Showing posts with label unemployment. Show all posts
Showing posts with label unemployment. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Dole Changes People

New research suggests long stints of unemployment can have long-term effects on personality traits, changes that may become near-permanent.

It's accepted knowledge that unemployment can have negative psychological consequences. Not only is a person's job status is not only often tied inextricably to a person's self-worth, but it's the life jacket that keeps the rising tides of poverty at bay. But how does unemployment affect the psyche long-term?

researchers found that men who spent several years looking unsuccessfully for work tended to demonstrate higher levels of "agreeableness" during their first two years of unemployment. Agreeableness is one of the Big Five personality traits identified by psychology's five-factor model (FFM) -- along with openness, conscientiousness, extroversion and neuroticism. The testing showed after an uptick in agreeableness during the first two years, men's agreeableness levels began to quickly slump, with long-term agreeableness levels consistently lower for unemployed men than for those with jobs.

"In early unemployment stages, there may be incentives for individuals to behave agreeably in an effort to secure another job or placate those around them," the researchers wrote in the new study, published last week in the Journal of Applied Psychology. "But in later years when the situation becomes endemic, such incentives may weaken."

Men who spent longer amounts of time without a job also demonstrated ebbing levels of conscientiousness and openness.

"The results challenge the idea that our personalities are 'fixed' and show that the effects of external factors such as unemployment can have large impacts on our basic personality," Christopher J. Boyce, a psychologist at the University of Stirling, in Scotland, explained. "This indicates that unemployment has wider psychological implications than previously thought."



Thursday, November 21, 2013

Services Surplus to Requirement


In its normal state, capitalism has become an obsolete oppressive system that ought to be got rid off. But during periods of economic crisis as we all encounter “hard times", its ending becomes an imperative.

Basically there are two sorts of unemployment. The first is the unemployment of the idle leisure class, the parasites and leeches, who while unemployed spends millions in conspicuous consumption. The second is the enforced unemployment of the wage slave.

We are told that there exists free labour. The employer is free to offer us terms of any kind – we are free to starve unless we accept these terms. Workers create profits, such huge profits that even in their wildest extravagances. Such is the “normal” paradox of capitalism that idle factories and idle workers side by side with the hunger of people throughout the world.

Capitalism greedily demands more and more profits, and uses faster machines to  produce goods and profits at a faster and faster rate. Workers are thrown on the streets. During periods of higher unemployment, there is a corresponding  increase of prostitution, murders and suicides. The defenders of law and order  point at the mounting crime wave, but of course do not dare to examine the economic cause or the capitalist system. During periods of unemployment, disease and death rate increase. Among workers these are always high, but during hard times they rise to terrible levels. Fed on adulterated foods, poorly housed, the workers become more vulnerable than ever to disease. During periods of unemployment the wages of those at work are slashed by the boss and the reply to any protest is: “there are plenty who want your job if you don’t”

Every worker must ask: What is to blame?

The skilled worker thinks it is the introduction of  new technology; the older worker blames the younger and vice versa; men accuse  women; white workers point the finger at blacks: the native born say the cause in the immigrant ; the deluded Labour voter  says it’s the Tories; the Tory worker says its the Labour government.

