Not Fit To Work

at

David+Cameron+Enda+Kenny+Prime+Minister+David+W1Ble1MfEbDl
paulmurphy

From top: David Cameron and Enda Kenny; Paul Murphy

Much of the Programme for Government is lifted from the Tory playbook.

Including the inhuman ‘Fit For Work’ Scheme.

Anti Austerity Alliance TD Paul Murphy writes:

Writing in the Irish Independent on May 13, John Downing asked ‘how many more bombs’ are hiding in the Programme for Government.

Quite a few as it turns out.

While Fine Gael had to give some concessions on policy, like water charges, in the long discussions to form a government, the final document itself is ‘blue’ through and through.

Many of the policies contained in it are carbon copies of policies which Fine Gael’s sister party, the Conservatives, have been implementing in Britain.

The plans for the health service with the introduction of the hospital trust model and the opening up of the service for privatisation is, in its fundamentals, a copy and paste job of David Cameron’s policies over the last years.

The Tories announced a scheme to link child benefit to school attendance – and voila – there it is in the Irish Programme for government, apparently pushed by ex-Fine Gael TD and now minister Denis Naughton.

One of the most controversial policies the Tories have championed is a scheme which assesses the ability of sick and disabled people to work, the work capability assessment (WCA), and linking this with benefits.

This is part of their broader WorkFare programme which itself has an Irish cousin in the form of labour activation measures like JobBridge, Gateway and JobPath introduced by the previous government.

In the document that forms the basis for government reference is made to the introduction of a ‘Fit for Work’ programme aimed at assessing the ability of sick and disabled people, who are currently out of work and in receipt of benefit payments, to work or engage in labour activation schemes.

This could be one of the bombs that explodes in the laps of Kenny & Co.

Like with JobBridge when we launched the ScamBridge campaign in 2012 to expose the reality behind that scheme, it is time to ring the alarm bells on this Fit for Work programme and call for it to be scrapped.

ScamBridge’s assessment of the JobBridge scheme proved to be accurate – the exploitation that it involved with many scandals coming to light and its comparison with the British Workfare scheme. The mainstream media, trade unions and even that scheme’s champions, the Labour Party, have now turned their back on it and are calling for it to go.

The Fit for Work programme is couched in the same fluffy language as JobBridge – it will provide ‘supports’ for people who wish to return to work providing bridges and pathways.

However, like JobBridge and other activation measures this is really about removing people’s access to benefits and providing cheap labour to business.

The clue is in the name – it intends to declare people who are currently assessed as ill or disabled as being ‘fit for work’ to remove entitlements.

The introduction of this scheme in Britain has had devastating consequences which should serve as a warning for us.

2,380 people who were declared fit for work in Britain were dead within six weeks, that’s 90 a month, after having their payments stopped.

Over 40,000 were dead within a year between 2010 and 2014, many from suicide which campaigners say is directly attributable to the scheme.

People with disabilities and people with illnesses are directed to attend a work capability assessment which is run by a private company. A position of ‘disbelief’ is adopted by the assessor; the onus is on the individual to ‘prove’ their illness or disability.

What has been described as a ‘box-ticking exercise’ then ensues which often ignores GP and medical records.

The tasks which are used to assess someone’s fitness are basic – meaning that for instance someone who has suffered multiple heart attacks or recovering from cancer may be physically able to do a task; however repetition of such tasks in a workplace environment may suffer a relapse or bring on further illness.

For example, in recent weeks the case of Kenny Bailey has come to light. Mr. Bailey suffered a massive stroke leaving him partially paralysed and having had some of his skull removed to decrease the pressure on his brain.

However, having been found to be able to get up from a chair and walk 200 yards unaided he was declared fit to work.

Mental health disturbances or illnesses are all but ignored by the assessors. People suffering from different forms of mental health illnesses such as severe depression, anxiety or aggro-phobia were given a clean bill of health.

The result being that huge numbers of vulnerable people have been left in a position where they had their illness benefit cut off and have been unable to cope with the situation which they find themselves in or know where to go to access the appeals system or other social supports.

