Thursday, 14 June 2012

Headline: Job Centre Finds Job!

You will see from my last blog entry that I have had recent experience of unemployment. Nothing beats first-hand experience to learn how systems may improve. I used to run a wedding photography business and I received a deposit just after I was made redundant from my main employment. Now business accounts are fairly difficult to grasp and I do employ an accountant, but I knew that this deposit belonged to the following tax year. This was not the view of the Job Centre. They suspended the small amount of money that I was receiving. I don't mind being called a liar or even having a small amount of benefit suspended. My main concern which became an even bigger concern as my unemployment continued was how I could work to expand the business.

I asked how much I could receive before my benefit was suspended and the answer was £5. This answer was not clear to me. Could I earn £100 and I would lose £5 benefit? Could I earn £10 and I would lose 50%? The more detailed answer was that I could only keep £5 of whatever I earned. What type of incentive is this to leave the merry band of the unemployed? I closed my business (only keeping those who had already booked me).

I received a recent email asking how the Government could improve the economy. I replied that they could look at the £5 disregard which closed my business. The benefits system should encourage private enterprise. I am only able to write about this now that I have found work but for me this should be a priority change. There aren't many jobs "out there" so individuals should be encouraged to fiind their own work. What I found from the Job Centre was the opposite and at no time was I told about any vacancy by any member of staff. I saw no reason to actually turn up each fortnight but I suppose that at least it kept some people in work.

Change the World


  1. I'm glad you found work, sorry that you have had to shelve your photography business. The current government does not make it easy for people to get themselves back into work. I don't think they care so long as it isn't them out of a job. My wagehas been frozen for a third year running, but you never hear of the high paid having their wages frozen, or price freezes to help the lower paid.

  2. Thanks Sea. I don't think that things were greatly different with the previous government but I do remember being helped in 1979 when I was out of work for around six weeks. This time there were lots of posters in the Job Centre asking for respect to be shown to the staff and at the same time I was being called a liar. I also had my benefit suspended for working in a school because they had to investigate whether I was receiving any income for working as a volunteer.

    The staff are only doing their job investigating claims, and they are only doing their job when their actions closed my business. I felt that they knew the policy was wrong but they couldn't do anything about it. Maybe I can do something about it by writing to MPs and writing a blog.

    You do read some stories (one this week) about shareholders restricting bonuses so we can feel sorry for top executives who are denied their millions.

    1. I contacted our MP who never even had the good grace to acknowledge that I has written to him, let alone answer me.

    2. That's the beauty of a blog You can now let the whole world know that you haven't got a reply. I hope it makes MPs work hard(er).