The False Allure of Palliatives

Hungry workers fall easy prey to glib charlatans. Amid the chaos all sorts of plans and cure-alls  appear from all sides to save the day. The “best brains” in the country are hired by the rulers to patch up the shaky capitalist economy. There is an attempt to hide the class struggle with the propaganda that all classes must cooperate for the good of the nation, must subordinate all their own interests to this end. Economically, it means the saving of the capitalist system at the expense of greatly lowering the standard of living of the workers. Too often the economic snake-oil peddlers suggest all manner of bank and money reform. They see the trouble with capitalism  in its system of exchange. As a matter of fact the exchange or money system is but a reflection of the production system, and is so closely bound up with this that they can no more be separated than the arm from the body. To change from one money system to another (a return to the gold standard, for instance) would only add new confusion. Some government interventionists follow Keynes and advocate an inflationary policy but in the end those who sell also have to buy, so that what they gain in one way they lose in another. This situation applies to industrialists, producers, farmers and such, and to the State itself. The unemployed find that the government is cheating them through inflation. With one hand the government hands out “relief” with the other hand, it so raisies up the cost of living. As for those working in the industries, their wages never can rise as fast or as high as the cost of living in periods of inflation. They suffer a direct loss in real wages and thus are made to bear the full expenses of the crisis.
All the supposed  panaceas suffer from the following fundamental defects:
1. They assume that all that is necessary is for some smart think-tank or expert to think up a “plan”, something perfect, and that by a mere argument the whole world system of production and exchange will be changed so that all will have plenty.
2. They assume that they can keep capitalism and yet eliminate its anarchy, chaos and contradictions. They assume that they can stop the development of capitalism and stop its evils.
3. They believe that they can redistribute the wealth of the country without sharp class struggles leading to revolution.  Capitalists understand that the system of distribution goes hand in hand with the system of production. If workers are given more than enough barely to live, they would not return to work in the factories for some exploitative boss to make money out of their labour. Factories are run for profit and not for humanity; and any attempt to take away the private wealth and ownership from the capitalists and give the control over the means of production to the workers will be met by class war. The reformists always forget to state that the bosses control the government, that the state is a capitalist state.

The Right To Work

 It is a big mistake for the unemployed to demand  “We Want Work!”. All our lives we have worked and toiled for the  capitalists. Now we are out of work  the demand is—more work!  “We want work! We must have work! Without work we are lost!” What master can object when his slave devotedly exclaims: “All I want is to work for you, to slave for you even more than in the past. My whole life is at your service.” The capitalist likes to see the workers work. It means his wealth, capital will be increased and that he can try to beat his competitor down better. It means that his workers are still under his discipline. The employer knows that every bit of work that the workers do increases his power and stability. It is not work that the capitalists fear—it is the class struggle. The boss fears that the workers will demand that the stuff which they produce should be turned over to them as the direct producers, that the factories should be owned and controlled by the working-class and the capitalists eliminated. The slogan “We want work!” takes attention away from the main job, that of wiping out the capitalists and their entire work system. How can you attack the system which hires labor and exploits it, when you are clamoring for work under that system, demanding and beseeching it? And if work is such a fine cure for unemployment, then how does it come about that just before the crisis began everyone was busy, everyone was at work and wages were relatively high? Is it not true that just before every capitalist crisis we have a period of feverish activity where everyone is working full speed under capitalism? hese people who shout “We want work!” fail to realize that it was precisely because everyone was working that we did have such a terrible crisis. The workers were being exploited harder than ever, they were turning over vast amounts of stuff to the bosses who had to sell this stuff and could not. Not being able to sell their goods at a profit, the capitalists were forced to close down their plants and increase the unemployment lines because the workers had produced too much, because they had worked too hard. The slogan “We want work!” implies that what is wrong with the present system of society and what has caused the depression is not overwork but under-work. Or, on the other hand they imply that it is not the work system that is to blame but the “system of distribution.” In both cases they attack the bosses not because he is driving the workers too hard but because he did not give them enough work. It must be constantly kept in mind that the demand for work, is the demand to work under present social conditions, with capitalist control and direction. But what is this capitalist control? It is a control that destroys the crops, that lays waste the soil, that rots the products, that rusts the machinery, that devastates the land, that kills the humans—that is capitalist control. To demand work under capitalism means to demand work that increases the destructiveness, the waste, the misery of the world.

The natural demand ought to be “No more work until we get what we have produced. The stuff in the warehouses is ours”. It is clear that we must demand not work but raise the slogan: “No work until we get control over production” The demand “We want work!” is a demand that blinds the workers and prevents them from seeing that they do not have to work much to eat, that the workers have produced plenty which the boss has grabbed for himself. What the unemployed must fight for is to end the capitalist control over the factories and industries. Unemployment crises are as old as modern capitalism, and thus it is clear the causes and roots of unemployment lie in how capitalism works. To feed the hungry and unemployed, we do not have to create new “work schemes”. There are enough factories, there are enough goods for all to have plenty. Instead of demanding work, it is up to the working class of this country to demand to get what they have already produced and to demand control over the factories and other means of production which they themselves have produced.