For instance in 2014, 44 year old Mark Woods, who suffered from ‘complex mental health conditions’ and eating disorders was found dead weeks after his benefits had been cut.

A letter from his doctor to the jobcentre said that he was ‘extremely unwell and absolutely unfit for work’ and pleaded with them not to cut his benefits because ‘he would not cope with the extra stress…his condition is extremely serious’.

However, he was cut off, as his doctor predicted he was unable to cope and essentially died from malnourishment, weighting just 5st 8lbs at the time of his death.

Money and profits are at the heart of schemes like this for right-wing governments and the companies who operate them.

While saying that schemes are there to help people into work, what they are really about is ‘making work pay’ – not by providing well-paid jobs but by cutting welfare.

The aim is to make social payments so low that no matter what health condition someone is in, they will be better off working, even if it kills them.

Furthermore, not only does it cut the safety net for people now, but it raises the bar by which future applications for welfare assistance will be decided.

People who clearly shouldn’t be working will be forced into low-paid, unsuitable jobs to try to survive. It will brutalise society.

For the companies who are given contracts to run these schemes there are massive profits to be made.

The companies are provided with a ‘reward’ for every person they can get into a job, no matter how unsuitable. There have been investigations into these companies based on allegations that they had defrauded the state by faking results.

One set of serious allegations were made against Seetec by three whistle-blowers. They were alleged to have placed disabled people into companies as free ‘interns’.

However, they then claimed to the Department of Work and Pensions that they had got them jobs, they claimed the ‘reward’ payment and from that gave a ‘wage’ to the disabled interns.

Seetec have recently won the contract in Ireland to provide the services to the government’s JobPath programme.

The use of fit-to-work assessments on disabled people, along with other ‘welfare reforms’, has led to the launching of a UN investigation into whether these types of assessments have broken their human rights.

The bar for the launching of an investigation of this type is that the claimant has to prove ‘severe’ and ‘continuous’ breaches of rights before an investigation will begin.

This investigation is historic because it is the first enquiry of its kind to be launched by the UN committee on the rights of persons with disabilities.

The inquiry will produce its report in 2017. David Cameron has tried to laugh it off. However the launching of this investigation should be a warning to everyone about how serious and potentially fatal this approach is. It should also act as a warning to the Irish government who are going down a similar line.

This horror story is why we have to oppose and force the government to drop the idea of introducing an Irish Fit to Work.

Over the last number of years, with the introduction of labour activation measures like Gateway and JobBridge we have witnessed a move in this direction. Unemployment has been treated as an individual problem rather than a societal one.

Worryingly, in the context of the British experience we have witnessed a drastic increase in the sanctioning of welfare entitlements related to labour activation schemes – sanctions have increased by 1,177% between 2011 and 2015.

This lays the basis for the use of sanctions of this nature against sick and disabled people.

Decency has to apply. If someone is sick they should not be forced to work under the threat of being thrown into abject poverty by having their payments cut.

People with disabilities want to work; it is often they who are actually stopped from gaining a job by employers due to discrimination. There needs to be enforced legislation with serious teeth to punish discrimination in the workplace. Training, education and other supports should be provided by the state to genuinely assist people with disabilities into work.

The approach of using threats, bullying and poverty as supposed motivators to disabled people will not work.

The government has been forced back on a number of issues in recent weeks, they need to be forced back on this one too.

Paul Murphy is an Anti-Austerity Alliance TD for Dublin South West. Follow Paul on Twitter: @paulmurphy

109 thoughts on “Not Fit To Work

  1. Harry Molloy

    Is Paul a columnist now!? Welcome if so.

    I would love to see more centrist contributions personally but maybe that isn’t the ethos Broadsheet is going for, or maybe there haven’t been any offers?

    1. Jesus Wept

      Personally nobody should have a problem with the cutting of illness benefits to people who can actually work.There is huge amount of exploitation of the social welfare system.
      However this is more about generating cheap/slave labour.

      1. Joe Small

        There’s also the fact that many disabled people want to work and can’t get into the labour force. That needs work too.

        1. Dόn 'The Unstoppable Force' Pídgéόní

          Absolutely. But best if government don’t cut the benefits helping them do so

      2. MoyestWithExcitement

        “There is huge amount of exploitation of the social welfare system.”

