Monday, 20 January 2014

Rachel Reeves Social Security Speech



So, after 3 months in the job, today, Rachel Reeves made her first major speech on our social security system. If you live your life with a long term illness or disability, living in terror at the coalition’s brutal changes to benefits and support, this is not the speech to find out how – or indeed if – that fear will continue under a Labour government.

There is no mention of illness or disability at all apart from this
“Now it’s important to say at the outset that there will always be people who cannot do paid work, because of illness or disability.

And it is part of our responsibility to them to make their rights a reality: rights to dignity and respect, to a decent standard of living, and to the resources and support that can empower them to contribute and participate equally and fully in society.”
Welcome words, hard won by campaigners before the reshuffle, but I imagine many will conclude that the time for reassuring words is fast running out. We need concrete alternatives to the chaos unfolding, chaos that affects every aspect of our lives at the moment.

Most of what we are told today has already been well trailed. It’s worth noting that those naughty little trouble makers at the Sun and the Telegraph were 100% wrong – as usual. There are no plans to remove benefits from the under 25s other than the compulsory work guarantee that promises at least 25 hours of work at the minimum wage after 2 years of unemployment (1 year for young people.) Whilst I imagine the debate will rage over sanctions, for me, a paid job is not workfare. Most people who find themselves out of work want a job more than anything else. If Labour can guarantee one, it seems reasonable to me that people should be expected to take it – within reason of course.

And it’s reason we all understandably question. Sanctions are currently used as cruel punishment, often unfathomable and unfair. At the moment, there is no reason at all in the system and few yet believe Labour will run our social security system with more sense and less judgement than the coalition.

Labour’s support for the Benefit cap and an overall cap on social security spending has already been out there for yonks. We might conclude they are unworkable policies based on ideology rather than need, but it seems they are here to stay.

The speech announces that jobseekers who don’t reach minimum standards in maths and English will be required to take training or lose benefits. So some more information on sanctions and the attitudes of a potential Labour government towards them.

“So today I am announcing another important plank of our plan to address this problem: a new requirement for jobseekers to take training if they do not meet basic standards of maths, English and IT - training they will be required to take up alongside their jobsearch, or lose their benefits”
But finally, and for me, most controversially, Reeves suggest that Labour will “reward work”
by ensuring that the contributions people make are properly recognised in the social security system.”
This is a thorny issue. There is certainly merit in looking to see whether those who lose their jobs might temporarily (Reeves mentions 6 weeks) receive a higher rate of benefit to cover that initial period of devastation. Most people do find new work quite quickly, yet are shocked when they learn just how little they get back for, often a lifetime of contributions.

So, for the easiest cases and those closest to a return to the job market, this policy has potential. But as campaigners have always argued, if this contributory reinforcement is made across our social security system, where does it leave those who can never work? Or parents who must take time out to raise children? Or Carers?

So whilst I tentatively welcome a short term boost to unemployment benefits, I hope Labour are looking very carefully at those unable to meet such a “responsibility”.

“The IPPR have today announced that they will be looking at options and costings for increasing the initial rate of Jobseeker's Allowance paid to those who have built up a sufficient record of contribution.

If this can be done in a cost neutral way by extending the period people need to be working and paying national insurance to qualify for contributory JSA it would be a very valuable step forward.

For example, a higher rate of Jobseeker's Allowance paid for the first six weeks of unemployment to those who have lost their jobs after perhaps four or five years in work could be a big help in cushioning the immediate financial impact of redundancy and give them a better chance of getting back into work and back on their feet sooner.

And it would be a powerful way of restoring that understanding of collective insurance against unemployment that was such an important impulse behind Beveridge’s original plan but which today has been all but lost from sight.”
There are undefined commitments to improve the Work Programme
“Under this government we’ve seen a billion pounds paid out to contractors on a scheme that has seen more people return to the Jobcentre than find a job. A Labour government will not be renewing those contracts in 2015-16.

In place of the top-down, bigger-is-better model imposed by this government, our replacement will be jointly commissioned by central and local government, so it can be better integrated with local economic strategies more closely connected to local businesses, and make better use of innovative charities and social enterprises.

You’ll be hearing more from me and the rest of Labour’s Work and Pensions team about this, and the better targeted support we need for key groups such as single parents and disabled people over the months to come."
Within the Spartacus network, we’ve recently completed a far reaching study into the Work Programme, ESA and the future of work for people which we'll be releasing soon. We too recommend that 
“As in so many areas, it is early, preventative intervention that is the best way of making savings over the long term.”
And few Labour supporters will be sorry to hear that
A Labour government will mean new rules to prevent the abuse of zero hours contracts, and the closure of legal loopholes that allow migrant workers to be exploited and used to undercut all workers’ wages and working conditions.