When the unemployed raise the demand “We want work!”, this acts as a tool in the hands of every employer who now can blackmail his work-force: “You see, there are plenty after your job, they like your job and are trying to get it. If you don’t behave I shall fire you and put them in your place". In other words, this slogan “We want work” throws the whole army of unemployed against those at work and divides the working-class into two antagonistic sections. Each time the factory workers want to strike against wage cuts or for better conditions, they are reminded that there are millions of unemployed who are praying, yea, are demanding, work and will do anything to get it. Thus the slogan “We want work!” helps to throw labour into a panic and fasten the control of the bosses more strongly than ever. The demand “We want work” means that the workers declare they would be very glad to return to the old state of affairs that existed, the return of the fiction of the “good old days”.

Conclusion

This article  has tried to make it plain that unemployment will never end so long as there is capitalism, and that to fight unemployment means to fight to overthrow the capitalist system. Only by overthrowing the system of capitalism will unemployment be done away with. A socialist society alone can eliminate the terrors of unemployment. Capitalism can be replaced and a new system offer employment and plenty for all. Unemployment calls for a radical cure not a reformist salve to heal the ulcer and retain the body of capitalism. The only cure for unemployment is the overthrow of the capitalist system. There can be no solution to the unemployment problem under capitalism. The solution can be found only in the socialist revolution on a world scale. Tinkering is useless. The problem of abolishing unemployment by having a revolution is nowhere near as difficult as the impossible task of trying to abolish it without one! The capitalist system cannot give jobs and cannot “cure” unemployment, or make our lives more comfortable. Let the workers, employed and unemployed, unite their mighty strength together to get rid of the parasitic system that condemns them in the midst of plenty to hunger like beggars for a crust of bread. To eliminate unemployment means we must to proceed with abolishing the market economy. Socialists know there is no other remedy but the one we advocate



Thursday, September 05, 2013

Fact of the Day

Glasgow has the highest percentage of workless households of any area in the UK, new figures have shown. Information from the Office of National Statistics showed that 30.2% (almost one in three) of Glasgow households had no-one aged between 16 and 64 in employment during 2012.

National average figures showed Scotland with 20.6%

The statistics showed there were 3.5 million such households in the UK between April and June this year, about 17.1% of all households containing a working age adult. This was down from 3.7 million, or 17.9%, a year earlier.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Desperate to work

 Morrisons, the supermarket chain, advertised 250 vacancies at a new store in Kirkcaldy. Jobseekers were charged 21p a supermarket jobs hotline with more than 10,000 calls in an hour - an incredible rate of almost three calls every second. Jobseekers were charged 21p every time they left a message on the hotline. One applicant ended up with a £40 telephone bill.

The desperate job seeking has mirrored the opening of Asda in Glenrothes when nearly 7000 people were said to have expressed interest in positions and 400 people secured part and full-time jobs at the store.

Fife has the third-highest unemployment rate in Scotland, 7.8% of residents are unable to find work.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

The Invisible Unemployed

Unemployment may be falling in Scotland in recent months but there is an ongoing increase in the number of people in part-time work and in temporary jobs.

There were 652,000 part-time workers in Scotland in the year to March 2010, but this had risen by 36,000 by March this year. The number of temporary workers has jumped 10,000 since June last year and stood at 128,000 in the year to 20 March. That is near enough a third of all Scottish workers.

 Some workers will choose to work fewer hours, it is estimated that about a 250,000 Scottish workers are “underemployed”.

National figures show that 330,000 more people are underemployed in the UK than in 2010, including 200,000 with dependent children.

Keith Dryburgh, policy manager at Citizens Advice Scotland, warned “Citizens Advice bureaux are increasingly seeing people who want to work longer hours but cannot find them in a difficult economic climate. These are people who are struggling to make ends meet, and yet are often ‘invisible’ in the government’s statistics about employment.”

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Young and without a future

A report for the Scotland Institute – The Changing Face Of Youth Unemployment In Scotland 1992 To 2012 – found that over the past two decades, youth employment has gone from being characterised as consisting of stable, relatively well-paid work with career prospects to short-term, part-time, poorly paid work with limited long-term prospects.