        How much is there?

        1. classter

          The truth is that we have no real idea, however, it is only right that the system has appropriate checks & balances. The alternative is that taxpayers lose faith in the system & anecdotal info about the odd skiver is used to tar all those in receipt of welfare.

          The ‘fit to work’ scheme is a good idea if it is implemented carefully, sensitively & competently.

          Whether you believe this will be the case is a different matter. It certainly doesn’t appear to have been the case in the UK

        2. MoyestWithExcitement

          “The alternative is that taxpayers lose faith in the system & anecdotal info about the odd skiver is used to tar all those in receipt of welfare.”

          Welfare cuts have proven to be counter productive over and over again. If the cost of looking after people is a few angry tabloid readers saying angry things online, I’m ok with it.

          1. classter

            ‘If the cost of looking after people is a few angry tabloid readers saying angry things online, I’m ok with it.’

            But that isn’t the cost.

            If you don’t bring the public along with you, then there is no support for welfare or public services & it won’t matter whether you think this is counterproductive or not (as it happens, I agree with you).

            This is a central message which the left (inasmuch as we have one) do not seem to be able to grasp. Being left-wing needs to mean working, reliable public services and systems which the public trust.

          2. Homercleese

            @classter

            Agreed, but in an environment where ALL mainstream media publications (particularly so in Britain) have spent 20 year vilifying the very notion of social welfare there sometimes simply insn’t time to re-educate people so they can be brought along to the humane conclusion.
            The fact is that, again using Britain as an example (as they are much more effectively polled and studied), welfare fraud is estimated to account for a cost of a couple of billion, maximum, to the exchequer. That’s not insignificant and needs to be tackled, but corporate tax avoidance, at about £80 billion a year is a lot more destructive to a society.
            As is shown by societies like the scandies or Japan, which tackle inequality, though in different ways (high progressive taxation versus much more equalised salaries) people know when they’re being shafted by a grossly unequal society and act accordingly more dishonestly in regard to to to swindle it. Address that and you’d see people appreciating and respecting it more.

            It’ll take a long time, that’s the only thing. There’s no humane way to force people out of the anti-social habits that they’re forced to adopt during economically persecutive periods. You just have to throw money at the problem and hopes that some of it sticks, that more and more people take advantage of the opportunities allowed to them and us it to pull themselves out of it.

            That’s why it’s obviously much more cost effective not to create such a situation in the first place.

      3. Dόn 'The Unstoppable Force' Pídgéόní

        Is there? Less than 1% fraud in the UK. Prior are more likely to not claim benefits they are entitled to then defraud the system.

        MPs on the other hand be getting free houses but that’s different

        1. Andrew Kennett

          It’s always “different”… one rule for them, and another for us.

          Heaven forbid they get caught out for fraud/overpayments either… slap on the wrist for them, and no need to pay pack the full amount… whereas for a “normal” person, they have to repay the full amount, and usually get sent to prison!

      4. Clampers Outside!

        “There is huge amount of exploitation of the social welfare system.”

        No, there is not.

        If you pick a number out of the air and say, “that’s a huge number” then yes, but when you compare the amount to be saved with investment in collection, it’s not.

        Then, for perspective and to find out what a real “huge” number looks like… if you compare the amount to be saved in corporate and individual wealth, legalised and not legalised, tax dodging, and the amount invested in preventing that which is tiny in comparison to welfare fraud, then you could very well use the word “huge”.

        This little piece was brought to you by the ‘Near & Far Away Perspectives Institute’

    1. Declan

      I know but on Paul’s logic we can expect crushing austerity and service cut backs when Paul becomes Taoiseach. Syriza have just voted through a load of cut backs and tax rises and he’s best buddies with them

      1. Cyrano de Bergerac

        Not really though, he has been consistently critical of Syriza (something about reformists) since they won the fist election in February 2015 and his party is affiliated with Xekinima who left Syriza back in 2011.

        There was a sizable split within Syriza in September of 2015 after Tsipras’s acceptance of the debt memorandum, but don’t let that get in the way.