We are developing plans to improve the help that the system gives to older workers who lose their jobs.”
However, on the whole, this speech merely sets out a direction of travel. Perhaps as it took so long to decide what that direction would be, it’s understandable that today, we still see little detail. The speech seems to walk a strange tightrope between genuine solutions and Daily Mail sound-bites. Perhaps that was just the line the shadow work and pensions team hoped to tread.

We have 16 months left until a general election. I fear this speech will do little to reassure those who want to hear real details from Labour on social security and little to convince the general public that Labour will be “tough”. Trying to be all things to all people runs a real risk of ending up meaning nothing to no-one.

However, those with endless patience might decide to wait to hear more. How long they will wait is hard to tell.

You can read the full speech here : http://labourlist.org/2014/01/rachel-reeves-speech-a-one-nation-approach-to-social-security-taking-the-next-steps/

22 comments:

  1. If Reeves had discussed 'exceptions', as it were, today, the Tories and media would've jumped all over her, citing it as proof that they were encouraging the 'something for nothing culture'. Because Reeves hasn't been in the job long, it's difficult to gauge her views on these issues but she does come across as a very reasoned and intelligent woman in interviews (when she's not forced to repeat some of Ed's corny catchphrases).

    I think the problem with such a system as she outlines in her speech is precisely that it would require disabled people and carers etc to suffer OR it would create a level of bureaucracy which would be difficult to navigate. I think you're right in saying that she was treading a fine line between solutions and soundbites. Hopefully, when the policy team finally gets its act together, we'll hear more detail. Progressive policies, not punitive ones, are needed to combat the workfare disaster.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I always worry when other people think they know the strategy as to why a politician has not committed themselves to something. Its not a commitment until you say it is

      Delete
  2. As always an interesting and enlightening perspective.

    The short-term boost in contributory JSA strikes me as unnecessary and odd. When I was last made redundant almost exactly 3 years ago, the money from contributory JSA was negligible. Ironically I got made redundant 30 days too soon - I had unconsciously read the writing on the wall and taken out private unemployment insurance a month earlier but did not qualify for it because I got made redundant too soon! That would have paid out £2k a month for a year and the premiums were a fraction of my NI contributions. £70pw was irrelevant. Doubling that to £150pw for 6 weeks would have been barely less so. If what was on offer was to move to a Northern European model of unemployment insurance paying out 75%+ of previous salary for several months it would be something to look at (perhaps a tax break for private unemployment insurance). As it is, it is a strange distraction from focusing resources on those who have longer term needs and for whom a small increase in benefits would make a huge difference.

    ReplyDelete
  3. "Most people who find themselves out of work want a job more than anything else. If Labour can guarantee one, it seems reasonable to me that people should be expected to take it – within reason of course."

    Reason is the problem. We know just how reasonable the DWP can be about other people's reasons.

    If the scheme offers decent, useful opportunities then most people will jump at it without having to be compelled. If many people fail to jump at it then perhaps compulsion is being used to cover up a lousy scheme. If only a few people fail to jump at it then we need to understand their reasons, not beat them with a stick.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Here we go, the shiny parts of the policies are being polished and put in the spotlight ready for May 2015. These are the highlights we are hearing about, the bits that sit in the shadows, like an iceberg on the ocean are the bits that need to be stitched together properly, the bits that allow loopholes that people like us fall through.

    I am sorry that people cannot survive on £150 a week for a single person! Try doing a six weeks on nothing! Unemployment insurance is a good thing to pay for if you are working, you can never tell what may happen, but then, that's why we pay National Insurance. If you are getting £2K per month from the insurance company, why should you get JSA?

    Anyone that is receiving that level of insurance payout that claims JSA are acting fraudulently and should be hung to stop the stain on the rest of us!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Rachel Reeves Social Security Speech should have at the start made it quite clear that the long term sick and disabled will no longer be persecuted to their death by ANYONE

    She failed to do that so in reality the rest of what she says is meaningless as her role is to make sure that the lives of the sick and disabled are protected at all times and that they do not fall through the cracks in which lead to their death

    Having said that she would be better then IDS who has no compassion at all for the sick and disabled

    for Rachel Reeves to be taken seriously she will need to be seen to get stuck in on the deaths of the sick and disabled over the past few years and to give a warning out to the DWP staff that errors made which then go on to kill innocent sick and disabled people will be prosecuted in a court of law

    Now to me that sends out a clear signal to everyone in the country that I'm in charge and that is how things are going to be under a new government in 2015

    ReplyDelete
  6. *sigh* I'm sorry, but I want to bash my forehead against a desk reading this. We're still all about JOBS JOBS, SANCTIONS, JOBS! Training doesn't really work when, y'know, Nu-Labour closes schools for ASD children. There have been cuts to speech and language development, mental health, alternative therapies and research for illnesses. So on what planet does this "training OR sanctions" come from if there's school fees, no support for under 25s, reduced training and/or even a vague understanding of various special needs education across the board?