Report author Dr Roger Cook, the research director at the institute, said: “Twenty years of sustained removal of employment protection and the casualisation of work has created a situation where young people are becoming trapped in low-paid work with limited longer-term opportunities... This is the conscious outcome of an approach to the labour market over 20 years that has stressed flexibility and ignored the impact of this on people’s working lives or standard of living. Those who are relatively well educated are finding jobs but those jobs are less likely to offer a career, progression, security or a decent wage than was the case even in the depths of recession under the 1992-1997 government. Stagnation of wages and loss of security has wider implications than just inflicting hardship on individuals.”

Monday, January 21, 2013

Deprived Scotland

A boy born in the most deprived 10 per cent of Scotland would have a life expectancy of just 68. That is eight years younger than the national average, and 14 years below boys born in the least deprived parts of the country.

 Rates of mortality for heart disease are twice as high in deprived areas, at 100 per 100,000 under-75s, compared with the national average. Cancer mortality rates are 50 per cent higher in poorer areas, at 200 per 100,000.

The number of Scots aged under 25 who are out of work has doubled to 90,000 since 2008, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation said.

The report also highlighted the rise in part-time employment, from 70,000 in 2008, when the economic crisis hit, to 120,000 now.

The Scottish Government insisted Westminster benefit cuts were the biggest threat when it came to poverty and inequality. Julia Unwin, chief executive of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, said: “The Scottish Government has powers to do a lot now. They don’t need to wait for constitutional change."

Sunday, January 13, 2013

End of a Dream

Workers living on state benefits are well aware, it is quite impossible to put a little by for a rainy day, for every day is forecast as a downpour, and trying to keep your head above water is a constant problem. And for those who are wholly dependent on benefits as their only source of income, their whole lifestyle is dictated by their resourcefulness in eking out their pittance from one day to the next. Yet the ConDem government is planning to make things worse.

Changes to a single universal benefit – bringing together income support, jobseeker’s allowance, employment support allowance, housing benefit, and child and working tax credits – follow the cuts in child benefit voted through at Westminster last week, aims at reducing the UK’s welfare benefits bill. The universal credit is an attempt to simplify the complex benefits system into one new single payment.

A report, by public policy expert Dr Jim McCormick, says the new universal credits system, to be introduced over the next two years, contains “serious design flaws” and will plunge far more Scots into poverty than expected. The Scottish Council of Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) warns one in four Scots will be living in poverty by the end of the decade if the coalition government forges ahead with “criminal welfare reforms”. SCVO chief executive Martin Sime said: “The UK government’s £2.5 billion cuts in benefits must be seen for what they are: an assault on families, communities and the economy of Scotland. These callous cuts masquerading as reform represent an active choice taken by the UK government, which is hurting the most disadvantaged people in Scotland.”
Universal credit is seen as an “all-or-nothing” reform, says McCormick, which means that getting payments wrong would leave people facing delays, errors or cuts to their only source of income. Women are at particular risk from the move to a single payment into households. John Dickie, head of Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland, said: “Time is running out for UK ministers to respond to the mounting evidence that any positive impact of the new universal credit is being fatally undermined by design flaws, underinvestment and a lack of advice and information support for the hundreds of thousands of families who will rely on the new ­benefit.”

A vision of a poverty-free capitalism was shared by many during the post-war years of steady economic growth. Some still cling to that forlorn hope. The need for an efficient system of ensuring that workers' very basic needs was one of the main motives behind the introduction of the welfare state. The return of world recessions has made the welfare state  more difficult to finance out of sustained economic growth at exactly the time the burdens of poverty and unemployment placed increasing demands on it. Demographic shifts (such as the rise in the elderly and single parents) also increased the welfare burden for governments. Hence recent years have seen cutbacks in welfare payments and services in most industrialised countries on a scale that would have been considered politically unacceptable by Tories much less Labour politicians years ago.

It is unlikely that welfare services can ever be restored to what they once were.  Capitalism runs on the profits made in the profit-seeking sector of the economy and most of the state’s income comes from these profits, either through taxation or through borrowing. The state is in this sense parasitic on the profit-seeking sector and which is presently in difficulty. The private sector's message to governments everywhere is that the proportion of national income commandeered by the state must be reduced if profits are to be restored to adequate levels. The hope of those on the Left to pay for expanding welfare services out of sustained economic growth is becoming increasingly remote. The welfare state of the future is likely to be only a shadow of what it once was.

