Thursday, 18 September 2014

Smoke and Mirrors

Unemployment is down again, so the government would like us to believe. Or at least the number claiming Job Seekers Allowance has fallen to its lowest level for several years.
    Sadly a fall in JSA claimants doesn't necessarily mean more people in work. It could just as well mean more people claiming other benefits or living in dire poverty, struggling to pay for food, rent, bedroom tax and fuel.
    A growing number of people are working for themselves. Good for them, less helpful for those who don't have the skills needed to work for themselves. And how will the HMRC keep track of all these people? Will they eventually lose out because the self-employed don't pay as much tax as those on PAYE. I'm not saying the self-employed will deliberately cheat the tax man but there are things they can claim for than if they are simply employed by someone else.
    The government boasts of training schemes for young unemployed but some of these make more money for the companies running the schemes than helping the young unemployed who quite simply don't want to work. I have heard of schemes that send youngsters to companies for training without any prior knowledge of what they need to do, ie lads sent to work as mechanics when they know nothing to start with and have no interest in being a mechanic. No doubt the majority youngsters do want to have a job and earn their own money, but for those forced to go on training schemes or lose benefit are not always pointed in the right direction but they magically disappear from unemployment statistics.
     Older people are safe, though aren't they?
     Don't be so sure. Older people are becoming a liability, they cost more to employ and know their rights! In some companies older people are being made compulsorily redundant and replaced with younger, cheaper, employees, often with no idea of what the job involves.
     How can this be when the retirement age is being raised? What is going to happen to these people in their fifties with no chance of finding a new job to take them to retirement?