        1. Declan

          Paul and SF jumped on the Syriza bandwagon. He reversed his position after they caved in.

          To be fair he’s just doing what Labour did after they got into Power the last time – the circumstances changed

          1. Atticus

            “Paul and SF jumped on the Syriza bandwagon. He reversed his position after they caved in.”

            Is that not what everybody does when they support a person/group. As soon as they see that the group is not fulfilling their promises, they abandon them, or as you put it, reverse their position.

          2. Declan

            Some people do, others try and work with them – it’s like asking so embody what’s the difference between the AAA and PBP (Not much other than the PBP seems nicer)

          3. Cyrano de Bergerac

            If by jumping on the bandwagon you mean extended critical support for a group with similar goals then he sure did, It’s both incorrect misleading to imply he was some sort of cheerleader.

            It’s not really the same as Labour, who at best claim a progressive stance on social issues while avoiding any legislation that could be construed to the left. Different political philosophy, different way of doing things.

            There’s like six socialists spread across two parties in the Dail, at best they’re decades from power.

  2. H

    I couldn’t agree more, as I’m sure you’re all sick of hearing, I help run a Foodbank in London and some of the people I have seen that had been declared fit to work were most definitely not. One that sticks out in my mind was a man who suffered blackouts which meant he had to stop working on building sites, as he was unskilled in other areas he tried road sweeping but, as the scars on his head showed, he kept blacking out and hitting his head on the pavement so had to give it up.

    This is just one of many people I have dealt with, most of whom were clearly unfit to work and some who had had doctors letters declaring them unfit ignored, like the person referred to above. This system is completely wrong, it assumes that suitable jobs are available for the few things a disabled or ill person *may* be able to do and worst of all, it penalises people for things that are beyond their control.

    It needs to be stopped – I hope you succeed.

      1. Andrew Kennett

        Which is why you all need to fight it, like you did the water charges… if not with more vigour than before.

  3. DubLoony

    Ken Loach film on this very topic just won Palm D’Or in Cannes.
    The system in UK is particularly barbaric. They cut benefits off for stupid reasons there. This for some people who are only getting £50 a week.

    The Children’s allowance based on school attendance is already defeated.

    1. Andrew Kennett

      I’m currently living – in the UK – on only my DLA, which would normally be in the region of £21 a week, but I’m currently having a third of that deducted, so I’m currently on about £56 every 4 weeks, total. This will be happening until July/August roughly, so that is all I’m receiving right now in terms of benefits. I’ve been in this situation since December, ironically since I went away to Ireland for 2 weeks to see my family. I’ve been struggling hugely since then, as prior to then, I was on JSA, which I was told to go onto whilst my ESA appeal was being looked at. My ESA was cut because I was too unwell to attend one of the “fitness to work” tests (Work Capability Assessments), and because of my health, I can’t claim JSA.

      Additionally, I have to go through a new ESA claim, because my situation/health has worsened as a result of all this, but the entire process I’m going through right now is an absolute shambles! To help me, my mum is currently sending me £10 a week from Ireland, which is all she can afford, and whilst it does help me a little, I’m not really able to meet my financial commitments with such a small overall amount, so I fall behind in my bills.

      Honestly, it’s so important that the Tory measures aren’t passed in Ireland, because I honestly believe that it’ll result in substantial foodbank usage, people falling into poverty, and most likely, deaths similar to how they’re happening in the UK!

      1. A Certain Ratio

        Todd : Daddy, what do taxes pay for?

        Ned : [Chuckles] Why, everything! Policemen, trees, sunshine- and let’s not forget the folks who just don’t feel like working, God bless ’em.

      2. Gorev Mahagut

        None of us can survive without help from others. The predatory lie of Fit To Work is that dependence is a moral sin for which the individual must be punished. Those who propagate this savagery do so because they profit from it.

        1. A Certain Ratio

          Preach on, Comrade!

          Your ‘basic income’ sets a floor for work-shy scobes, and the groundwork for generations of people with no desire (or need) to work.

      3. Anne

        They are many who advocate for that due to the fact that with technological advances, there will be less and less jobs for people..