It is another demonstration that the reforms promised by politicians in order to obtain votes, far from removing the problems that they claim to remedy, merely ameliorate them at best. The social problems that give rise to reforms—in welfare as in other spheres—are inherent to the capitalist system and can only be ended by ending capitalism. To fight the same old welfare reform battles over several decades is demoralising enough, but when previous reforms are put into reverse the case against the system is stronger than ever.

Monday, January 07, 2013

Working less - earning less

Professor David Bell, an economic expert, warned MSPs that soaring numbers of Scots have been forced into “under-employment”  and a seismic shift away from full-time to part-time work and the disappearance of overtime have created a culture in which Scots’ lack of work is forcing them to cut back on household spending. Prof Bell’s report to the economy committee revealed the extend of “disguised unemployment” and the new phenomenon of “in-work poverty”.

About half a million Scots are now feared to be either out of work or under-employed. The number of part-time workers, including those who are self-employed, has risen by 74,000 since 2008, alongside a dramatic fall in the hours worked by full-time staff. The under-employment rate stands at over 10 per cent among Scots, with the academic finding there is not enough demand for the labour they are willing to supply. “The ‘Great Recession’ has had an adverse impact on the Scottish labour market,” said the report.

The jobless rise has been less then expected, but there has been a sharp fall in the number of hours that Scots are now working overall. The report says: “Amongst the full-time employed, there has been a reduction in their number and in their average weekly hours, partly as a result of reduced overtime working. “In contrast, there has been an increase in part-time working, though little change in their average weekly hours. “There has also been a trend towards self-employment, particularly part-time self-employment, where weekly hours are extremely low.” Scots struggling in this situation will not show up in official unemployment statistics, because they remain in work.

Margaret Lynch, chief executive of Citizens Advice Scotland, said: “We know that thousands of Scots can’t get work at all, but far too many of those who are in work are struggling in low-paid, temporary and unsatisfying jobs which don’t meet either their aspirations or their bills." She added: “Many people who are under-employed have to top up their income by borrowing, and often turn to high-interest lenders like payday loans, which they can’t repay and which gets them into a spiral of crisis debt.”

Dr James McCormick, Scotland adviser to poverty charity the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, said “What we see now is a significant risk of what we would term ‘in-work poverty’. This is people who are working, they may be doing less then 20 hours a week, but even if they are on a decent hourly rate of pay, they may still find themselves below the poverty threshold, because they’re not working sufficient hours.” Low pay remains a “persistent problem”, Dr McCormick said, and the combination of factors leads to a situation of “disguised unemployment”.

Another report reveals that Scots workers spend £2,000 a year on job-related costs such as food, travel, childcare, equipment and clothes. The average British worker spends one pound from every eight of their disposable income on costs relating to their job.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Under-employment

According to the TUC, about 270,000, or more than one in 10, Scottish workers are underemployed. That represents a 39% jump in the underemployment level in four years.

One view is that half a job is better than none. It keeps down the unemployment figures as workers accept part-time contracts in preference to redundancy and the unemployed take part-time work because it is all that is on offer.

Since last April low-income households have only qualified for tax credits (which are worth up to £3870 a year), if they jointly work 24 hours a week, with one partner working at least 16. Before April one partner working 16 hours was enough to qualify. The households caught in this trap are desperate for more hours but, in a tight labour market, they have difficulty getting them.



Thursday, December 13, 2012

The outlook is bleak

Some 26 of 30 countries covered by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development have shown a falling labor share of national income since 1990. International Labor Organization (ILO) data show the gap between the top 10% of earners and bottom 10% increased in 23 of 31 nations since 1995. Between 1999 and 2011, average labor productivity in developed economies worldwide increased more than twice as much as average wages. Real average monthly wage growth worldwide, excluding China, fell to 0.2% last year from 2.3% in 2007. Unemployment might have been higher than it might had it not been for reduction in working hours, shorter working weeks, cuts in overtime and even job sharing in exchange for keeping jobs.

