Unemployment Claimants Fall after Brexit

It was the vote that rocked the nation, but as the majority of Britain decided their country would be better off leaving the EU, fears and rumours surrounded the country about just what would happen once we severed our ties with the rest of Europe. One of the main issues up for debate was of course unemployment, an issue that has plagued Britain for decades , with many feeling that a Brexit would worsen the rate of employment, with experts predicting that employment would fall by about 9,500 after the results were announced. It seems that in true British fashion, its people have done their best to prove the predictors of their fate as wrong, and employment levels have in fact risen in the past few months. The results have been determined by the drop in claimants for the unemployment benefit Jobseeker’s Allowance with the claimant count falling to 763, 600, which is a huge 8, 600 in July and is the first monthly drop since February 2016. People at a new job after Brexit

It seems that UK unemployment has never been higher as for the past three months the average employment rate has stayed steady at 4.9% with the average weekly earnings rising by 2.3%, and imporvement on the previous 2.2%. The number of people not in work but actively seeking employment has emerged as 1.64 million which is the lowest it has been since March – May 2008, maybe Brexit wasn’t such a bad idea after all. Could it be argued that the fear for our economy after Britain left the EU has scared people into seeking employment? The huge rise in employment rate for 16-64 year olds is explained by the fact Britain has now left the EU, with the 74.5% employment rating being the highest it has been since 1971. It seems that speculation of a failing economy and a jobless Britain was nothing but that, speculation, as Britain thrives in its new (and improved?) environment. With two unfavourable factors that were predicted top come with a Brexit, proved wrong, could this mean that Britain isn’t in for as rough a ride as people first thought?!

Not over yet

Maybe not. UK economists are warning that we are not out of hot water just yet. The risk that Brexit poses to the economy, and the chances that investments will freeze means that employers are putting hiring on the back burner, meaning there are in fact going to be less jobs available in the upcoming quarter. Whilst some might opt to put a few hiring decisions on hold, some will completely stop headcount altogether. If there are no businesses to hire employees, then there are fears that this great rise in employment will soon come crashing back down. As much as it is important for workers to keep and find jobs, it is also understandably important that business owners take everything into consideration, including the rising annual wage prices which could have a huge effect if the post-Brexit economy is damaged yet businesses still decide to take on more employees.

Conclusively, as time goes on, it is becoming apparent that the bomb that David Cameron had warned was under the economy hasn’t exploded as expected as Britain are seeing little if any effects of a failing economy as of yet. Now we wait to see if it will appear.

Cutting Welfare will not Help Employment, According to Reports

A somewhat ironic report has been released that suggests cutting welfare such as housing benefit for unemployed people, will not result in higher employment, and in fact cuts to benefit entitlement make it less likely that people will find work. The report makes the allegations despite the Government’s claims that cutting benefit entitlement acts as an incentive for people to find work. Interestingly, the opposite is happening to what was predicted, and a report by Oxford City Council and the DWP have said that the amount of claimants that have been unemployed for a long period of time, and then found work has reduced by 2% for every pound lost by cuts to housing benefit. It has become increasingly difficult for the unemployed living in Britain, with support from the state dwindling and cuts to things such as housing benefit, as well as the bedroom tax and local housing allowance restrictions.www.hmrctalk.co.uk

The findings of the report emerged after an EU funded scheme ran by Oxford City Council and the DWP which aims at helping those deal with benefit cuts was evaluated. Rather than encouraging claimants to find work to assist their financial situation, the cuts are just pushing unemployed people further into poverty, which adds major stresses onto their everyday lives, interfering with their focus to find a job. The Government’s harsh approach into helping claimants to find a job appears to have backfired. While cutting financial welfare may seem like the logical solution to encourage those that are not working, to find a job, there are many underlying factors to be considered, with the combination of childcare and debt acting as a significant barrier to work. People that have their benefits cut are likely to receive the effects of extreme stress and anxiety as they attempt to see their family survives on little to nothing. This is not a good sound and supportive basis in which someone can look for work, and rather than providing motivation will send some people into despair and worry. In the opinion of some, it is time that the Government realised that it is not cruel to be kind. The benefit cap has currently restricted benefit payments to £500 a week for working-age families but will be lowered to £385 later in the year, which sparks fears for a rise in not only general poverty,  but also housing evictions and homelessness, which is an even bigger worry for those with children.

