds of our noveau rich.
Politicians are held in low regard now but they are the only show in town. Unless they decide to take imaginative initiatives and stop pandering to their wealthy business tycoons the situation will progressively worsen. And at some point they will regret the decision to eliminate police resources for handling demonstrations!
VICTORY IN EUROPE? HARDLY!
The Prime Minister headed off to Brussels promising to cut or freeze plans for a huge hike in the EU budget at a time when every member state is cutting everything that moves and most things that don’t. He returned having conceded a rise of at least 2.9 per cent which will cost Britain around £430 million, money we haven’t got. That is not victory Mr Cameron, it is defeat!
To make things worse a European Commission official was quick to point out that such decisions do not rest with the Heads of States but with the European Parliament which is expected to restore the originally planned masive hike of almost 7 per cent. Once again we learn of aspects of the Treaty that have signed away our sovereign powers without any consultation with the British people.
At least David Cameron undoubtedly spoke for the majority yesterday when he declared that he is a Eurosceptic. He is sceptical about “granting yet more powers to Europe” and “that money is well spent”. We cannot know whether this truly reflects his self understanding. But his deeds have not matched his words and there is every indication that he too is going to duck out of the committment to hold a referendum when the new rewording of the Treaty now being demanded by many countries takes place.
The only consolation in a scenario that sees the undemocratic and bloated EU crowd take full control of these islands is that we can make savings by dispensing with Westminster and all its works!
YESTERDAY’S QUIZ ANSWERS; 1. Feyenoord 2. Watergate
TODAY’S QUESTIONS; 1. In which year did Genral Franco die? 2. What position did Andrey Gromyko hold in the Soviet government in the 70s?
The biggest spy swap since the Cold War kept us ferret-breeders entertained as we waited for the Spain versus Holland showdown consoled only by the fact that there will be one Brit on the pitch, albeit the referee. In fact it encouraged those of us currently making regular visits to the Job Centre to wonder just how one goes about becoming what is now referred to as an agent. Appetites were whettened by the terms on offer, the Kremlin having announced that those returning would be offered appartments for life and up to £2000 per month living allowance.
That presumably is a low rate since the people returning to Russia are clearly low-grade, the ten having been accepted as a job lot in exchange for just four heading the other way. And it is easy to undertsnad that since they all seem to have been engaged in obtaining information that could easily have been gained at the local libraries collection of social surveys. In fairness they seem to have worked hard because many neighbours gave evidence of having seen them photographing milkmen and paper-boys but the use of it all has to be open to question.
John Le Carre, who knows a thing or two about the noble art, has described those nicked in the United States as ‘spy-babies’ equipped with magic dead-letter boxes and microdots. He also raises an interesting point. Whose great cause did they think they were serving? Were the ghosts of Russia’s past whispering to them? Were they dreaming of Josef Stalin’s second coming or the Tsars of the Holy Russian Empire brought alive?
Once upon a time spies had motives. There was capitalism and there was communism. You could choose who to serve. Yes there was also the blackmail, the sex, and the feeling of getting your own back when you had been passed over for promotion but deep down there was a cause. But now there is just Mother Russia and Mother America, two huge continents out of control drowning together in the oily waters of capitalism. Presumably spying is now just a job, not a vocation.
All that apart some of my colleagues in the allotment shed are displeased at the announcement that one of those shipped off by the Americans has applied to come her to do her spying. Why she feels the need to apply when anyone can just walk in is another matter, but in essence my pals feel that it is unfair. In the Premiership foreign players keep our own out of the game and now in spying the same is to be allowed. Prepostorous and anyway we can tell Putin all he needs to now about our milkmen without his having to subsidise the Home office whose budget no longer allows for such things.
The sad thing is that when spying would really be useful it is never available. Take the scandal of Deepcut barracks. Four young recruits were the subject of fatal shootings there and to this day there is no logical explanation. Shortly before the election the father of one received a letter from Nick Clegg criticising the government’s refusal to allow a full inquiry. And the Lib Dem’s then shadow armed forces minister, Nick Harvey, also slammed the government for failing to take action to ‘get to the bottom of these tragic events’. Now Harvey is the actual armed forces minister and, in true Lib Dem tradition has changed his mind.
All that is known is that at the time of the deaths Deepcut was alleged by some to be out of control with vulnerable young trainess exposed to bullying. Hopefully the Courts will eventually order an inquiry but in the meantime it is an example of an area of activity where good old fashioned spying or whistle-blowing might be of benefit rather than a modern version of a Brian Rix farce.
NEWS HEADLINES; Nick Clegg has remarked that coalitions are here for good and we have seen the last of the two party system. XX Lib Dem leaders in Liverpool have warned of a mass desertion of the Party by disillusioned members and elected representatives. XX The VAT rise will cost charities £150 million according to the Charity Tax group.
THINGS I DIDN’T KNOW UNTIL YESTERDAY; Four million men were demobbed between June 1945 and December 1946. XX The Mini , designed by Alec Issigonis, was launched in 1959 at a retail price of £497.By 1965 one million had been sold!