        Here –
        http://www.techinsider.io/basic-income-could-be-the-only-solution-in-a-robot-economy-2016-4
        Robots are replacing workers faster than our economy can handle. Some evidence even suggests that today’s technology could feasibly replace 45% of jobs right now.

        The consequence may ultimately be that people will no longer be able to make money based on their usefulness in society — because they won’t be useful anymore. They = YOU.

  4. DubLoony

    “ScamBridge’s assessment of the JobBridge scheme proved to be accurate”
    Not that there was bias there to start with!

    There are problems with it, which is why its been under scrutiny again. It was set up to combat “can’t get job without experience, can’t get experience without a job” problem in the depths of the worst recession we’ve seen in this country. No-one was hiring young people. There was exploitation for sure, but there are also people that benefited from it was well.

    Murphy just wanted to pull it down but offered no ideas to replace it or deal with 30%+ youth unemployment.

    1. BobbyJ

      JobBridge was not established to deal with youth unemployment. If it was, it would have operated with an upper age limit in place.

  5. SnaggyD

    What a surprise the Right ignoring and being suspicious of scientific advice. What is the point of society training medical doctors if you are to ignore their findings, might as well stop training them as save the taxpayer a packet.

  6. Robyn

    Surely fitness to work assessments have always been there? When I was unwell for a time, and on illness benefit I was required to attend medical assessments with the department to verify my entitlement. It so happened that it only needed a couple of seconds to confirm that I was unwell. If someone is fit for work they should be called out on it though.

    The argument that what constitutes fit or unfit is a whole other kettle of fish, and that is where the difficulty lies.

    1. MoyestWithExcitement

      The difference here is the decision on a persons ability to work being given to a private company. A private company makes decisions for profit, not the benefit of society. That opens the door to corruption. It is about making money off the labour of disabled people. It is absolutely shameful and borderline treasonous.

      1. Owen C

        No, he’s against it on a basic theoretical perspective as well…

        “The Fit for Work programme is couched in the same fluffy language as JobBridge – it will provide ‘supports’ for people who wish to return to work providing bridges and pathways.

        However, like JobBridge and other activation measures this is really about removing people’s access to benefits and providing cheap labour to business

        The clue is in the name – it intends to declare people who are currently assessed as ill or disabled as being ‘fit for work’ to remove entitlements.”

        1. Anne

          If a doctor declares a person unfit for work, how can they be declared fit for work by someone less qualified than a doctor?

          We wouldn’t put workers were weren’t car mechanics in NCT centres to fail or pass a car for road worthiness, why should people be any different?

  7. Lorcan Conroy

    Whether or not Jobridge was of benefit or no benefit to anyone unemployed is irrelevant. It was merely a handout of free labour to employers who could either help or abuse the participants. Unfortunately most of it fell on the side of exploitation and abuse. It should go. A fit to work scheme here won’t take long to bring down this joke of a FF / FG coalition.

    1. Joe Small

      “Whether or not Jobridge was of benefit or no benefit to anyone unemployed is irrelevant”

      I think its incredibly relevant.

      “Unfortunately most of it fell on the side of exploitation and abuse.”

      How do you know this? Do you work in the Department of Social Protection?

    2. Nigel

      Just once it would be nice to see a cool-eyed assessment of what works and what didn’t works and we enhance one and excise the other. In anything. Anything at all.

  8. Rob_G

    While I am sure it is not pleasant for people who are genuinely unable to work to have to be subjected to these types of trials, the number of people claiming disability increased by 37.7% between 2006 and 2013, so there is clearly some fiddling of the system going on, and the govt are right to take steps to address it.

    1. DubLoony

      Highly probable that stress induced illness as a result of the recession – effects of job loss, relationship breakdown & mental health issues – also played a part.

      1. Rob_G

        I am sure that factors like this were at play, but leading to a 36% increase? Not plausible, in my opinion.

          1. Rob_G

            Just too high; I know that mental health issues are more talked about in the media these days, and this has probably led to more people going to see there doctor and having these illnesses diagnosed, but an almost 40% increase over the space of 6 years is implausible, even when factoring in population growth, etc.