    And then of course there is the whole MORE JOBS issue: again, what we're failing to realise is we're becoming a more automated society, which means we need less people to actually do the work. Witness the Economist article and also the various Computer-World publications: machines are rapidly replacing people in work, especially in industries which were more traditionally held by the working class who certainly didn't have the training or the educational tools to just shift to a new career. Any political party can say "more jobs" because jobs is a buzzword - what really NEEDS to be said (and no political party has the guts) is our whole financial structure and economy needs to shift, and we need to find a new way entirely of doing things, rather than continuously just banging on the same drum with different mallets.

    I'm not seeing anything encouraging in this speech other than what appears to be just a bunch of the same phrases worded in a slightly different way. New boss...same as the old boss.

    Hey ho.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I agree with Oya's Daughter. This is a prescription for past problems, not present and future ones. Strike Reeves out as irrelevant and look elsewhere for genuine solutions. You don't want to get me started on Miliband's absurd 'root and branch' banking reforms either...

    ReplyDelete
  8. "a paid job is not workfare. Most people who find themselves out of work want a job more than anything else. If Labour can guarantee one, it seems reasonable to me that people should be expected to take it – within reason of course."

    It's 'reason' that's the problem - when have any of us experienced JCP/DWP being reasonable? I've claimed JSA as a disabled person, the DEA refused to deal with me after the first couple of weeks, everyone else tried to undermine what disability related provisions the DEA had agreed to (and they were a joke when compared to reality). That's not a system I can trust to be reasonable, and all of that happened under the last Labour government, not the Tories.

    This does raise a wider issue in that DWP have been indoctrinated that we're all skivers for years now, certainly since the election and to a marginally lesser degree since the poisonous Purnell/Aylward/UNUM agreement on using the Bio-Psycho-Social model of disability. No matter how much better the Labour system is (assuming it's better at all), we'll still have many JCP staff who are convinced all disabled people are scroungers. Labour benefits policy needs to include taking a broom to JCP itself, running every customer-facing staffer through proper disability awareness training, and weeding out those who refuse to revise their attitudes. They wouldn't keep on someone who made decisions about the legitimacy of claims based on race or religion, they shouldn't keep on anyone who does that based on disability.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I have a feeling (or a faint hope?) that Labour will gradually announce better policies the closer we get to the election. For obvious reasons they don't want to give the Lynton Crosby Tory Mob any targets to aim at. They have a long way to go, but direction of travel is also important.

    ReplyDelete
  10. How do they intend to fund the cost of the extra IT, Maths and especially English, particularly for speakers of other languages? Local authorities will be inundated for adult education courses which they will not have the resources, financial, staff and classrooms to fulfil

    ReplyDelete
  11. The Labour are appealing to the Right of centre Middle classes who pay lip service to equality and fairness but basically want business as usual. Greed is the root cause and it will destroy the fabric of the nation. If you tell people this, they won't listen... something bad always has to happen before people take note. And usually it has to happen to them personally. If we countenance injustice for one group of people don't complain when other people start getting victimised as well. This is the way these things always go.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Pretty remarkable post. I simply came across your blog and desired to say that I have really enjoyed searching your blog posts.
    HIPAA compliance

    ReplyDelete
  13. The social security debates have been controversial across the country. Others might not understand the importance of getting their insurance coverage until they experience a severe accident or disability. Though government sometimes have lapses when it comes to their rules, yet we should be aware of their efforts to effectively implement the SSDI. We should also consider private entities who offer these insurances for the sake of your future.

    Juliane Swoope @ PatturayConsulting

    ReplyDelete
  14. I'm just completely fed up with everything coming out of any politicians mouth! We know that all of them are going to promise us the earth for this year and half of next year - then when they get into power it all suddenly gets dropped. The disabled are discriminated against no matter who is in power - anyone vulnerable is put to one side and those who WORK will be looked after. They are all the same and I'm pished off with it all :(

    ReplyDelete
  15. Morpheus Security
    The wide range of Morpheus Security services offered by us includes guarding Morpheus Security Services in Delhi, Guard Services, Security Guards Company, Security Guard Services in India and Indian Security Guards.