Some reporters have called the plans the ‘biggest irony of all’ as all people claiming benefit are labelled under the term ‘skiver’ as they do not find work. Whilst this may be the case for some, it is certainly worth looking at the bigger picture. A recent study has revealed that more than a million families in Britain are living in destitution, struggling to afford to buy the essentials. Will cutting their benefits further be a proactive and productive decision as stressed, hungry and demoralised people attempt to desperately find work? When looking at it that way, the logic doesn’t seem so obvious.

 

Asylum Seeker Escapes Jail, Despite Benefit Fraud

The case of benefit fraudster Linda Okungbowa is a complicated one, but thankfully one with a happy ending. Lisa arrived in the UK in 2004 after she was brought over by traffickers, hoping to start work in the UK as a nurse. The traffickers demandedpayment for helping her begin a new life in the UK and so Lisa had no choice but to falsely claim benefits under a fake name to give them the money they demanded. Although jailed for 8 months in 2011 for claiming over £70, 000 worth of benefits illegally, whilst working under a fake name, Linda has been spared jail for a second time in an ‘amazing act of mercy.’ The 36-year-old mother of three came to Britain innocently thinking she would be given the opportunity to train as a doctor, with every intention of making an honest living. Instead, she became trapped in a cycle of debt that she owed to criminals, and turned to desperate measures for a way out. www.hmrctalk.co.uk

Sick criminals continued to increase the amount that Okungbowa owed to them for getting her over to the UK, and even began to threaten her family back in Nigeria, so benefit fraud seemed like her only option. The judge took this into consideration when deciding to waiver her prison sentence, and was also pleased to note that there was little chance of her falling back into further crime due to finding the support of Sheffield churchgoers. The Sheffield community have offered Linda the support she needs to get onto the straight and narrow and avoid the people that once took advantage of her position. Despite working many jobs to try and afford the ever increasing re-payments she owed, the family became more and more destitute, with her and her children having to walk the 12 mile trip to school due to not being able to afford bus fare. The normal prison sentence for such severe benefit fraud was suspended, as the judge heard of Linda’s circumstances. Amongst the benefits, Okungbowa had falsely claimed £26, 201. 56 in working and child tax credits to see her family through.

Linda knew that several jobs were her only way of paying what she owed, and worked in different care jobs. She took on the identity of a female friend in London and asked if the money could be paid into her bank account, who then transferred her wages to Linda, she told the company she could not provide her own bank details due to being in a significant amount of debt and she needed to survive on her wages. As a result the DWP were unaware of her employment. With the support from the local community, Linda Okungbowa now has the trust of the court that she is not going to re-offend and instead is going to turn her life around. She was influenced badly by people she came into contact with, but now she has the right kind of support to get on track. Linda’s sentence has been suspended and she will be tried again in court.

Following this Advice from DWP could Cost you Thousands

The Daily Jobseeker, you have have heard of it, you may have not, but it is a Tumblr blog offering friendly and (sometimes) useful advice from the DWP. If you want a hand with ensuring your CV is in order, or want to know what to wear to look your best for an interview, then you are visiting the right place. One submission, posted just last week is a blog post titled; ‘Travel for fun and for profit: how expanding your job search could lead to a pay rise.’ By ‘expanding your job search’ the blog suggests that you should look at applying for jobs that require you to travel further than 90 minutes to work, as you may find greater opportunities by travelling further afield, especially if you are struggling for employment in your area. Now this may seem all well and good, and probably true that the further you look the more jobs will be available to you, but this would amount to travelling for 3 hours a day. 3 hours. This amount of time is certainly unrealistic in everyday life, worsened by things such as childcare and other out of work commitments that would be near impossible after such a long commute. www.hmrctalk.co.uk

The DWP continue to list the perks of commuting for three hours a day as ‘reading’ and ‘playing candy crush’ with a picture of a woman relaxing happily on her journey (unrealistic to say the least) and with these topping the list, it seems they haven’t considered the cons, which, in our opinion, definitely outweigh the pros.

