Thursday, 28 February 2008

Who Benefits?

How delightful to see the media ignoring almost completely the ridiculous James Purnell's latest "reforms" of the benefit system. Apparently, JSA claimants will have to prove that they are actively seeking work, and Incapacity Benefit claimants will have to produce sick notes. Imagine!

Nor is the involvement of the private sector anything new. Great swathes of the vast unemployment industry (staffed overwhelmingly by former long-term claimants who just happened to be on site when the vacancies arose) are already farmed out in this way, to ostensibly private companies whose profitability is absolutely guaranteed at public expense, and which are therefore perfectly free to be as over-staffed and over-resourced as they like.

In my time, I have repeatedly been the only "client" (signed on for the stamp - long story) in a room where, for hours on end, a dozen staff were logged onto eBay or Friends Reunited (which dates it a bit, but even so), just because they had nothing else to do.

But more of this is to come, promises the "radical" Purnell. As, indeed, does the "radical" Cameron. Can you contain your joy? I can certainly contain mine.

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