The United Nations bodY focuses on how the shrinking share of the pie going to workers was one cause behind the credit bubble. The falling share of national output going to workers in the decade before the crisis ended up boosting household debt as workers tried to maintain consumption via ever-easier credit. Had falling labor shares of the bottom 99% in the United States not been compensated for by debt-led consumption, it is likely that world economic growth would have slowed or halted much earlier," the report said. The same phenomenon was seen in Britain, Australia,Ireland, Greece, Portugal and Spain. The pressure to rebuild national balance sheets or sustain corporate [profit] margins with further pressure on wages is all too clear.

 Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire who owns the Las Vegas Sands Corporation. Adelson invested more than $100 million in the election, mostly on Republicans who lost -- including $20 million that went to Romney's super PAC "Restore Our Future," $15 million to another super PAC that almost single-handedly kept Newt Gingrich's Republican primary campaign going and about $50 million to nonprofit Republican fronts such as Karl Rove's Crossroads.
Adelson tells the Wall Street Journal he's ready to double his 2012 investment next time around. "I happen to be in a unique business where winning and losing is the basis of the entire business," he says, "so I don't cry when I lose. There's always a new hand coming up." He isn't looking back at his losses.
 Adelson says he has many friends in Washington, "but the reasons aren't my good looks and charm. It's my pocket personality," referring to his political investments. Adelson recently met with three Republican governors said to be eying the 2016 presidential race. This week he met separately with Republicans, House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Screwing the workers


Just four years after the worst shock to the economy since the Great Recession, U.S. corporate profits are stronger than ever. In the third quarter, corporate earnings were $1.75 trillion, up 18.6% from a year ago, according to last week'si gross domestic product report. That took after-tax profits to their greatest percentage of GDP in history.  How is that possible? It’s simple: profits have surged because wages and other labor benefits are down.

Today’s economy is a market. The 1% populariSe the view that today’s economy is a fair and argue, as Margaret Thatcher put it, There Is No Alternative (TINA). The market's real invisible hands are at work insider dealing and anti-union maneuvering plus outright looting and fraud. What they all seek is power is hire strike-breakers, lobby for special favors and backing politicians pledged to act on behalf of the 1%. Firms use political leverage to make sure that anti-labour laws determine employment and working conditions. Capital-intensive industries out-source low-skill jobs to small-scale providers using non-union labor and advocate privatising public utilities largely aimed at breaking trade union power. 

Why are capitalists uninterested in the jobs crisis? The indifference to the jobs crisis isn’t simply a matter of being out-of-touch. Businesses oppose employment creation policies in order to keep wages low, even though this may limit the market for their own output. After all, without a mass reserve army of labour to decrease the demand for labor and bully the workforce into a more pliant state of submission, profitability becomes imperiled by the threat of enhanced worker power and the ensuing demand for higher wages. This is a process one can clearly see in the wake of the present crisis. Rising financial profits have reduced workers' wages and squeezed profits across the rest of the economy, according to a new TUC report. Worker wages have fallen to historic lows. Such are the true splendors of the “market"

Of course, the role of mass unemployment in suppressing wages and ensuring continued profitability necessarily extends to the global capitalist system as a whole. In 2011 the global reserve army of labour stood at some 2.4 billion people, as opposed to the 1.4 billion found in the active labour market. That is, the global reserve army of labor stood 70 percent larger than the active world labour market. “The existence of an enormous global reserve army of labour forces income deflation on the world’s workers,” Foster and McChesney explained in their book The Endless Crisis. Where labour is on the defensive, capital is on the offensive. Hence, amid rising corporate profits we see a varied global attack on labour—stretching from Brooklyn to Broxburn to Bangladesh and beyond. The class struggle must be international. The international dimension of economic power is the IMF, the World Bank and the ECB through which the U.S. and E.U. imposes imposes austerity on Greece, Spain and the rest of the world, targeting families, the elderly, the sick and the poor, as governments slash benefits. People are being pushed into poverty and no longer can afford the basics such as food, heating and education. The "invisible hand" of the market is unable, or unwilling, to satisfy the needs of society.

 Some political activists call for mobilisation against the bankers and the billionaires but socialists say don’t hate the players, hate the game.

