Jimmy Stirling’s DWP Diary: Scunnered

19/01/2016
CommonWeal

61-year-old Jimmy Stirling is feeling the January blues as the government prepares to change direction on the Community Work Programme

I AM Jimmy Stirling, a 61-year-old unemployed graphic designer, photographer and musician, single grandfather and social housing tenant living in Glasgow.

I receive Jobseeker’s Allowance of PS50 per week and have a very small pension payment of just under PS25 per week. I do voluntary work for my neighbouring community and look after one of my granddaughters for two days per week.

I was recently conscripted to take part in the UK Government’s Community Work Programme, where I would be forced to work for my Jobseeker’s Allowance, which I see as slave labour.

This not volunteering, this is not being paid a wage, this is conscription.

I am against this terrible programme and this is my experience in trying to avoid a six-month, 30-hours-per-week sentence just to juggle the government’s statistics to make them look good.

Below is my latest diary update. You can read the others here.

JimmyStirling

16 January 2016

A quiet week for me but with a touch of the old January blues. Never a favourite time of year for me. However, the coming of the snow brightened up the time for me, I was getting rather scunnered with the constant rain.

I would like to thank Baz Man for his comment on my last diary article. It got me Googling as I was unaware that the Community Work Programme was being shelved. In the government’s autumn statement, although somewhat hidden from the main view, was the news that the contracts for the Community Work Programme and Mandatory Work Activity would not be renewed.

“Total spending on employment will be reduced, including not renewing Mandatory Work Activity and Community Work Placements, but introducing a Work and Health Programme for the longer term unemployed and those with health conditions.”

However, referrals to the punitive six-month Community Work Programme are due to run until the end of March, so it is possible to be sent on the programme before the cut off date.

As Baz Man stated in his comment: “No doubt there will be something equally draconian to replace it, though.”

The Boycott Workfare website hints at the possible measures that could be taken. http://www.boycottworkfare.org/?p=4535 This is well worth a quick read.

Please let people know about this in any way you can, they need to be informed so that they are prepared for the next onslaught.

Hopefully, I won’t be pulled into the final quagmire at the end of the Community Work Programme but there may be more trouble ahead, not just for me but possibly for the disabled, too.

Whit a scunner!

Picture courtesy of Andrew_Writer