The Cost

Firstly, the cost of commuting for that amount of time, every working day, whether that be by car or public transport, is going to steep. A 90 minute train ride is a big price to pay, particularly if you are travelling at peak times, which you typically will be if you are coming to and from work. Unless your new job 90 minutes out of town pays a considerable amount more than anything you’d be earning closer to home, the costs will not be worth your time.

Your Sanity

Despite what the DWP may say, your daily commute is unlikely to be a stress free experience, sitting down playing Candy Crush or calmly reading a book is all well and good, that’s if you can get a seat, with most commuters standing for part or most of their journey. And what about your train is late or even cancelled? Which it will be. What could be a 3 hour journey can easily turn into a six when you are relying on public transport. We really don’t think you have thought this through DWP. 3 hours in a day may not seem like much, but when you are adding that three hours to an already 8 hour working day, where is the time to spend with your family? The time to relax at home? The time to fit in a healthy 7/8 hour sleep? Time to keep fit? The saying ‘not enough hours in the day’ comes to mind.

 

What Would a Brexit Mean for your Employment Rights?

With the referendum looming, there has been a lot of discussion over what would actually happen if we were to leave the EU and go our separate ways. A topic that many people understandably have concerns over is our employment rights. Will they still stand should a Brexit occur? Or will we be left in the lurch when it comes to our jobs? In the past, many basic rights that we perhaps take advantage of in the workplace, such as maternity leave, holiday pay and the right to work free from any discriminations have been neglected from debates. The debates tend to focus on migrant welfare and child benefits, so what will really happen to our rights in the workplace that supposedly exist because of our EU involvement, if we decide to go?

The laws within the work place such as maternity leave, were introduced to the UK in the form of directives from the EU, but then implemented with new laws in the UK, so if they were to be overturned, they couldn’t be without parliamentary permission. This basically means that our employment rights may not be in as much danger as some might think. In fact, our rights in the workplace often exceed what is the EU minimum, maternity leave for example being 52 weeks in the UK, a big difference to the minimum of 14 weeks that the EU requires, leaving it doubtful that much change would occur should we leave. The same goes for holidays, with UK exceeding what is required in the EU. www.hmrctalk.co.uk

Little to no change

Brexit know that any changes to these rights would be extremely unpopular with the British public and is not likely to swing voters, so they are keen to show how things will not change. We have strict discrimination laws within our workplaces and any changes to these would not be met with open arms. If things were to change, and Vote Leave won the vote, the withdrawal from the EU would be a lengthy process, and the status quo is not likely to change during this time. Although no-one knows what a Brexit would mean for the UK’s relationship with the EU until it happens, it is likely that the UK government will be required to stick to existing employment laws. Although sometimes forgotten/taken advantage of, a worker’s basic employment rights such as the right to breaks and paid holiday is important to them, and a government that dares mess around with something that is so ingrained into the way the UK works, would be an unpopular one – something of which they are extremely aware. Needless to say, if any unlikely change to rights did occur, aspects such as the minimum wage do not derive from our EU membership and so would not be affected.

Up for review

However, there are some rights that hang in the balance ahead of the big decision, such as  holiday entitlement to those that go off sick, workers may not have the right to carry their holiday entitlement to another year. Redundancies may also be affected, with a Brexit meaning workers may not have the right to be informed or consulted of redundancies before they occur. As it stands, compensation can be provided to anyone that successfully files a discrimination report, with no caps or restrictions, leaving the EU may restrict this. The treatment of agency workers at the moment, are expected to be the same as those in permanent employment, as well as requiring record keeping, that is a pet hate with employers. It is believed this right may suffer in the hands of a Brexit.

Life after the EU

Life after the EU, should Britain choose to leave, is pretty much unknown at the minute, but it is unlikely that a relationship built over 40 years, will completely breakdown. At a minimum, it is expected that some form of trade relationship will remain, and there would be a possibility of alternative set-ups such as a unique relationship between the EU and the UK. All of this being said, it seems that there should be little concern over what will happen to our employment rights should a Brexit occur, as things probably wont change much from what we already know.