            ‘Between 2002 and 2006, the same figure only increased by 1pc which is less than 2,000 people.’

            http://www.davidmcwilliams.ie/2013/04/04/the-mystery-of-disability

          2. MoyestWithExcitement

            Or 89k then. 89k in a new era of openness about mental health in the worst recession in the history of the state in a country of 5 million. Implausible? Really?

          3. MoyestWithExcitement

            OK so. All we’re talking about here is your personal feelings then. That’s fine but if our government make decisions based on that kind of process, it’s a significant problem.

        1. Dόn 'The Unstoppable Force' Pídgéόní

          Similar increases have been seen in the UK Rob. Research from IFS suggested this was down to increased recognition of mental health problems and people being put on the right benefits target than an increase in diagnosis.

        2. DubLoony

          Rob, not sure if you realise just how horrendous the past 7 years have been for people. constant struggle eventually takes its toll on people.

          1. Rob_G

            To all of the people responding above – please see Fact Checker’s very succinct summation below.

          2. MoyestWithExcitement

            Hrs just done the same thing as you. Quoted a number and said it doesn’t *feel* right *to him*.

          3. MoyestWithExcitement

            If someone in a decision making position has a thought process along the lines of ‘Hmmm. Those numbers don’t *feel* right. It *must* be fraud’ and makes a decision based on that process, then that is a serious problem.

          4. Rob_G

            How else does one at arrive at hypothesis? What is the problem with drawing a tentative conclusion based on one’s analysis of data?

          5. Fact Checker

            All I am pointing to is an unexplained puzzle.

            I am open to your ideas as to what explains it.

            I am also curious as to the doubling of the recipients of carer’s allowance over the same period. Has demand doubled?

          6. MoyestWithExcitement

            “How else does one at arrive at hypothesis?”

            With evidence. ‘That doesn’t feel right to me, personally’ is not evidence.

            “What is the problem with drawing a tentative conclusion based on one’s analysis of data?”

            With evidence, nothing. Your personal instinct which is coloured by your personal, often subconscious bias is not evidence as I said above.

          7. MoyestWithExcitement

            “I am open to your ideas as to what explains it.”

            A society more accepting of mental illness coupled with more understanding of what it entails. There are people who go through life with problems like depression and autism but never realise they have depression and autism. How many? I don’t know but the point here is neither do you. Thats fine on an Internet message board. That is a serious problem if you are in a position to deny someone social welfare. Your natural disposition, evidently, is to be suspicious of people. Government policy cannot be decided upon base instinct.

      1. Rob_G

        I don’t think that there has been any new illnesses, or an improvement in diagnoses that could account for it.

        1. Nigel

          Can’t think of any condition that stress, loss of work, financial insecurity and sense of personal failure might contribute towards when it happened to a lot of people at around the same time?

        2. ethereal

          can you think of a change of criteria on forms allowing for an increase in the figure and thus moving people off the unemployment register and becoming invisible?

  9. Jake38

    “2,380 people who were declared fit for work in Britain were dead within six weeks, that’s 90 a month, after having their payments stopped.”

    Can a mathematician explain this one to me? 90 a month in my mind comes to 135 in 6 weeks. Or am I missing some parallel Trotskyite mathematical universe?

    1. ForFecksSake

      They were dead within 6 weeks of being declared ready for work. The entire period covered is about 2 years I believe.

    2. Michael

      There is cause fr concern based on UK experience, bu those figures are mangled. The key point about what happened in UK is that the assessments were outsourced at first to ATOS who abandoned their contract and then to Maximus. It has been a disaster for many people.
      Bow on the figures, from Guardian report
      “The figures revealed that between December 2011 and February 2014, 50,580 recipients of ESA had died. Of this number, 2,380 – or 4.7% – had received a decision that they were fit for work. Many of these would have appealed the decision, a process that can take many months. Another 7,200 claimants had died after being awarded ESA and being placed in the separate work-related activity group – a category which identifies claimants who are unfit to work but may be able to return to work in the future.

      There was widespread acceptance among campaigners that the data presented should be treated with caution. Tom Pollard, policy and campaigns manager at mental health charity Mind, said it was hard to comment on the statistics as they only revealed the number of people who have died while on ESA, not the circumstances or details of the deaths. ”
      http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/aug/27/thousands-died-after-fit-for-work-assessment-dwp-figures

  10. Father Filth

    What’s the alternative, a layabout’s paradise and everyone pooing in the woods?