    ReplyDelete
  16. i want to thank Dr ALuta for bringing back my ex husband, we broke up for more than 4 month and he told me that he never want to see me in his life again. i love him so much to the extend that i could not do any thing again, i was confused and depress due to the love i had for him.i did everything i could do to have him come back to me but all went in vain. so i decided to contact a spell caster, i did not believe in spell casting i just want to try it may be it would work out for me. i contacted dr Aluta for help, he told me that he have to cast a love spell on him, i told him to it. after 5 days my called me and started to apologize for leaving me and also he told me that he still love me. i was very happy and i thank dr aluta for helping get back my ex husband back to my hands. his spell is the the greatest all over the world, it was the love spell he cast on my ex that make him come back to me. all you ladies who want back the ex husband back i want you to contact Dr Aluta at the following email address and get all your problem solve..No problem is too big for him to solve..Contact him direct at traditionalspellhospital@gmail.com and get your problems solve

    ReplyDelete
  17. Welcome words, hard won by campaigners before the reshuffle, but I imagine many will conclude that the time for reassuring words is fast running out. We need concrete alternatives to the chaos unfolding, chaos that affects every aspect of our lives at the moment. security cameras

    ReplyDelete

  18. !!! How To Get Your husband Back & Avoid Divorce !!!


    Hello to every one out here,I am Latisha Allen,From Wisconsin, USA.I will start by saying to all that have experience heart break and also cant do with out there lover should please stop here and read up my story, So as you will know how to go solving or getting your ex back from this spell caster..AND AGAIN I WILL WANT TO ALSO TELL ALL THAT THIS SPELL CASTER I WILL WANT TO TELL THE WHOLE WORLD ABOUT IS HARMLESS AND DO NOT HAVE ANY SIDE EFFECT, BUT TO RESTORE AND GIVE YOU BACK WHAT YOU DESERVE, COS WHEN I MEET WITH THIS SPELL CASTER THAT WAS INTRODUCED TO ME BY THE WIFE OF MY BOSS IN MY WORKING PLACE, HE MADE IT CLEAR THAT HE CAN CAST SPELL ON SO MANY OTHER PROBLEMS EXCEPT IN GETTING YOUR EX OR MAKING YOUR LOVER TO LOVE YOU MORE THAT WILL SUITE YOU. Last year December, My lover was cheating on me and was not also give me the attention that a man should give to a woman,And really that was troubling my mind and tearing my heart apart to the extent that i was not concentrating in the office the way i use to before the break up by my lover.And before that incident,I always see how my boss use to love his wife so much. I was binging to think that i was not doing the right thing to him that will make him love me forever,So i really gathered my courage and went to my boss wife office to ask her the secret that made her husband love her so dearly,In the first place she refused in telling me,She asked me why i am asking her such a question,That if is it not normal for every man to love his wife.I told her the reason that made me ask her about this question,That my lover started cheating on me lately,When i knelt down before her for her to see my seriousness in this issue that i went to ask her,She opened up to me by telling me that i should not tell anybody about what she want to tell me,The wife to my boss started to say to me that she used a very powerful spell on his husband to love her,And the spell that she used is harmless, But the spell is just to make him love her and never to look for any other woman except her. I QUICKLY ASK HER HOW DID SHE GET TO KNOW THIS GREAT,POWER,DURABLE AND PERFECT WORK SPELL CASTER,she said that a friend of hers also introduce her to him. Then i also ask her how i can meet with this spell caster.SHE SAID EVERYTHING TO ME,THAT THE NAME OF THIS SPELL CASTER IS Dr BRAVE.My next question to her was how can i get this wonderful spell caster,She said she is going to give me the email of the spell caster for me to contact him for my problem,Really she gave to me this spell caster email and i contacted him and explained all to him,And after every thing that needed to be done by the spell caster, In the next two days, My lover that hated me so much came to house begging for forgiveness and i was so glad that i have finally gotten my heart desire..I was so grateful to this spell caster for what he has done for my life.. So i made a promise to him that i will always continue telling the world about his wonderful work towards me and also to other that came to you before and also the people that will also get to you from my story that i narrated online now..I will want to say to the entire world that you should not cry over noting again, That there is a great man that has been helping individuals to restore there Joy and smile in there faces !! The direct email to get this man is bravespellcaster@gmail.com CONTACT HIM NOW THE BETTER FOR YOU TO GET QUICK SOLUTION TO ALL YOUR PROBLEMS...

    ReplyDelete
  19. Good spell caster. Thank you Dr edaho you are the
    best spell caster that i have ever seen in my life,
    the spell you casted for me have work very
    perfectly, my ex boyfriend who live me for over
    3week now is back and apologizing for me to
    come back to him that he is very sorry for the
    pain he caused me and i am so
    happy Dr edaho your spell is nice and make me fill
    alive again i will keep sharing you good work all
    over the world about the good spell you cast for
    me to get Fred back and i will also give your
    email address to everybody who is in need of
    help like you told me that you can cast a spell to
    bring my ex back, Money spell, Protection spell,
    lotto spell, Good job spell and many other spell
    you told me you can cast for me if i need them i
    hope you will find a place to help other so they
    can give testimonies like me dr edaho please help
    others, many people have problem like mine but
    there is nobody like you to help them solve their
    problem like you do, if anyone need the help of
    this nice man contact him via this
    email edahospellcaster@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  20. Rule your work is very good that you are always well and helping the world

    ReplyDelete