Eastleigh ‘loafers’ faced with workfare

Eastleigh’s long term unemployed could be forced to undertake menial work for £2.16 an hour under plans revealed by the government today.

Work and pensions secretary Ian Duncan Smith, Chris Huhne’s cabinet colleague, has warned long term dole claimants they could lose their £65 a week benefit for up 3 months if they refused to undertake ‘Community payback’ style work like sweeping leaves, or removing graffiti .

Since January 2009 the number of long term unemployed dole claimants (12 months or more) in Eastleigh has more than doubled and now stands at 195. In the UK there is estimated to be 787,000 people in this situation.

Government ministers have branded the long term unemployed as people who have opted to live on benefits as a ‘lifestyle choice’.

Earlier this week I spoke to ‘Geoff’ 51, (not his real name) who I met at Eastleigh Job Centre, was made redundant from his job on Barton Park Industrial Estate 18 months ago and is stil signing on. He told me why it was difficult for him to find work:

“It’s my age. If you are in your fifties they don’t want to know you. The last job I went for I was the oldest person there – they said we’ll let you know ‘but I know I won’t hear from them. If you look at who is working in the shops in Eastleigh the majority are under 30. If you tell the Jobcentre you are being discriminated against because of your age they just shrug their shoulders. There are laws against it but they don’t want to do anything about it”

Is it a good lifestyle choice I wondered?

“I feel depressed most of the time. I used to enjoy my fags and a pint – I can’t do that now on £64 week dole money. All my savings have gone. Rent on my flat is paid for by Housing Benefit. If they cap that I could lose my flat and I might have to find a bed sit – if they’ll take me. I’m worried I could become homeless. I will never find a job then. Why can’t they cap rents instead of benefits?”

Photo: ©S.Slominski

  1 comment for “Eastleigh ‘loafers’ faced with workfare

  1. peter stewart
    November 8, 2010 at 8:17 pm

    I feel sorry for “Jeff”. He embodies a whole section of fine British workers who have been thrown on the scrap heap by our pro-EU policians. Thanks to their treason, Britains economic and political borders are now wide open under EU law. This means for the last 37 years since we “joined” the EU in 1973, we have been increasingly the victim of cheap labour. At first this was in the form of cheap European goods. This destroyed British jobs, especially in manufacturing, but also in fishing and farming. Then it spread to cheap foreign goods from all over the world. As the years went on, more and more British manufacturing and hi-tech jobs like i.t. began to disappear due to unfair competition from cheap foreign labour. Then in 2004 our borders were opened and we experienced a massive (and ACCELERATING) influx of cheap EU labour. There is not a job in this country which is safe from destruction. Market forces dictate that labour will flow from an area of relative low cost to one of high cost. As more and more British jobs are destroyed by cheap EU and other foreign labour, so the spending power of Joe Public will fall and the demand for cheap labour will INCREASE. This will continue here until finally life is so intolerable that violent revolt is the only way to reverse matters. Must we wait till then? Already the EU has signed trade deals with Turkey, India and China. This will mean massive tariff free imports. Have we become so greedy as a society that we cannot even care about the destruction of our own childrens’ jobs? I am disgusted by those who turn a blind eye to this. Only down the road, one of our finest factories (in Britain) is facing the axe due to cheap Turkish labour. And do you know what? You don’t give a damn…do you!

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