Based on this article

Sunday, December 09, 2012

A reality check

All working-age benefits, including tax credits and child benefit, will only go up by 1% a year – less than half the rate of inflation – for the next three years. A cut, in other words, that will be worth £3.75 billion a year to the Treasury, in addition to all the previously announced cuts and freezes. The poorest 30% will be made to bear most of Osborne's budget cuts in the age of austerity.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation explained that as things stand – which is to say, before the next round of cuts – out-of-work benefits cover 60% of the minimum income standard for couples with children, and 40% for single adults.  It is calculated simply by asking ordinary members of the public what they think is "an essential minimum standard of living".

28% of workers engaged in the Scottish private sector earn less than £7.20 an hour. 17% of Scots are stuck in relative poverty – defined as having a household income of less than 60% of median household income. 

Six out of 10 children in Scotland belong to families enduring the contradiction known as in-work poverty. 57% of children in poverty had at least one parent in work.

Oxfam claims, however, that four million of the 13.5 million poor in Britain are in work, of sorts. Meanwhile, the Child Poverty Action Group points out that a couple with two kids would need to find 58 hours of work a week on the minimum wage – if work could be had – simply to be out of poverty.

Zero-hours contracts are spreading. One million workers, by the latest estimate, are stuck in part-time jobs, hoping for more hours.

 In November 2011, the Trussell Trust established a food bank in the south-east of Glasgow. During the Christmas period last year, it helped 168 people, including 103 children. The Trust estimates that up to 60,000 Scots will need its help every year.

 To some, "recession" means a little more prudence when managing the monthly finances. But others, those who can least afford any further cuts in their household budgets will suffer long-term job losses and find it more difficult to feed and clothe their families. They will be much more susceptible to mental and physical ill health and another couple of years will be deducted from their life expectancy. Many will turn to alcoholism and drug misuse as a pitiful means to get to the end of the day in one piece. A particularly cold winter will carry off the vulnerable and elderly people.
The vast majority of those who rely on benefits and tax credits are either in work, have worked, or will be in work in the near future. Families are scraping by in low-paid work, or being bounced from insecure jobs to benefits and back again. The means testing is being de facto deployed by Atos, the inquisitors of the disabled with the presumption of benefit fraud before any claimant is given a single penny of welfare.

The richest 10% in Scotland have incomes equal to the earnings of the poorest 50%. The sheer greedy, corrupt and rapacious bankers and hedge fund managers who caused the recession tell us that they shouldn't be punished for their avarice because the country need their expertise too much but that we the victims should pay the price of their failures and to just knuckle under.

The poor are being blamed for being poor.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Bleak Times

One in ten working-age people in Scotland will be on the dole by the end of the year, according to a new report.

Professor Brian Ashcroft, the editor of the commentary, blames in part the UK government’s austerity measures for choking off growth, describing it as a “serious economic policy mistake” which will be remembered for “generations”.

The core problem, the commentary suggests, is that the supply of labour is rising too fast compared to the number of jobs on offer. This mis-match between people and available jobs is now “identical to the trough of the recession”.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Targetting the vulnerable

Sick and disabled Scots and their families will lose out under UK Government benefit reforms, according to new figures published by Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS).

CAS says 115,000 Scots will lose out on sickness benefits over the next three years. Of these, 36,000 will only be eligible for Jobseeker's Allowance. They will face a drop in income of at least £27 a week, and will have to seek work. Another 65,000 will drop out of the benefits system altogether – either because it is deemed a partner can support them, or because they have not paid sufficient contributions having been out of work for a lengthy period. This group faces a loss of at least £99 a week.

22,500 people in Glasgow will lose entitlement to a total of £73.7 million, with 19,600 told they are not eligible for Employment and Support Allowance. Meanwhile, in West Dunbartonshire, 2800 people will lose entitlement, saving the Government £9.1m, but will be plunged into an employment hunt in an area where there are 20.6 people looking for every post advertised through a Jobcentre.

CAS says the only way for people to replace the income they will lose under the scheme is to find a job, but Ms McPhee, CAS Head of Policy, said this was unrealistic. "With unemployment at a 16-year high, the economy struggling to grow, and former sickness benefit claimants facing discrimination from employers, many of these people will struggle to find a job."

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Black Triangle Badge

It was a badge used by the SS guards to mark prisoners as “workshy” in Nazi concentration camps. Now the “black triangle” symbol has been adopted by a group of campaigners fighting the so-called “fit-to-work” assessments implemented by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) in a bid to stamp out benefit fraud.

