Today I had the joy of going to my local Jobcentre to sign on. I hate signing on. Although some of the people who work there are very friendly, the system they have to work within creates an atmosphere that says your nothing. Your a waster. You are untrustworthy. Its bad enough that you have to jump through so many hoops just to get your pittance of JSA from them each fortnight, but now our useless Government or someone high up in charge of benefits has come up with a new way of penalising unemployed people.
As of next week the way you record your fortnightly job search is going to come under scrutiny and if you don't use the approved wording they will sanction your benefit for not doing your jobsearch correctly! By this they mean stop giving you your benefit because you are apparently not complying with the rules!! The JSA agreement states that you must provide evidence of your jobsearch every time you sign on. Now under this new ruling they can stop your benefit for up to 156 weeks (3 years!) if you do not use the correct wording on your jobsearch form. This is absolutely ridiculous! Here is an example: You can no longer state that you have looked on the internet and found no vacancies. You now have to say "checked but no vacancies". WHAT!!! I am sorry but even someone with a basic grasp of the English language can see this means the same thing. Yet if you put no vacancies you get sanctioned. If you write checked but no vacancies your fine! This ludicrous new ruling is being rolled out across the country at Jobcentres, each person being given two double side sheets of writing explaining these new rules. What a useful way to spend time and money!
According to these explanations if you don't use the correct wording this means your not doing your jobsearch correctly. Interestingly the examples they give do not show a single entry where no vacancies were found. So what do you put under the "what I will do next" column if there are no vacancies? Apparently saying you will keep looking or look again next week is now unacceptable. Excuse me???? Which idiot came up with this new rule! The explanation also states "repeatedly checking websites/papers that do not have vacancies cannot count as sufficient evidence for looking for work". Huh? So if we check a website one week and there are no suitable vacancies we shouldn't then check it the following week or the week after encase new vacancies have come up?? There is a flipping recession on, so there can be many weeks without any suitable jobs and then all of a sudden one week there will be one. If your not suppose to keep checking you would miss this job opportunity! Surely that would be bad job search! To add insult to injury, one of the websites you have to check regularly is the jobcentres job site. Its a mandatory requirement. However in the last 18 months there has not been a single suitable job for me. Under this new rule I should therefore stop checking it, however if I don't check it I am not abiding by the JSA agreement and my benefit could be sanctioned!!!!! What a contradiction!! Clearly this new rule and the explanation was written by a total idiot who has no idea of the reality of being unemployed in 2012!
In addition if you are told about a vacancy by your advisor but choose not to apply for it, you will now get sanctioned. If you refuse to attend yet another money wasting, pointless back to work course you will be penalised. If you leave a job or get sacked you are now penalised. If you are offered a job but do not take it and the Jobcentre decide this was a sufficient job offer you will be sanctioned. So basically if you exercise any of your rights to choose where you work, how much you earn, which jobs you apply for and how you lead your life you will lose your benefits. This is disgusting. It places far too much power in the hands of the Jobcentre and could potential force innocent people out of benefits and deeper into debt and poverty. How is this not treating unemployed people with disrespect? How is this not penalising people for being unemployed? From the information I was given today it just looks like a convenient loop hole for our poor excuse of a Government to reduce the benefits bill or the unemployment statistics by refusing to pay out money to people because they have worded their jobsearch evidence differently or do not wish to work in a job that they can't do!
I appreciate the welfare bill has grown astronomically in the last few years. However what did the Government expect would happen when they caused thousands of people to lose their jobs and didn't have the common sense to realise they needed to provide alternative employment for these people! They lose their jobs, and cannot find a job to go to so therefore they sign on for benefits and therefore that goes up. Its simple logic! Now to start penalising people and cutting benefits is not the answer. Surely these morons can understand if you want to get people off benefits provide decent jobs for them to go into where they can have some self-respect and earn enough money to live in a nice house, in a nice area where they can go out after dark without fear of being mugged, stabbed, raped or all of the above! Give them a sense of pride. Pride in themselves, pride in their home, their car and their work. Let them earn money which they can then spend on their house, car, children, holidays, leisure activities. Then all those places they spend their money will earn money and can afford to take on more staff. Then those staff will go out and spend their earnings and everyone will benefit. Taking away or finding new ways to sanction benefits is only taking away more from people, who already have very little.
People asked if after the Olympics that atmosphere of patriotism and pride in being British would last. Of course it wouldn't. The Olympics were like a holiday romance. Wonderful, enjoyable and exhilarating. But then the whole country had to come home, back to reality. Then just like a holiday romance it came to an end and we all had to remember how bad things still are, and how useless the Government is. The only way we can get that patriotism back is if individuals are given their self respect back. If they are given the chance to take pride in their lives. If they see a country to be proud off, instead of a country so up to its neck in the proverbial that it is drowning with the useless Government shovelling more on top!
So from now on I have to list every single website I look at for jobsearch, list every job I have investigated, every action I do for jobsearch and ensure I word it correctly and avoid saying there are no vacancies and I will keep looking. So as long as I there are no vacancies I will be fine! Oh dear..................!