  11. Tony

    I think its obvious from this thread that more people are interested in some class of Social Justice ranting rather than getting people to work. I have used Jobridge 5 times. 3 of them have stayed and we found the other two more suitable jobs elsewhere. One of those we found has become a Director of the company in less than 3 years. We broke the rules by topping up their allowance but so what. It was like most things, you got out of it what you put into it. If you went in foolish, theres always someone to exploit you. But if you went in smart, there are hundreds of stories of success.

    1. Nigel

      If there’s one thing we’ve learned as a country is that when you turn a blind eye to abuses and mismanagement and systemic failures, everything works out fine.

        1. Nigel

          Because there ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone. But she’ll be back in an hour.

    2. Junkface

      Yes but most people are foolish, and easily exploited and find it hard to stand up for themselves. The highly motivated, focused, and sharp people are in a minority.

      And thats why there’s exploitation going on.

      1. Tony

        You mean the dumb are exploiting the smart by scrounging off them? Or what? Most people need to sharpen up then by your reasoning. From my experience, people are not as dumb as you think.

    3. Clampers Outside!

      The problem isn’t just in the schemes mechanics like ‘9 months to learn how to pack shelves in a supermarket’, it’s in the abuses of it…. such a kwikfit letting go all their staff and then rehiring through jobbridge… remember that one….

      There are ZERO controls, and complaints are ignored. And the system is barn door wide open to abuse, like the excessively long internships for menial jobs.

      Fair play to you and your company. My boss hired two in a highly skilled online environment. He had the decency to keep internships to 3 months maximum, and jobs were offered at the end. No one has said, ‘no’ some small good has come from the scheme at all. But focusing on that ‘small’ good ignores the widespread abuse, such as the examples given.

      1. Tony

        But the abuse of anything- power, alcohol, sex, drugs, food and every other thing is bad. but it will always happen and all the “shoulds” in the world can’t change that. Always better to focus on the positive and watch it grow rather than wallow in the negative and blame game. thats my view anyway.

  12. Kieran NYC

    Broadsheet has now gone full demagogue I guess.

    Probably better to get it direct from the source than risk it being slightly watered down by Mercielle or Rory.

  13. Fact Checker

    Disability allowance has increased from 58k recipients in 2001 to 112k in 2014.

    This is an increase of 93%. Curiously enough the bulk of the increase occured BEFORE the labour market tanked in 2008.

    Of course the working age population has got larger and somewhat older, which explains some of it.

    But the scale of the increase does remain a puzzle to me.

    1. jack johnson

      From 5th Jan 2009 Illness Benefit was reduced from a continuous duration – where a claimant had 260 contributions or more – to a limited duration of 624 days. A lot would have then transferred to Disability Allowance – that probably accounts for the bulk of the increase.

  14. 15 cents

    constantly borrowing ideas/policies from other parties abroad. not a lick of imagination or even just some hard work and figuring out policies that suit our country.

  15. Harry Molloy

    I’d to know how my neighbour Paul can live where we do whilst only drawing 1800 of a salary? I really would.

  16. bobsyerauntie

    what the hell does Varadker know about social welfare? He is a smug, snobby, right winger who has zero empathy towards those less fortunate. He has no idea what life is like on social welfare, he knows nothing about the social implications of poverty, or generational poverty etc. This appointment is a joke.
    And Coveney now presiding over housing/homelessness issues – that’s another sick joke.
    Coveney comes from Cork Royalty, his family have huge wealth funds, he owns property, and has shares in retail property. His father was a FG minister, he’s friends with Peter Sutherland (Goldman Sachs) his family are all loaded, his brother is a multi- multi-millionaire. He has no idea about homelessness, the issues around it, rent allowance etc etc.
    These spoiled Fine Gaelers are not fit for these ministerial positions….

  17. bobsyerauntie

    ooops….

    Typo… I meant Varadkar!…
    not Varadker

    (just in case the trolls descend)

Comments are closed.