Set up Edinburgh campaigners 18 months ago, the Black Triangle Campaign was launched in memory of Edinburgh writer Paul Reekie, who took his own life – allegedly after having his benefits cut during a bout of serious depression. Reekie did not leave a suicide note, but he laid out two letters on his table, found after his death. One was notifying him that his housing benefit had been stopped. The other was informing him that his incapacity benefit had been stopped.

Leith GP Dr Stephen Carty stands up for his patients when he discovered many were being told they were fit for work after passing a number of tests that did not involve consulting medical experts.

“I have grave concerns about the harm that is being done to patients who are being put through this Work Capability Assessment processes” he says. “It is essentially a computer system used by Atos to assess patients. What is happening is that people are being seen by individuals with very little occupational health training – and they don’t request any meaningful information from a GP who has been treating the patient.”

Dr Carty’s list of people deemed fit to work, whom he insists are not capable of normal employment, is almost endless. Right he lists four case studies, including one man who had his benefits axed after being told he had to go out to work shortly after being sectioned in a mental hospital.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

The crack-down

Under the new rules, claimants face a tougher medical test, existing claimants are being re-tested, there are new requirements to engage in work-related activity, and the entitlement to non-means tested benefit is time-limited.

115,000 Scots will lose their incapacity benefit. 65,000 people in Scotland will be pushed out of the benefits system altogether, forcing a big increase in reliance on other family members and will add 35,000 to the number of those seeking Jobseeker’s Allowance.

Glasgow will be hit hardest. The report estimates that more than 22,000 people are likely to lose their incapacity benefits and more than 12,000 will be denied benefits entirely. Other hard-hit areas have been identified as Inverclyde, West Dunbartonshire and Clackmannanshire.

Professor Steve Fothergill, who co-wrote the report, said: the reduction in the numbers did not mean there is currently widespread fraud or that the health problems and disabilities were “anything less than real”.

http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/115-000-scots-will-lose-their-incapacity-benefit-1.1133639

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Under-employed

While Scotland’s official unemployment rate is 7.7%, combined with people seen as “economically inactive” and “underemployed”, then what it terms as the “full-time unemployment deficit” rises to 17.25% or 468,301 Scots the STUC has said.

Grahame Smith, STUC general secretary, said:
“There are simply far too many people in Scotland at this time unable to access the quality, full-time work opportunities necessary to provide for a decent standard of living for themselves and their families.” He added: “Of course, the UK Government is continuing down the road of austerity, cutting jobs when they are most needed. There is little sign of hope for the half-million people in Scotland who are unemployed, inactive or underemployed.”

Friday, September 02, 2011

poverty trap for kids

Poverty trap for children as fifth of Scottish families jobless. The number of under-16s living in households without adults in employment rose to 145,000 (15.8 per cent of under- 16s) this year from 141,000 (15.3 per cent) last year. In Scotland, there were 359,000 workless households in June.

Mr Peter Kelly, the director of the Glasgow-based Poverty Alliance, said that if people were going into part-time or low-paid work, their earnings would not be enough to make a huge difference to their lives. "Sometimes you have to question the extent to which giving someone a job can lift them out of the low-income bracket. We want to see people moving into jobs that lift them out of poverty."

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Women and children first

Women now make up almost one-third of Scotland’s unemployed. The number of females out of work north of the Border has soared 20% in the past 12 months. 47,000 women aged 16 and over in Scotland are now claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance out of a total claimant count of 146,900. The figure compares with 39,000 in July 2010.
Public sector cutbacks were blamed for the growing toll of female unemployment. The rate of female redundancies is also accelerating, according to separate figures for April to June this year which showed that women accounted for 45% of all those laid off

Youth unemployment north of the Border is racing ahead of the UK average, with the statistics revealing that Scots aged 18 to 24 accounted for more than 30% of Scotland’s JSA claimants, compared with a national average of 18.5%. There were 45,000 young Scots claiming JSA in July, a rise of more than 5000 on the previous month. Youth unemployment is up 10% on July 2010 and there has been a 40% rise in the number of 18 to 24-year-olds in Scotland who have been claiming JSA for between six months and a year.
http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/unemployment-among-women-soars-by-20-1.1118303

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