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Blitz on benefits

Reporter: Robbie Gill
Date online: 10 December 2013

OLDHAM and Saddleworth MP Debbie Abrahams has attacked Iain Duncan-Smith over claims Jobcentre Plus staff are being pressurised to stop the benefits of claimants.

A anonymous former Jobcentre Plus employee told Mrs Abrahams staff have quotas to “sanction” benefit claimants and are actively encouraged to do so.

Mrs Abrahams raised the issue to the Work and Pensions Secretary at a select committee meeting last night.

The employee - who has over 18 years’ experience in Manchester jobcentres - said: “I tried to raise this but my concerns were ignored. Claimants are being set up to fail to meet benefits criteria — without regard for justice or welfare.

“Staff are asked to behave in a manner that is against the department’s values of integrity and honesty.

“An environment is being created where the safety of staff is at risk. There’s a culture of no accountability which is encouraged by senior managers if targets are hit.

“Managers are applying performance management rules to force staff into achieving monthly quotas in stopping benefits.”

The former employee said the process was widespread: “Staff are challenged to identify the customer as a barrier to performance and the emphasis is on stopping benefits. This leads to a drop in professionalism and values. After over 18 years I was not viewed as someone with experience but as an irritant.”

Mr Duncan Smith told the Select Commiittee he was unaware of the claims: I would like to see the evidence for it,” he said. “He’s making allegations about people who work very hard.”

“I’d be prepared to meet him to discuss it but there is someone in charge of this they should meet first. If he’s got an issue to raise, I would want to know.”


Well I think many people wondered how the Tories would look to falsify the unemployment figures, and how on earth the numbers of unemployed in Oldham could possibly be falling.
Here's the answer.
No one would condone JSA being given to people not actually looking for work, but in the last 9 months around a quarter of claimants have had their benefits stopped - for a minimum of 3 months, often for trivial reasons, and then not being counted in the figures.

There is no way IDS doesn't know hundreds of thousands of claimants are having their benefits stopped, and there's no way a new development on this scale is not being driven by government ministers.
I remember a few naïve Tories commenting over the nasty way the party dealt with the disabled, perhaps they would like to come to the defence of the indefensible on this?

Mrs Abrahams, take care, this an EX employee and may have an axe to grind.

Mr. Duncan Smith obviously hasn't understood the position. The former employee did raise the issue and was regarded as an irritant. Does he seriously think that a discussion with him would change the situation? Government policy is to reduce the amount paid out in benefits and they are applying rough and indiscriminate ways of doing so.

We'll done that person for speaking up!

Yes, this person may well be a whistleblower, but they are a whistleblower who is doing it for the right reasons. The sooner that this issue is raised and dealt with, then the better for all concerned.

Ian Duncan Smith is a complete and utter clown - he wants people to survive on nothing, whilst he'll have a £39 breakfast on expenses, and the tax payer foots the bill!

Just don't fall into the trap of thinking that under a Labour government, anything other than a few cosmetic changes will be made to the existing system.

my son was 5 minutes late for his appointment at the job center due to the traffic, he was told to go home and come back 3 hours later as it was policy now to turn away people who are late,on returning at the correct time he was told he could have his benefit stopped for 2 weeks due to his late arrival, i find this ridiculous, this policy of reducing payments now seems to be true.

In my nearly 40 years of working life, I have had the misfortune to have to spend about 12 weeks unemployed in total and, to be honest, the people working in the Jobcentre have been useless,geared towards a tick box culture.

Typical Tories!, they always have greased the palms of the rich at the expense of the poor, and here is the proof!, the rich tax cuts the poor hit again for the follies of the rich greedy bankers etc, and their many tax breaks. And no I do not support Labour or Democrates either.

Debbie Abrahams is correct in her thinking. Personal advisers with a Machiavellian manner, leaves myself and many others at the hands of a bully who thoroughly enjoys his power an abuses it to the very best of his ability. Men,women and children take there lives everyday at the hands of bullies. But yet the government employs these bullies. Yes, I can certainly see how lives are taken. That's the government looking after the welfare of its citizens. Poverty a weapon of mass destruction.

the government has an agenda to take people off benefits regardless of what happens to them.18th century extentialism. Thatcher invented it.

More bull. It's senior civil servant who decide how a policy is implemented politicians are kept in the dark it has been this way for over 60years many staff are paid just above the claim threshold to prevent them claiming, It was the same under Labour,conservative,labour started the cuts and will not change a thing if ever in power.

Wouldn't happen to be a member of Unite then !!!!

I bet Duncan-Smith will not be giving up his pay rise of 11% suggested by the parliamentary standards authority this week. don't forget we are all in this together unless your a MP!.....thieves!.

18 years experience? Why are they no longer in the job? Why remain anonymous? Abrahams using the anecdotal evidence of 1 person to platform? laughable.
How about standing for all those who hay to pay the benefits bill?
Let's hear how the benefits cap is working in Oldham & across the country.
Help those that NEED help. Those capable of providing for themselves should do so.
Expect much more of this bleeding heart stuff from Abrahams in the lead up to 2015

I have faith in our great country i believe one day mr Duncan Smith will one day have to answer to his crime, a bit like when Tony Blair was interrogated because of the Iraq war, this is worse mr Smith has declared war against his fellow countrymen.

I'm sorry Saddleworth's Finest but you are massively wrong!

Blair started 7 wars some of them illegal, and very many people died as a result. The inquiry into his crimes has been stymied by the Tories refusing to release the files to the investigation.
IDS whilst being morally bankrupt has not committed a crime.

You have to remember that the UK is not a democracy - politicians do not tell us what they are going to do prior to an election, and do as they please once they get there.


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