Weekly Round up 24/02/2012

News in Brief

Lots of new developments on the Welfare reform front again this week and the issues surrounding various work related programmes and the allegations regarding A4E are well documented elsewhere so we’ll try and leave these well alone. There’s plenty of other things of interest.

The DWP issued statistics on the amount of money lost through fraud and error this week, choosing to issue a press release which focused on fraud despite error costing 1.5 times as much. DWP also published information on the amount of benefits unclaimed during 2009/10 . No press release accompanied this information despite an estimated £7-£12 billion worth of benefits going unclaimed. Fraud was estimated to cost only £1.2 billion.

At the top of this post is an image from a campaign to crack down on ‘benefit thieves’. I couldn’t find an image or a campaign relating to unclaimed benefits – maybe we could start one around ‘benefit philanthropy’?

Child benefit changes were back in the news with a Conservative MP claiming the policy to withdraw the benefit from higher rate taxpayers is ‘in serious trouble’   whilst Janet Daley, in The Telegraph, questioned the planning behind the policy

Local firm Greggs have made the news on a couple of occasions recently, firstly as a result of a considered response to a letter regarding their participation in the voluntary Work Experience scheme and then when the Chief Executive Sir Ken McMeikan voiced some concerns over elements of the programmes. The former Chief Exec of Greggs, Sir Mike Darrington, also made the news when he spoke out against executive pay

Employment

Sunderland was identified as the 3rd worst city in which to find a job this week and whilst most attention has been focused on work experience, placement programmes and ‘jobsnobs’, Daniel Knowles identified a broken training system as the real problem and Jeremy Warner suggested firms would hire more workers if we ‘make it easier to fire them’

Campaigns

Newcastle CVS and VONNE published the findings from their Surviving not Thriving survey focussing on Newcastle’s voluntary sector. The report highlighted that 20% of respondents thought that they may close within 12 months

General comment

The Mirror highlighted a Barnardo’s report which demonstrated the choices people on low incomes are forced to make

A very interesting BBC report highlighted the ‘history of distrust of disability’

Two articles in The Guardian – one by Suzanne Moore on how we, as a society, appear to be disgusted by poor people, rather than poverty and one by Barbara Ellen which suggested that today, poverty not had only to be proved but also had to ‘be highly visible and in an almost theatrical way’

Finally, Neil Davenport suggested that ‘maybe the jobless should get on their bikes’ on Spiked Online

Signpost(s) of the week

The ever excellent Inequalities Blog have posted a number of interesting articles recently but this one in particular caught my eye – disspelling the myth of families that have never worked

Graphic of the week

The number of part time workers who can’t find a full-time job is at its highest leevvl since records began. This is particularly worrying given what we already know about in-work poverty, forthcoming changes to the tax-credit system and the potential to extend conditionality to those people already in work. The chart below is from The New Statesman blog and was compiled using stats from the Labour Force Survey

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